Life is like a bowl of Ramen so learn how to create one of Japan’s favourite dishes with Wimbledon based chef Reiko Hashimoto
Ramen noodles originated in China as laiman and were brought into Japan in 1910 and re-pronounced in the Japanese way to ‘rah-men.’ The story goes that a restaurant in Tokyo hired a cook from the neighbouring Chinatown, who offered a dish called Shina soba, which made its way into local restaurants and is now considered Japan’s first ramen. The dish grew in popularity after the end of the Second World War as soba noodles were much easier to get hold of than rice, and now ramen restaurants, cafes and shops can be found across Japan.
Today, the style and presentation of Ramen remains very similar to Chinese noodles but the flavour is distinctively different: usually categorised into Shoyu which has a soy sauce base; Miso (made with the fermented bean paste that any Japanese foodie will be very familiar with!); Shio which is light, salty and made of dried seaweeds and sea food amongst other things; and Tonkotsu which has a salty pork stock base. Still, there are endless specific varieties and many ramen shops specialise in just one of these styles; as you might know, in Japan, we go to a different restaurant depending on which cuisine we would like and each time I visit Japan, I treat myself to one of every dish, including a visit to a ramen shop.
At my Wimbledon home school, Hashi Cooking, I’ve just started my new Ramen and Gyoza Class which is a great hands-on class where you can learn how to create dishes to be enjoyed as part of a sit down dinner with wine in my authentic Japanese setting. You’ll create ramen noodle dishes with Tonkotsu and Miso broths, as well as calamari and pork (or chicken) gyoza dumplings and their complimenting ponzu and sesame dipping sauces – a must for any Japanese dish! Each of my classes is small and intimate, with up to seven people, and run for two hours on weekday evenings. If you’d like to try one of my classes, please visit my website, however in the meantime why not try my simple Miso Ramen Noodle recipe:
- 6 litres of water
- 100g ginger, peeled and roughly sliced
- 1 bunch of spring onion or 1 stalk of leek
- 800g chicken drumsticks/wings
- 1 large onion, quartered
- 4 garlic cloves, bruised
- 1 hard part of cabbage (the part normally not been used)
- 2 medium carrot, cut into chunks
- 10g dried konbu
- 1 cup sake
- 20g mange tout
- 80g tinned sliced bamboo shoots, or 12 baby corn, sliced diagonally
- 200g bean sprouts
- Pinch of salt
- ½ tsp white pepper
- 2 boiled eggs
- Chilli oil
- Grated garlic
- 1.2 litre of standard ramen stock
- 4-5 tbsp miso paste (you may use any colour of miso or mix for your preference)
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp mirin
- 1-2 tsp chilli bean paste
- Salt and white pepper
- Bruise chicken bones with a back of knife or meat tenderiser.
- Then bake them for about 20 min in a very hot oven or dry fry for 5-6 minutes.
- Boil 4 litres of water in a large saucepan.
- Place chicken into the pan and boil for 10-15 min, skimming away fat residue from time to time.
- Add 2 further litres of water to the pan with the vegetables, cover (using a lid with a small hole or gap to release steam) and simmer for 5-12 hours. *Alternatively, you can use a pressure cooker to shorten the process for step 2. **You may spread the days of cooking into two or three days.
- Strain the whole stock mixture through colander lined with muslin cloth. It’s best to let it sieve naturally which will take about an hour, otherwise gently squeeze through the muslin. When most of the stock ingredients become quite dry, then stop and throw away. *Standard stock can be used for Shoyu Ramen and Shio Ramen as well.
- Stock can be kept in the fridge for a week, or freeze in separate portions for easy future use!
- Method for Miso Ramen soup: Heat the ramen stock in a large saucepan and bring to boil.
- Add miso paste, soy sauce and mirin and mix well until miso paste melts completely.
- Adjust the flavour with chilli bean paste, salt and white pepper.
- Turn the heat down to simmer and leave for about 10 minutes.
- While the soup is simmering, heat 2 tbsp of oil in a wok at a high heat then stir fry all the
- vegetables - except for bean sprouts - for 2 minutes, with a pinch of salt and white pepper. Add bean sprouts and cook for further 1 minute.
- Boil a plenty of water in a saucepan and cook fresh noodles for about 3-4 minutes, or dried noodles for 5-6 minutes.
- Drain water and divide the noodles in 4 individual large noodle bowls and pour the soup over the noodles.
- Top evenly with your vegetables and drizzle with chilli oil and grated garlic (if you like).