Today’s ramen is a far cry from the packaged noodles of your college days. Plenty of top-notch restaurants have a line of people eagerly anticipating a slurp. Why not bypass the wait list and use Spice Islands® spices to create your own homemade version? Not only is it easy, but it can be catered to your tastes. Here’s all you need to know to pull off restaurant-worthy ramen.
At a Japanese restaurant, the broth has likely been made with pork bones simmering in water for at least 24 hours. That time frame just isn’t realistic for a busy family trying to get dinner on the table. Instead, opt for short cuts like boiling 8 cups of water and stirring in minced fresh ginger and 1 to 2 tablespoons of miso paste to taste. Another option is to use a combination of Spice Islands® Minced Garlic and Spice Islands® Chicken Stock Base, which will recreate the flavor of chicken bones boiled for hours on the stove top.
Basically, any Asian noodle will do in your quest for ramen magic. Choices include the buckwheat flour-based soba noodles; thicker udon noodles; thin fresh ramen noodles typically found in Asian markets; dried ramen noodles in convenient packages; or the ultra-thin cellophane noodles. Can’t find any Asian noodles? Substitute angel-hair pasta or thin spaghetti. As a general rule, use ½ pound of noodles for 4 servings.
Thin slices of Marinated Asian Flank Steak will boost any bowl of ramen. Since you’re using meat that has already been cooked, add to the broth right at the end, giving it just a minute or two to warm up. Other options include chopped meat from a rotisserie chicken or rounds of Sweet Smoked Pork Tenderloin.
Another plus in making ramen at home is that you can go wild with the vegetables, choosing from an array of possibilities: fresh or frozen spinach; frozen corn; canned baby corn; canned water chestnuts; canned sliced bamboo shoots; fresh mushrooms; chopped broccoli; shredded carrots; bean sprouts; and seaweed squares. Ramen is an excellent excuse to clean out whatever frozen vegetables are in the freezer (hello, long-lost frozen peas!) and utilize them.
Putting It All Together
In a heavy-duty pot, bring 8 cups of broth to a boil. Add any frozen vegetables first and let them boil for a couple minutes until thawed. The fresh vegetables are added next and need 1 to 2 minutes of boiling time depending on size (the smaller they are chopped, the better). Give it all a stir and add the sliced meat last. Cover with a lid and remove from the heat while the meat warms for 1 to 2 minutes. Ladle into 4 bowls and garnish with sesame seeds, a handful of cilantro leaves, or a shake of Spice Islands® Sriracha Spicy Seasoning.
Andrea Lynn is a recipe developer and cookbook author, most recently of the culinary guidebook/cookbook, Queens: A Culinary Passport.