Ramen is a Japanese noodle dish made out of wheat noodles served in a meat or seafood based soup, often flavoured with soy sauce or miso then topped with different ingredients ranging from sliced meats, dried seaweed, kamaboko, green onions, pickled bamboo, wood ear fungus and occasionally corn. Today the true ramen can be only found in Japanese restaurants and rarely at home due to the popularity of 2 minute ramen noodles so if you haven’t tried the real one I suggest you do as it is really good and very comforting.
Believe it or not Ramen is of Chinese origin but there is little knowledge on when was this dish introduced to Japan. One theory suggest that it came from the Chinese word “la mian” which means “hand-pulled noodles”, another theory suggests it came from “laomian” which means “old noodles” and another theory says that it came from “lo mien”. Which means “to stir” and it is the method of preparing the noodles. Then 1950’s the name Ramen was changed to “shina soba” which means “Chinese soba” but today the name ramen is more acceptable as well as “chūka soba” which also means “Chinese soba”)
A very popular noodle dish in Japan since the 1900’s where it is served by restaurants serving Chinese cuisine. Food hawkers which sell ramen and gyoza also became popular, they primarily cater for workers during those times. Then in 1958 the instant ramen / noodles was invented by Momofuku Ando and since then the fresh version slowly become less popular and sometimes forgotten, even in restaurants the instant variants are used, it became really popular you can buy it everywhere. Like everyone else I also forgotten that I can make non instant ones at home but today it will be different as we will be making a real ramen dish.
But before we start do you know that ramen is divided into four main categories and they mainly differ in the stock and flavours used:
- Shio Ramen – Salt Ramen, this is basically the oldest type of ramen dish. Its broth is made with lots of salt, chicken, vegetables, fish and seaweed which yields a pale, clear and yellowish stock. Popular topping include pickled plums and kamaboko.
- Tonkotsu Ramen – Pork Bone Ramen, this ramen is made by boiling pork bones, fat and tendons for very long period of time yielding a very cloudy and white coloured broth. Popular toppings and sides are pork slices and beni shoga (pickled ginger).
- Shōyu Ramen – Soy Sauce Ramen, this ramen is made with chicken and vegetable stock flavoured with soy sauce yielding a brown broth. Popular toppings include marinated bamboo shoots, spring onions, kamaboko, nori, boiled eggs and bean sprouts to name some. Also unlike the first two the noodles used for this ramen are curly variant.
- Miso Ramen – This ramen is made with miso and fatty chicken which yields a thick, nutty and slightly sweet soup. Popular toppings includes spicy bean paste, corn, leeks, onions, bean sprouts, ground pork and cabbage. Like Shoyu noodles used are the curly variant but thicker.
So what category shall I do for today’s post, actually I don’t now as this is more of a free style ramen which I am not sure where to categorize as I used beef stock as its base. Beef ramen as I call it, this was inspired by the two minute beef noodles but trust me it does not taste anywhere near like it.
- 2 kg beef leg bones, preferably with ligaments in-tact
- 1 kg beef rib bones
- ½ cup fried onions
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 1 thumb sized ginger, roughly chopped
- 2 whole leeks, roughly chopped
- ½ cup bonito flakes
- 4 serves Ramen Noodles, cooked
- 400g sirloin beef, thinly sliced
- 4 pcs boiled eggs
- 1 cup woodear fungus, cooked
- 1½ cup corn kernels, cooked
- 1 sheet nori, cut into squares
- 2 tbsp miso
- Shichimi Togarashi, optional
- In a stock pot add the leg and rib bones, fill with water until it covers everything. Bring to a boil then turn heat off once the scum rises to the top.
- Drain and rinse bones with running tap water to remove the attached scum then place them back to the stock pot together with all remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil and simmer in medium heat for 2½ hours. Occasionally check the water level.
- Using a fine sieve separate liquid and set it aside.
- Place water and salt in a pot then bring it to a boil, once boiling dip sliced beef few at a time until it changes it colour. Set them aside.
- Place stock in another pan then bring it to a boil, once boiling add the miso then turn heat off. Season with salt if needed.
- Arrange your noodles in bowl then pour hot boiling soup, top with beef slices, corn, wood ear fungus, egg, nori and Shichimi Togarashi. Serve while hot.