How to Make Ramen
If you know how to make ramen, you know that some of the most popular types take a notoriously long time to create. But home cooks in Japan regularly prepare ramen like this as a weeknight meal.
Today, there are thousands of ramen shops in Japan—and more pop up across the U.S. every day! I’ve had Texas-style ramen in Austin at Kemuri Tatsu-ya topped with smoked brisket. I slurped Jewish-Japanese ramen at Shalom Japan in Brooklyn, with delicate matzo balls in a soul-warming chicken broth, and farm-to-table California ramen at Ramen Shop in Oakland.
While ramen in the U.S. might be a trendy Japanese dish, it’s a recipe with humble beginnings in China.
What Is Ramen?
There are many stories of how this noodle soup ended up in Japan, but the most common ramen origin story seems to be that it was introduced to Japan by Chinese immigrants in the late 1800s. During the American occupation of Japan post-World War II, Japan suffered from a massive food shortage, particularly a shortage of rice, the main staple of the Japanese diet. Large amounts of wheat were imported into Japan from the U.S., forever transforming the nation’s traditional diet.
Ramen Recipe Variations
I recommend changing out the toppings with the seasons: snap peas and asparagus in spring, roasted tomatoes and zucchini in summer and roasted root vegetables in winter. Tsukemen, or cold ramen noodles, are also popular in summer. I like to make the recipe below in fall.
Find more ways to upgrade ramen noodles.
How to Make Ramen Step by Step
This recipe is inspired by Hetty McKinnon’s sheet pan chow mein and Eric Kim’s sheet pan bibimbap. The soup is adapted from Namiko Hirasawa Chen’s miso ramen recipe, made with ground chicken thighs instead of pork.
While ramen itself has become a quintessential Japanese dish, the use of chicken instead of pork is a nod to my Japanese and Jewish home, and of course, fresh seasonal vegetables are constant on our California table.
Kristin Eriko Posner For Taste Of Home
Ramen and Toppings
- 4 servings fresh ramen noodles (I used three 12-ounce packages), loosened by hand
- 4 eggs
- 4 tablespoons soy sauce
- 4 tablespoons mirin
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 small butternut squash, quartered and sliced into 1/4-inch-thick pieces
- 2 cups maitake mushrooms, ends cut off, separated
- 3 teaspoons untoasted sesame oil
- 4 cups loose leaf spinach, washed
- 2 green onions, 2-inch pieces of white parts only, thinly sliced lengthwise
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- Rayu or chile oil, for spice
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and grated
- 1/2 small onion, chopped
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds, ground
- 1-1/2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- 1/4 pound ground chicken thigh (not breast)
- 4 tablespoons miso
- 1 tablespoon mirin
- 1 tablespoon sake
- 4 cups chicken broth
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Ground black pepper, to taste
Step 1: Make the ramen eggs
Soft-boiled eggs can be served with ramen as they are—or you can make ramen eggs, which must be made ahead of time.
To make ramen eggs, place the eggs in a small pot of boiling water for 7 minutes. Cool soft-boiled eggs in cold water and peel. Place the eggs, soy sauce, mirin and water in a quart-sized zip-close bag. Marinate overnight or for up to four days in the refrigerator.
Step 2: Prepare the ramen toppings
Preheat the oven to 450° F. Around the same time, place a large pot full of water (ramen needs a lot of water to boil) on the stove at medium-high heat.
Prepare all of the ramen toppings as outlined in the ingredients list above. It’s important to prepare everything in advance, since ramen needs to be served and eaten immediately, before the noodles become soggy.
In a mixing bowl, drizzle the butternut squash with 1 teaspoon sesame oil and a pinch of kosher salt; toss to coat. Place the squash on a third of the sheet pan, making sure careful each piece lies flat.
Using the same bowl, mix the maitake mushrooms with another pinch of salt and 1 teaspoon sesame oil. Place the mushrooms on another third of the pan, leaving the last third empty. Roast on the top rack for 15 minutes.
Step 3: Make the ramen broth
While the toppings are roasting, make the soup. Heat the toasted sesame oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Once hot, add the onion and pinch of salt. Stir for about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and another pinch of salt. Once fragrant, add the meat. Once the meat has mostly cooked, add the miso, stirring quickly to prevent it from burning.
Add the ground sesame seeds and mirin, continuing to stir. Add the sake and chicken stock. Once the soup is at a simmer, turn the heat down to low. Taste the stock, adding salt a little at a time (I usually end up adding about 1/2 teaspoon). Finally, add pepper and stir.
By now, your toppings should be almost ready. Mix fresh spinach in the same mixing bowl with 1 teaspoon sesame oil and a pinch of kosher salt. Remove the pan from the oven and place the spinach on the final third of the pan. Return it to the oven to cook for 5 minutes.
Step 4: Boil the ramen noodles
Place the ramen noodles in the boiling pot of water. It is not necessary to add salt as you would for pasta. Cook until al dente (the noodles will continue cooking in the soup). While the noodles are cooking, remove the toppings from the oven, sprinkle with lemon juice and cut ramen eggs in half, width-wise.
Step 5: Assemble the ramen
Drain the noodles in a colander. Immediately place each serving of noodles in individual bowls. Pour soup onto the noodles, portioning out the ground chicken. Place toppings on each bowl. Enjoy right away!