Good news, noodle-lovers! An epic bowl of homemade ramen is within reach.
It’s all about #thatbroth, and this one is created with intense aromatics, sumptuous roasted garlic and the bold, hearty flavour of red miso. A perfect jammy egg and a spoonful of mind-blowing spicy, crumbled tofu round out each bowl, making this an incredibly satisfying bowl of noods – all in about 35 minutes once you have a good homemade stock and the roasted garlic handy.
[This post was originally created for and published at thesoupsolution.ca in October of 2017. A much-loved recipe there I’m excited to share an updated version with you here, at My Family Food Life.]
My noodle soup of choice during this particular stage of adulting (in which I enjoy limited free time for mid-week lunches while my kiddos are in school and I work from home) is the ever-popular Vietnamese noodle soup – pho. I’m never not down for a giant bowl of the fragrant, clear broth, with a pile of rice noodles and slices of tender beef.
With my default set to pho every time I had a moment to pop out for a quick lunch, my experiences with ramen remained fairly limited… until a little while ago.
Luckily I have a ramen-savvy pal, and with her guidance at first to decipher the menus, I was soon slurping away, content with bowls of rich broth and noodles, topped with tender, fatty meats, and my relatively safe selections from a list of various toppings.
I zoned in fairly quickly and regularly ordered miso ramen with a pork broth. Definitely on the heavier side – especially when compared to pho – and with complexity from the miso paste that I really enjoyed.
I’m the first to admit attempting to recreate such a developed broth at home in anything less than 6 hours does sound a bit ridiculous. And, while this soup isn’t in the same league as an expertly-crafted broth from a proper ramen shop, I will say it’s infinitely satisfying and a far cry from those instant ramen noodles of your university days.
Besides being just a damn good bowl of noodle soup, I’m pretty sure this broth will cure any cold, hangover, or just a bad day – hopefully you don’t have them all at the same time.
If you’re not already familiar with the spicy crumbled tofu you see added to the bowl, it deserves its own moment. I’m kind of obsessed actually, and I think once you try it, you will be too. The tofu is heavily inspired by Bon Appetit’s method for “how to make your tofu taste like pork” and transforms a rather drab block of tofu into something remarkably resembling meat. Once you swirl the crumbles through the soup broth and into the noodles, you’ll find it adds a spicy kick and satisfying bite to each spoonful.
A quick word about miso paste. There are various types of miso and I always have one, but usually more hanging out in my fridge for various uses from enhancing salad dressings and marinades to adding a little oomph to a pan gravy.
The three main kinds are white (Shiro), yellow (Shinshu), and red (Aka).
White and yellow miso are lighter and more delicate in flavour and are less salty than the darker miso. I’ll use these in salad dressings or as a probiotic boost to a mild broth when one of us is feeling sick. Just don’t add it to the hot broth or you’ll lose all the benefits. Wait until the broth is off the heat and stir it in at the end.
Red miso has a longer ferment time resulting in a more pungent flavour – perfect for richer dishes. The middle one in the photo below is actually a non-traditional style of miso made with brown rice called Genmai. It falls in the medium flavour range with yellow miso but offers the same fibre and nutrients found in brown rice. Nice, right?
This easy homemade miso ramen leans on the full-bodied quality and saltiness of Aka miso to help achieve a developed flavour in a short amount of time. If you happen to have, or can only find the lighter varieties of miso, don’t let that stop you. You’ll need to use more of it, but just taste as you go. A little extra soy sauce will help in this case too.
So, the next time you’re craving a substantial, soul-lifting bowl of noodle soup – you know right where to find it.
Easy At-Home "Cheater" Miso Ramen
Duplicating a rich, ramen-shop broth at home in 30-minutes would be a miracle. This one comes pretty close thanks to using a good homemade chicken stock fortified with intense aromatics, sumptuous roasted garlic and the bold flavour of miso.
For the Miso Broth
- 1 tbsp neutral oil such as grapeseed
- ½ cup diced shiitake mushrooms ((plus more for serving, about 150 g))
- 6-8 green onions, white and green parts separated and sliced thinly
- 4 cloves garlic, grated or finely minced
- 4" piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated or finely minced
- 2 litres homemade chicken stock
- 2 tbsp AKA (red) miso paste ((preferably unpasteurized and organic))
- 1 head roasted garlic cloves ((about ¼ cup))
- 1 tbsp sesame oil ((or to taste))
- 1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce ((or to taste))
- 4 servings ramen noodles, cooked according to package directions
- napa cabbage, chopped into 1" pieces
- 4 eggs
- 1 recipe Crispy, Spicy Crumbled Tofu
Heat the oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat and bring a second pot filled with 2-3 litres of water to a boil. Add the mushrooms to the pot with the oil and fry until they start to brown. Add the grated garlic, ginger, and the white parts of green onions. Cook, stirring frequently until the garlic and ginger are a golden brown.
Add the chicken stock and lower the heat to simmer gently for 30 minutes, or longer if you have the time. Strain the broth into a large bowl or measuring cup to remove the spent aromatics then return to the same pot over the and set of the lowest heat to keep warm.
While the broth is simmering, prepare the toppings for the ramen. Prepare the crispy, spicy tofu, and when the water in the second medium pot is at a gentle boil, carefully add the eggs and set a timer for 6.5-7 minutes. Large-sized eggs taken straight out of the fridge will take closer to 7 minutes. Once cooked, use a slotted spoon to remove the eggs from the pot and transfer immediately to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Bring the water back to a boil, then cook the ramen noodles as per the directions and drain.
When the eggs are cool enough to handle, peel and slice in half.
Put the miso paste and roasted garlic in a fine mesh sieve and settle into the hot broth to soften the miso and garlic. Using the back of a spoon, press the paste and garlic through the sieve into the broth. You may have to swirl more broth into the sieve to help get everything through, but if there are larger rice bits in your miso, just discard anything that won't go through the sieve. Taste and season with the sesame oil and soy sauce.
Ladle the broth over cooked ramen noodles and top each bowl with chopped cabbage, spicy crumbled tofu, additional sliced shiitake mushrooms, reserved sliced green onions, and the jammy medium-boiled eggs.
If you have a couple of extra hours I highly recommend making Momofuku’s Soy Sauce Eggs on Food52. These take at least 2 hours of marinating time, but the eggs keep for up to a month so make extra!
The Crispy, Spicy Crumbled Tofu takes almost as much time as the miso broth, so if you’re making them simultaneously, it won’t make the total time any longer.
I’ve used both fresh and dried ramen noodles with success, so use whatever is convenient for you. At the moment, I have a huge bag of Lotus rice ramen noodles from Costco and use those regularly. You can even use the dried noodles from a packaged ramen, just toss that seasoning packet in the trash!
Don’t stop at my suggestions for toppings. Torn sheets of nori (dried seaweed) would be well-placed, as would sweet corn niblets, slices of leftover barbequed pork, a scatter of toasted sesame seeds, bean sprouts, chili flakes, the list goes on…
This recipe has been changed from the original to include the addition of a full head of roasted garlic. The idea came from Evergreen Kitchen’s Creamy Vegan Ramen, and I thought it was genius. The soft, caramelized roasted garlic lends a sumptuous, mellow flavour and creaminess to the broth. If you’re not sure how best to roast garlic, you’ll find the details in my recipe for Creamy Roasted Garlic Cannellini Bean Dip. It can take about an hour in the oven, which is why I roast several heads at a time and keep extras in the freezer for a quicker approach to recipes like this one.
Thanks for reading and if you make this recipe, let me know! Drop a comment below and share your creation on Instagram. Don’t forget to tag #myfamilyfoodlife!