A savory and hearty bowl of soup noodles, ramen is one of the most popular Japanese foods. It’s a comforting and filling dish that can be customized to fit your taste preferences. There are many different types of ramen including differences in broth type, flavorings, toppings, noodle thicknesses and serving styles.
Ramen was originally made by Chinese people, and it’s believed that it was first introduced to Japan in 1910 when a restaurateur Kanichi Ozaki invited 12 Chinese chefs from Yokohama’s Chinatown to his restaurant. Ozaki’s ramen became a hit and prompted others to open their own restaurants or market stalls where they sold the noodles.
The noodle itself is made from wheat flour mixed with water. The type of wheat used is important, as it affects the quality of the noodles and their color. Wheat with a high ash content produces darker and firmer noodles. The water used also plays a role in the final outcome, as it should be soft and clean for the best result. The addition of kansui is another factor that influences the flavor and color of the noodles. Kansui is an alkaline solution like sodium carbonate or potassium carbonate, and it gives the noodles their unique and distinct flavor.
While you are waiting for your water to boil, add the miso and garlic paste to a large heavy-bottomed pot and whisk. Slowly pour in the stock and coconut milk while whisking to fully dissolve the miso.
When the broth has come to a simmer, add the sliced mushrooms and cook until tender. If you prefer a richer and more flavorful broth, add some mirin (sweet rice wine) or use a doubanjiang substitute like gochujang or doenjang (Korean chili paste; spicy) to give it an extra kick!
The soup is usually served piping hot, and it’s important to eat the noodles quickly before they cool. Traditionally, ramen is eaten with chopsticks and a spoon. Some shops offer special eating tools that are designed specifically for ramen, but you can easily make your own with chopsticks and a spoon.
To enjoy the full experience of ramen, try adding some pickled ginger to your bowl. It adds a refreshing flavor and makes the noodles more enjoyable. You could also garnish your bowl with a slice of green onion, a boiled egg or some seaweed. And don’t forget to slurp! This is a key component to enjoying ramen, and it’s something that you will need to practice before you can master it.