Miso ramen is perhaps a misnomer. Yes, the soup contains miso - around 1 tbsp per portion - but the layers of flavour bring so much more. The recipe starts with a basic chicken stock, yet the real thrill of the dish lies in the additional toppings. To make life easier it may be worth preparing some - or all - of the components the day before. Even the soft boiled eggs will keep well overnight. You may well be tempted to leave out something here and there, but don't. It's a recipe worth making in the whole.
Our ramen below includes a number of variations from more classic ramen recipes. First with the pork, and second with the garlic sauce. If you don't eat pork, just replace it with boned chicken thighs in the recipe.
Pork from ramen broth is usually set aside, cooled, marinated in chashu sauce (the same marinade as for the eggs) and served in slices on top of the broth. However, this often makes for very dry pork. To keep the pork moist, you'd need to cook the pork separately at a lower temperature - either in the oven, or in a sous vide machine. However we like to infuse some of the pork flavour into the stock, and it's a shame to waste that meat. Therefore just before serving the ramen, we cut the pork shoulder into pieces and fry in a shallow pan. The fat from the outside of the pork renders and moistens the dryer inner meat, making it deliciously caramelised and crispy. The pork even stays crisp whilst you eat the ramen.
Mayu or Black garlic oil is another common ingredient in ramen recipes - visible as it is flicked across the surface in tiny black dots. The oil is made by heating garlic cloves in sesame oil until burnt and bitter and then blended until smooth. Instead we've blended together the sweeter fermented black garlic with sesame oil and sesame seeds, to create a richer sauce and broth.
a) Ramen Broth Serves: 4
- 1 kg chicken bones & carcass
- 500g boned pork shoulder (or 500g boned chicken thighs)
- 3 spring onions, trimmed
- 1 carrot, cut into 2 inch pieces
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 inch ginger, bashed (but left whole)
- 3l water (2.5l if using a pressure cooker)
- Place all the ingredients into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer for 6-8 hours, checking the water level every half hour (or cook for 3 hours in a pressure cooker).
- Strain the stock, reserving the pork shoulder. You should have 2 litres of stock - reduce there is more than this.
b) Nitamago Egg (marinated in chashu sauce)
- Place eggs in boiling water and boil for 6 minutes. Remove and cool in cold running water.
- Mix together ingredients for chashu marinade, and submerge the peeled eggs to marinate for 2 hours or overnight.
c) Pickled bamboo shoots
Pickles bamboo shoots
- Simmer together for 15 mins, and drain.
Sesame garlic sauce
- Blend ingredients together until smooth.
e) Katsuobushi salt
- 2l broth (from above)
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- Cooked pork shoulder (from making the broth above), broken into 1 inch pieces (or chicken thighs if using)
- 50g red miso paste
- 3 packs of ramen noodles
- Pickled bamboo shoots, drained (from above)
- Sesame Garlic Sauce (from above)
- 4 nitamago eggs (from above)
- 2 nori sheets, broken into pieces
- 8 spring onions, green part only, sliced finely
- 2-4 tsp Katsuobushi salt
- Start to heat the broth in a sauce pan
- Whilst the broth warms, add the oil and pork shoulder to a frying pan over a medium to high heat. Stir every so often, and cook until browned and crispy at the edges.
- When the broth is hot, mix in the miso paste. Hold a ladle in the broth, and add the red miso to the ladle. Gradually whisk the miso in the ladle, until it all dissolves and pour back into the main saucepan. Add the ramen noodles to warm through.
- Ladle the broth and noodles into each bowl. Top with a handful of the pickled bamboo shoots, a teaspoon of the sesame garlic sauce, and an egg sliced in half lengthways. Finish with a handful of sliced spring onion greens, nori seaweed, and 1/2 tsp katsuobushi salt. Serve extra katsuobushi salt at the table, to add to taste.