Here is my disclaimer: I have never had authentic Japanese ramen. . . ever.
Only in my dreams.
In preparation for a trip to Japan, I’ve been experimenting and watching snippets of the movie Tampopo. So here is my completely Americanized version of ramen for breakfast. When I get back from Japan this spring, I’ll let you know how this worked out.
Update: I have returned, and I think I got this pretty darn close! Oishi!
Breakfast ramen: a noodle soup for breakfast with a poached egg and Japanese style veggies and seasonings.
4 parts: According to Lucky Peach, there are 4 main ingredients to a ramen dish: tare, broth, noodles, and toppings. The tare is something that most people may not be familiar with. It’s an intense flavoring put into the bottom of the bowl prior to serving. I only put the miso into my bowl first. I am sure I will discover that this is some sort of culinary violation. The only reason I put the miso in first is that I have heard that it is not good to boil miso, as it makes it bitter. If you use miso (which you do not need in this dish–but which is uber tasty), I’d simply add it prior to plating (or bowling).
This is for 3-4 servings.
- 1-2 t of miso in bottom of your bowl (depending on the size of your bowl)
Broth (this is all to taste). It should be strong. Taste as you go along.
- 6-8 cups of strong homemade chicken broth or dashi (advanced technique!)
- 3 T tamari (soy) sauce
- 2 T fish sauce
- 1 t sesame oil
- 1 t grated ginger (or use the pre-mashed stuff in the tube. . . it’s good also)
- ½ t very fine chopped garlic (or—horrors—1/4 t powdered garlic)
(Note: Taste after seasoning and adjust. Much depends upon your original broth. It should be strong and tasty, as it has to flavor the noodles.)
- Ramen, soba, Japanese noodles, even Yakisoba noodles will work*.
- About 1-1 ½ C cooked per person
- Cook according to directions, drain, set aside covered and keep warm. (Put them in the pot or a bowl with a cover if you must. Ideally, you’ll put them into bowls right after draining, add broth and toppings, but sometimes things get delayed. . .)
Topping Options: Pick the ones you like (Get these done and arranged before beginning your soup making escapades.)
- Sliced green onions
- Mung bean sprouts
- Sliced jalapenos
- Barely fried bacon or leftover thinly sliced steak or pork or chicken or baby shrimp. (If you use bacon, I’d cut the sesame oil to 1/2 t and the soy sauce to 1 T)
- Yellow and red bell pepper
- Prepared poached egg (see note later)
- Cilantro and/or parsley
- Thinly sliced radishes
- Nori Roasted Seaweed (I like Teriyaki flavored)
- And HOT SAUCE! (Siracha, etc)
Poached egg suggestion: Heat water with 2 T vinegar to almost boiling in a sauce pan (1 inch deep water). Crack each egg into Pyrex ramekin (or coffee cup). Set cup into pan for 10 seconds, then slowly dip egg out allowing water to come into the ramekin. Use spoon to baste egg with water. After 3-5 minutes, gently dislodge egg from pan with spoon or spatula. Move each egg back to ramekin with slotted spoon and set aside until ready to assemble ramen.
- Heat broth to almost boiling (must be HOT)
- Cook noodles according to package directions
- Put dollop of miso in bottom of bowl
- Mound noodles into bowl
- Pour extremely hot broth over noodles. (You should see broth just over the top of noodles.)
- Top with toppings of your choosing in artistic fashion. Add your already poached egg and your seaweed last.
- Serve with hot sauce
I like to break my egg right away and stir it into the ramen.
Slurp noodles with lots of noise!
*Don’t hate me: I know it is not real ramen without ramen noodles. But if you don’t have access to fresh ramen noodles and you don’t know how to make them yourself, I think you can be forgiven for using an alternative noodle.