This comfort food is ready in just 10 minutes with this recipe (photo courtesy Good Eggs | SF).  Three ramen options at Kabuki Japanese Restaurants:  Ramen soup with yuba, called “tofu skin” in English; a by-product of soy milk production (photo courtesy Hannah Kaminsky | Bittersweet Blog.  Tonkatsu ramen soup, with sliced roast pork. Here’s the recipe from Williams-Sonoma.  Buy ready-made soup base, like this pho from Nona Lim.
America’s favorite soup is chicken noodle. Is that why so many people love ramen soup, Japanese noodle version? (Ramen is the name of the Chinese-style wheat noodles in the soup.) Both versions are comfort food and hearty main courses.
Instant ramen soup is helpful in a pinch, but it’s laden with so much salt. There’s much more much salt in the little silver seasoning packets than is good for you.
One label we checked had 1434mg of sodium which is 60% of your Daily Value of salt; and if you eat the whole package (two servings), you’ve exceeded your Daily Value.
So here’s an easy solution: Make your own ramen soup. It’s easy, and you can make as large a batch as you like. It’s also a great catch-all for leftover pasta, meats and veggies. Just follow this recipe template: Choose Your Base Buy beef, chicken or vegetable broth or stock, preferably low sodium. If you like to make your own stock, by all means, use it. If you find yourself with pork bones, make pork stock.
RECIPE: 10 MINUTE RAMEN SOUP
Ingredients For 2-3 Servings
12 ounces Nona Lim pho broth, spicy Szechuan broth, or miso ramen broth
5 ounces ramen noodles (one packet)
1 head bok choy or ½ head chard or kale, sliced into ½” ribbons
3 scallions, green and white parts chopped roughly
1 cup of fresh cilantro, chopped roughly (substitute basil, chervil, mint, parsley)
This recipe specifies green onions and soft boiled eggs, but you can switch them out or add other toppings. Look in the fridge, look in the cupboards.
Asian vegetables: baby corn, bean sprouts, water chestnuts
Frozen, canned or leftover cooked vegetables
Leftover proteins: beef, fish/seafood, poultry, pork, tofu (shred and toss into the bowl)
Seasonings: nori chips (the dried seaweed used to make sushi rolls, now a popular snack) other seaweed seaweed, sesame seeds or, Japanese 7-spice (shichimi togarashi)*
1. HEAT the broth, adding 1 cup water to dilute slightly. When it boils, add the noodles and cook for 2-3 minutes. Then add the greens and scallions and simmer for another 3-5 minutes, until greens are bright and tender but still have texture.
2. BOIL a small pot of water, then add the eggs and simmer for 7 minutes and 20 seconds. Remove from the water and place in an ice bath; peel when cold.
3. LADLE out bowls of noodles and broth. Halve the eggs and add two halves to each bowl. Top with a handful of fresh herbs and serve.
Homemade Ramen Soup
Homemade Pork Ramen Soup
Modern Ramen Toppings
MORE RAMEN SOUP RECIPES
NONA LIM SOUPS
We were heartbroken when our beloved pho soup starters—beer, chicken and vegetable—were discontinued by Pacific Natural Foods.
Thank goodness Nona Lim stepped in to create fine Asian broths (and soup cups, too).
Beyond fabulous flavor, Nona, a former professional athlete who ate whole, clean foods to gain a competitive advantage; I discovered the power of food as functional medicine. I observed how inflammatory foods would hurt my performance: my body and brain would only function at peak performance or recover faster when fueled with whole, clean foods.
She developed the line as a healing, nutrient-dense, non-inflammatory meal program made with fresh, plant-rich, whole food ingredients and clean preparations made from scratch. We’re happy to be eating food that is all of these things; and even happier that the flavors are fabulous.
Check out the website and find the retailer nearest to you.
THE HISTORY OF RAMEN NOODLES
Although we think of it as Japanese, ramen soup is a dish of Chinese wheat noodles in meat broth—chicken or pork—with toppings that originated in China. It is believed that “ramen” is the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese word “lamian,” meaning “hand-pulled noodles” (as opposed to noodles that are sliced with a knife).
It differs from native Japanese noodle soup dishes, in that until ramen appeared, Japanese broth was based on either vegetables or seafood (and these broths continue to be used as a base for ramen soup).
While some ramen dishes began to appear in Japan in the late 1600s, they didn’t become widespread until the Meiji Era (1868 through 1912), when Japan moved from being an isolated feudal society to a modern nation.
Foreign relations and the introduction of meat-based American and European cuisines led to increased production of meat, and played a large role in the growing popularity of ramen.
The growth of ramen dishes continued after World War II, but remained a special-occasion meal that required going out to a restaurant. The broth could take days of simmering, requiring time beyond what most housewives could spare.
Restaurant ramen is considered fine cuisine; soup recipes and methods of preparation are closely-guarded secrets.
Almost every locality or prefecture in Japan created its own variation of the dish, served at restaurants (the different types of ramen by region).