Ramen is the Japanese word for “noodles.” It’s a hot bowl of soup that comes in a variety of flavors and styles. It has been a popular food in Japan for over 100 years and is considered a delicacy by many.
It has a Chinese origin, but over the years, the dish has become a major part of Japanese culture. While it is most often served in ramen-ya (ramen restaurants), it can be prepared at home with ease using instant ramen packets and a few simple ingredients.
To make ramen noodles, you’ll need some basic kitchen ingredients and a bowl of boiling water. There are a wide variety of different types of instant ramen noodles available in the market, each with a slightly different flavor and texture. You can also find fresh ramen and toppings at your local grocery store, which will require a little more time to prepare.
The noodles used in ramen are chewy and yellow in color, which is a distinguishing factor that separates it from other types of wheat noodle dishes. They are made with a special technique called kansui, which uses lye water to give the noodles their unique taste and chewy texture.
There are five main elements to a bowl of ramen: the broth, seasoning, noodles, toppings and soup oil. Each of these is important in the making of a delicious bowl of ramen and can be manipulated to create a variety of different tastes.
Broth is the heart of a ramen, and the flavor comes from a number of ingredients including chicken, pork, vegetables and fish stock. Some shops may add other items like kelp and dried seaweed to their broth for an even more rich flavor.
Noodles are typically thicker than udon and pasta and come in a variety of shapes, thicknesses and sizes. Some ramen noodles are flat and thick, while others are thick and curled. The thickness of the noodle also plays a role in the taste and texture of the soup.
Shoyu ramen, which is the most common type of ramen in Japan, is made with soy sauce. The shoyu is then further flavored with salt and miso, which adds a complex flavor and umami to the broth.
Shio ramen, which is the oldest of the ramen bases and originated in Hakodate, is another classic ramen base with flavour ties to Chinese style noodle soups. Its savory taste can be enhanced with a number of ingredients, from dried sardines and fish bones to bamboo shoots and kelp.
Miso ramen, which is the youngest of the ramen bases and originates from Hokkaido, has a creamy taste and deep umami flavor. The soup base is usually made with fermented soybean paste and can be further enriched with dried fish and other ingredients for a more complex flavor.
Koumiyu, or seasoned oil, is a crucial part of the soup. It helps to keep the ramen soup warm while it cooks and adds additional flavour. It can be infused with a range of herbs and spices, but the most popular are garlic, ginger, onions, peppers, sesame seeds and green onion.