Real Ramen - Not a Pouch
These pre-cooked packets of noodles and a seasoning packet are what most think of when they hear ramen, but they are a relatively recent invention by Momofuku Ando. First marketed as Chikin Ramen by Nissin Foods, Japan starting in 1958, they quickly became wildly popular throughout Japan and then the globally. Interestingly, when first produced Chikin Ramen was fairly expensive and considered to be a luxury item in Japan.
Origin of Ramen
There is contention as to the actual invention of Ramen, but many attribute the noodles themselves to China. The dish as it is known today first appeared in Japan in 1910, then named shina soba, as a signature dish at Rairaiken restaurant in Tokyo. Shortly thereafter, the dish sprang up in restaurants across Japan in innumerable forms and variations, quickly becoming Japan's most widely popular Chinese dish.
Following World War II, the original name came under fire. Shina, a phonetic derivative of China, became an ethnic slur in Japan and the dish was renamed chuka soba (a more polite term for "chinese-style") until 1958, when Nissin Foods, Japan introduced the popular pre-cooked version we all know today.
Consumption of Instant Noodles by country
Packets Consumed in 2012
Percent (%) of Total Consumption
Popular Broth Variations
Shio ramen has a yellowish, heavily salted broth including a combination of chicken or fish, seaweed, and vegetables. Occasionally pork bones are used for the broth, though they are not boiled as long in order to keep the broth light.
Shoyu ramen has a brown, clear broth with chicken, fish, or beef as the protein, vegetables, and soy sauce as the base.
Tonkotsu ramen has a thick broth made by boiling pork bones for an extended period of time.
Miso ramen has chicken or fish broth blended with miso, resulting in a hearty, nutty broth.
Easy (but not too easy) Ramen
This is a result of my messing around with the stuff I have laying around the house in an attempt to move in the direction of more "traditional" ramen. It is by no means the traditional, but it's a big step up from a flavor packet and some dried noodles.
- 1 Pouch Instant Noodles
- 1 Cup Chicken, Vegetable, or Pork Broth
- 1 tbsp Minced Garlic
- 1/4 cup Minced Red Onion
- 6 Spears Broccoli
- 1 Pork Roast or Loin
- 3 tbsp Soy Sauce
- 2 tbsp Sake
- 2 Soft-Boiled Eggs
- Bring medium pot of water to a boil and carefully drop in eggs. Boil 7-8 minutes, then place in ice water to stop cooking. This can be done no more than 24 hours in advance.
- Sautee red onion in oil over medium heat until softened, then add garlic, salt, pepper. Sautee an additional minute
- Add stock, soy sauce, and sake. Add broccoli spears and simmer.
- Slice pork loin roughly 1/8th inch thick and add to broth. Cook 10 minutes or until pork is cooked through.
- Prepare ramen per package instructions without using including seaoning. You can get rid of it.
- Slice the eggs 1/4" thick, serve on top of noodles with broccoli and pork. Noodles should be mostly covered by broth in the bowl.