August 17, 2010 8:13 AM   Subscribe

How do I make great ramen at home?

I am a ramen fiend.

I have tasted all sorts of ramen, but I keep coming back to what I made that drunken night in Chico, California.

Now I'm an adult. I don't do that anymore. I found a package of noodles that looks EXACTLY like ramen, and tastes exactly the same...except that its not fried and has half the calories.

What I am missing though, is the flavor. Since I am now buying the noodles without the packets of flavor, I have no flavoring. How can I create great ramen flavor without those damn packets of salt and hypertension? The simpler, the better.

I don't need recipes for ramen, or adding meats, dairy, veggies, eggs, etc...I just want the broth.

Can anyone with experience in this help?

1. Broth only
2. The simpler the better
3. Thanks again, metafilter.
posted by hal_c_on to Food & Drink (16 answers total) 34 users marked this as a favorite
-Get a piece of pork with lots of bone (or just bones with a little meat in them).
-Broil it in high temp with salt, black pepper and slices of ginger until it's dark (10-15 minutes).
-Now put that in a pot with cold water and a spoonful of white vinegar and boil for 1 1/2 hours (at this point you can add other seasoning if you want, like bay leaves, herbs, etc)
posted by TheGoodBlood at 8:20 AM on August 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

Here's a good tonkotsu recipe.
posted by subtle-t at 8:22 AM on August 17, 2010

You want a Japanese noodle soup base, like this. If you live near a Japanese market (I assume Auckland has more than a few of these?), there are a ton of brands and varieties.
posted by mkultra at 8:28 AM on August 17, 2010


That said, any powdered soup base is going to be fairly salty.
posted by wongcorgi at 8:31 AM on August 17, 2010

Also, dried shiitake mushrooms, kombu will help flavor your soup.
posted by wongcorgi at 8:33 AM on August 17, 2010

I haven't tried it yet but this tonkatsu ramen recipe looks really good. Alternatively, this miso ramen recipe also looks good.
posted by vilandra at 8:39 AM on August 17, 2010

Response by poster: I actually am in the midst of using the Japanese soup bases...the only ones I find easily are bonito-based (just like the ones recommended above)...or sharkfin (yikes).

So yeah, I'm between using bonito base...or something more complex like what subtle-t or thegoodblood recommended.

I really appreciate all your input, guys.
posted by hal_c_on at 8:42 AM on August 17, 2010

Response by poster: Damn it. What I had in my cupboard was this.
The first ingredient is "amino acid"...and I JUST realized that they were referring to MSG. damn it.
posted by hal_c_on at 8:50 AM on August 17, 2010

Not directly related, but you need to watch Tampopo. The cooking advice in it (don't let the broth boil, etc...) isn't half bad either.
posted by bonehead at 9:12 AM on August 17, 2010 [2 favorites]

I can't recommend David Chang's Momofuku cookbook enough. The broth recipe alone is enough to justify the cost of the book. He goes pretty in depth as to what makes fairly legit ramens. He also goes into sourcing hard to find items.

Also, his pork belly recipe is pretty amazing.
posted by furnace.heart at 9:33 AM on August 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

See if your local fishmonger will sell cheap/give away the heads and bones of various fish that people have had filleted. Cover them with water in a pot, add a punch of salt, and heat over a low flame for... a while. It won't be "accurate" as far as what makes a Japanese ramen broth, but it sure will be tasty. And, you can guarantee no MSG.

Alternately, you can boil up the bones of a picked-through roast chicken, or go the pork route as above. Even beef bones work, although I'm not sure whether beef is available cheaply in NZ.

Feel free to experiment with adding other flavors, vegetables, etc. But, as long as my noodles are salty and fish-flavored, I'm pretty happy.
posted by Citrus at 9:45 AM on August 17, 2010

MSG has been unfairly demonized. Unless you are allergic to it it's harmless.
posted by ErikaB at 10:03 AM on August 17, 2010 [2 favorites]

miso paste, naturally brewed soy sauce, sesame oil, green onions
posted by canoehead at 10:28 AM on August 17, 2010

I'm a big fan of shoyu ramen. There are a lot of recipes out there, but you can make a delicious version of it by just sauteeing ginger with garlic and green onions and then adding vegetable and chicken stock, sake, and soy sauce. You can do all that to taste, just be super careful with the ginger because a little goes a long way.

My other happiest experience with homemade ramen comes from making Alton Brown's Ramen Radiator, which I recommend to anyone who wants to make good ramen at home. It's fun to make and very delicious, even though the broth begins as simple vegetable stock.
posted by heatvision at 12:25 PM on August 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

Not directly related, but you need to watch Tampopo.

If Tampopo is not bulls-eye directly related to this question, I don't know what is!
posted by gum at 12:29 PM on August 17, 2010

Ramen is supposedly my I-can't-deal-with-cooking-but-need-sustenance food. The truth is that I pretend to be too tired for real cooking because I'm totally addicted to the sauce I make for ramen. I have a Pavlovian drooling response to the smell of ingredients. Both the boy and the roommate love it too.

The sauce is a super simple blend of umami, sour, salt, and spice: Dark sesame oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, and chili garlic paste. (I like this brand.)

I use an approximately 3:2:1:1 ratio of everything, but it's definitely an adjust-to-taste kind of thing. If you want a little sweet to go in that mix, throw some mirin in. That's it! Eat.
posted by (Over) Thinking at 6:02 PM on August 17, 2010 [7 favorites]

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