Shoyu Ramen…

When we moved to Seattle, my girlfriend made one thing clear: find her a good ramen place.  Being from Hawaii, she’s spoiled with finding a place (at least a decent one) every 10 minutes.  I found her a new favorite in Aloha Ramen (go figure, the owners are from Hawaii as well).  It quickly became her favorite because of their thick hearty broth.  However, I decided I’d take a crack at making my own.  It’s what I typically do when I find something I like.  I looked into making dashi, the savory stock which serves as the base for almost all Japanese soups.  However, I wanted to make one without any MSG and that is hard to find.

Dashi is the stock made from Katsuobushi (fermented tuna flakes) above.  They’re also called bonito flakes.  This is where the savory fishiness comes from. Finding these alone was a chore.  I found many dashi bases, but all had MSG.  So I had to go right to the source, which are the fish flakes.

Making the dashi is a simple act of soaking these flakes in hot water.  Some also throw kelp into the water to add more of a seafood flavor.  I chose not to, but may experiment next time.

We got some fresh ramen noodles, some kamaboko (fishcake), another fish cake with burdock, char siu (bridging cultures here, but I wanted some pork), and green onions.  A simple mix of ingredients to make a filling meal.  All of these were obtained at the local Asian grocery.  I hate going to chain supermarkets for any ethnic food because it’s ridiculously expensive.

The stock is ready and smells delicious.

The stock I went with was a shoyu flavor; this is the most typical ramen variety. You can make the dashi with more miso for that variety or sesame seed paste for a tan tan ramen, one of my favorites.  Chicken or pork stock can also be used as a base, but I’d combine dashi with it or it’ll just be chicken noodle soup.

Shoyu Ramen

2 liters water
4-5 T soy sauce
handful of bonito flakes
4 inch piece dried kombu, seaweed (optional)
1/3 t salt
pepper/sesame oil
green onion
char siu
fish cake
whatever else you’d like to add (eggs, cabbage, etc)

For the dashi: If using kombu, soak piece in 3-4 cups water for 20 minutes, then bring to boil.  If not, bring 3-4 c water to a boil and add a handful of the flakes.  Let it sit 5 minutes.

Prepare your ramen ingredients:noodles, veggies, garnishes, etc.  Add soy sauce, salt, pepper, and sesame oil to taste and adjust flavorings for the stock.

Pour over while piping hot, especially if using ingredients that need cooking.

*next up…Beef Bourguignon…*

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