Ramen is a popular Japanese dish that’s incredibly simple to prepare. It uses a flavorful broth and toppings like chashu, green onions, and bamboo shoots. It’s a staple of both Japanese and Chinese cuisine.
The origin of ramen is uncertain, but it is believed that long ago in China, people would add kansui (a salt water solution) to wheat flour and water to make chewy noodles. This method was later adopted in Japan and became the basis for ramen noodles.
In Japan, ramen is most often served as a soup with noodles and toppings in it. The soup is typically flavored with soy sauce or miso and usually includes ingredients like kombu, nori, and sliced meat, narutomaki or fish cake.
Depending on the region or restaurant, different ramen dishes may include ingredients that are not common elsewhere. For example, some places might use a thicker broth or thinner noodles. Others might use vegetables instead of meat, or even a variety of different ingredients.
Toppings for ramen vary widely from restaurant to restaurant, but a few common ones include chashu pork or chicken, green onions, nitamago (thinly sliced egg), moyashi (bean sprouts), and tamogo (hard-boiled eggs). Some may also use stir-fried vegetables, and many restaurants offer a selection of fresh scallions, shiitake mushrooms, and other toppings for customers to choose from.
Noodles for ramen can be made with either wheat or rice flour. Generally, a combination of the two gives the best texture and flavor to the noodles.
Most ramen noodles are boiled before they are eaten, which helps to keep them fresh and flavorful. Some are made with soy sauce, while others are seasoned with salt.
Soup for ramen is made from a base of water, stock, or dashi and is flavored with soy sauce or miso. Some ramen dishes may also include additions like kombu, dried seaweed, or katsuobushi or bonito flakes to add extra umami flavors.
There are several types of ramen, but they can be separated into three main categories: shoyu, shio, and miso. Each has its own unique taste and style.
Shoyu ramen is a soy sauce-flavored soup that’s a bit tangy and sweet. It is usually served hot, and can be topped with traditional items like chashu pork or chicken, bamboo shoots, and fish cake.
Traditionally, soup for ramen was thick and heavy with flavor, but in Tokyo it is now much lighter. This is a result of the popularity of ramen amongst Japanese people, who prefer to enjoy their meals at their leisure.
In the same way that a drinker might choose to drink alcohol in moderation, ramen lovers should do the same when eating this delicious soup. It’s best enjoyed hot, and slurping the soup is considered a common way to enjoy it.
Noodles for ramen are made of wheat flour, but restaurants often allow customers to request that the noodles be cooked thin or thick. They can also be made ‘done’, meaning they’re boiled through, but not quite al dente.