Ramen, the hot noodle soup, is ideal to relish in the monsoon. Ramachandra, corporate chef, Gong, tells you how to make it home
he light, hot and delicious Ramen has enamoured gastronomes across the globe. The origin of this one-bowl meal is a bit confusing with many calling it a Japanese delight while others calling it a Chinese legacy. However, others too have experimented with this dish in their own style and added and subtracted the condiments as per taste. That said, the essential components like broth, noodles and marinated eggs remain consistent.
Talking about the dish, Ramachandra, corporate chef, Gong, Balewadi High Street, Baner, says, “It is a clear noodle soup which can be prepared with multiple variations depending on the taste buds of people. If you are opting for the miso or soya flavours, which are usually non spicy, you can add tobanjan sauce to give it a tangy flavour. While the traditional way of preparing the dish would be to add pork, but to suit the Indian palate, you can replace pork with chicken or seafood. But to my understanding, one should not experiment with the basic ingredients like a lot of people look for an alternative to noodles but if you skip that, it will turn into a regular soup. Instead, if you are not a fan of the regular noodles, try wheat or fried noodles.”
As for the stock, the chef believes that it should be strong and flavourful with toppings like seaweed, green onions, bamboo shoots which have high nutritional value while vegetarians can add broccoli, tofu or cottage cheese. He further explains, “It is the stock that people need to be extra careful of. Dim the flame in the first boil because if it turns translucent, the whole fun goes away from the dish, which usually consists of chicken, tuna, sardines shitake mushrooms and onion.”
While a lot of people like to create their own innovative mix, Ramachandra suggests not to mix two flavours together since you run the risk of losing the essence. He adds, “You can’t mix miso and soya base together since each of them will try to overpower the other. Don’t create confusion in order to experiment with fusion.”
As for vegetarians, instead of breast chicken pieces and egg, they can smoke the tofu or cottage cheese slices and keep it on top.
Oil 2 tsp
Japanese Soy Sauce 2 tsp
Spring onions 5 gm
Ginger 5 gm
Garlic 5 gm
Carrots 10 gm
Celery 40 gm
Salt 5 gm
Bean Sprouts 2 tsp
Fresh Tofu 80 gm
Vegetarian Stock 500 ml
Shichimi 2.50 gm
Pak Choy 40 gm
Boiled Ramen Noodles 180 gm
(For Chicken Ramen, replace veg stock with chicken stock and tofu with 80 gm cooked chicken breast. Add a boiled egg.)
- Heat a large pot over medium-high heat.
- Once hot, add oil, garlic, ginger, celery and saute for 5 min.
- Add vegetable broth, soy sauce, salt and shichimi and stir.
- Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer on low for at least 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
- Taste broth and adjust seasonings as needed.
- Cook toppings (Tofu, Pak Choy, Bean Sprouts and Carrots for 30-45 seconds in the broth.)
- Fill a bowl with the boiled noodles and strain broth into the bowl. Follow up with placing the spring onion toppings