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Your ramen looks good, much better than mine.  Japanese curry ramen?  I've never heard of it.

Ramen is huge over here.  There are a lot of serious ramen lovers here in Japan, but I myself cannot take ramen seriously, and don't have any recipes to share. :sad:   Ramen is just what you might call a comfort food to me. :sad:

Edited to add:

OK, I was wrong.  There are such things as curry ramen.  I like curry udon and curry soba, but I find curry ramen not so appetizing.

Thank you! That was my first time making ramen :)

Oh how can you not take ramen seriously? :shock:

It's one my favourite foods of all time hahha! I love Japanese curry but I guess it's not for everyone hehe.

I'm more of an udon and soba person. Besides, I feel some inexplicable aversion to newer, more expensive, "the more ingredients the better" concept ramen.

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Hmm I prefer ramen to udon and soba so I'm different to you I guess. But I do agree with your 'newer' versions of certain foods concept. For eg, I did try numerous 'westernised' ramens out of interest, such as the butter corn ramen and boy did I NOT like it!

Such a waste of my money and food -it was a HUGE bowl and I couldn't finish it because I felt so sick! :sad: Far too creamy for what is supposed to be ramen...I shouldn't have mixed the butter into the soup. In fact, I should have scooped it out before it melted arrgh! Oh well, it was an experience I had to face I suppose :unsure:

With that said, some 'newer' ones I do enjoy included kimchi ramen and tantanmen (not really considered a ramen but ehh).

I think this is because I do enjoy alot of Asian fusion flavours (the first being Korean obviously and the latter Chinese -it's actually dan dan mian in Chinese) but some things are really not meant to be altered! I hold this belief with most noodle soups and all the really 'homey' Asian dishes. I have nothiing against fusion food that attempts to be a new 'breed' of cuisine but something like Westernised ramen or pho?! YUK!

Musings and Morsels - a film and food blog

http://musingsandmorsels.weebly.com/

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Hmm I prefer ramen to udon and soba so I'm different to you I guess. But I do agree with your 'newer' versions of certain foods concept. For eg, I did try numerous 'westernised' ramens out of interest, such as the butter corn ramen and boy did I NOT like it!

Such a waste of my money and food -it was a HUGE bowl and I couldn't finish it because I felt so sick!  :sad: Far too creamy for what is supposed to be ramen...I shouldn't have mixed the butter into the soup. In fact, I should have scooped it out before it melted arrgh! Oh well, it was an experience I had to face I suppose  :unsure:

With that said, some 'newer' ones I do enjoy included kimchi ramen and tantanmen (not really considered a ramen but ehh).

I think this is because I do enjoy alot of Asian fusion flavours (the first being Korean obviously and the latter Chinese -it's actually dan dan mian in Chinese) but some things are really not meant to be altered! I hold this belief with most noodle soups and all the really 'homey' Asian dishes. I have nothiing against fusion food that attempts to be a new 'breed' of cuisine but something like Westernised ramen or pho?! YUK!

Thanks for a reply. It's not that I hate ramen, and now that I have found real good ramen noodles, I hope I can come up with a nice, MSG-free ramen recipe some day.

As I mentioned elsewhere, I like Tokyo ramen because that's what I grew up with - clear, chicken-flavored, dark soy sauce-based broth, with medium thick noodles topped with some traditional ingredients like naruto, shinachiku, and spinach.

Images of Tokyo ramen can be found here. But I also like Kyo-fu ramen at Akasatana. It's simple and elegant. No wonder because the ramen shop is targeted at females.

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Thanks for a reply.  It's not that I hate ramen, and now that I have found real good ramen noodles, I hope I can come up with a nice, MSG-free ramen recipe some day.

As I mentioned elsewhere, I like Tokyo ramen because that's what I grew up with - clear, chicken-flavored, dark soy sauce-based broth, with medium thick noodles topped with some traditional ingredients like naruto, shinachiku, and spinach.

Images of Tokyo ramen can be found here.  But I also like Kyo-fu ramen at Akasatana.  It's simple and elegant.  No wonder because the ramen shop is targeted at females.

I love Tokyo ramen too. I eat it at this place here called Ichiban Boshi and it's wonderfully done. Simple and elegant as you say. I've never had Kyo-fu ramen but I imagine I've had something very similar judging by the photo. Ramen with thin slivers of pork, shoyu stock and the delicious soy soaked eggs are perfect. The originals are always some of the best :)

Musings and Morsels - a film and food blog

http://musingsandmorsels.weebly.com/

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I am glad to know I am not the only one who doesn't really care for ramen. In 13 years in Japan I can still count my trips to a ramen shop on one hand. My (Tokyo born and bred) husband also shares my indifference for ramen.

I do make it at home more often, usually for an easy weekend lunch, though never from scratch. I either jazz up instant ramen or buy the fancier refrigerated packs that include soup and fresh noodles. Even these we only eat 2 to 4 times a year.

I stare at the pictures in this thread in awe, the time and work put into these bowls of ramen is really amazing.

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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  • 2 months later...

I learned from a TV show yesterday that there are two types of ramen that will become popular in 2008: Sengyo kei (鮮魚系) and Italian.

According to the show, sengyo kei ramen features a broth made with fresh fish like tai (sea bream) and tuna kama (collars). Italian ramen is like tsukemen (noodles and broth served in separate bowls) where the broth is Italian.

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  • 1 month later...

Considering how popular ramen is, I'm puzzled as to the unavailability of ramen noodles. At my "local" market (Mitsuwa in San Jose), the dried noodle aisle is filled with all kinds of udon, soba and somen - but NO ramen. The refrigerated noodle section has ramen "meals" - the packages all include seasoning packets - not noodles-only.

The local ramen restaurants use fresh packaged noodles, so they're buying them locally somewhere, and I'm wondering if they're using generic Chinese egg noodles, such as those made by New Hong Kong Noodle Company based in San Francisco.

Hopefully someone will post a good recipe for making ramen noodles from scratch....

Monterey Bay area

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  • 1 month later...

On our way back from the hospital, we went to this ramen shop:

gallery_16375_5796_65279.jpg

Azumaya Honten, located in Koide, Niigata.

(Honten means head office, head shop, etc.)

This ramen shop is one of the few ramen shops I know that are worth mentioning here on eGullet.

I had shoyu ramen:

gallery_16375_5796_81935.jpg

650 yen

My daughter had miso ramen:

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750 yen

And, my son had Azumaya tokusei (special) chashu (sp?) ramen:

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900 yen

All these ramen are slightly expensive even for Japanese standards.

I also ordered two plates of gyoza:

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One for me and the other for my two children.

250 yen each. Reasonable price.

Closeup of the noodles:

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Relatively thick, home-made noodles.

Board that describes the features of their ramen:

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One of the fascinating features is that their ramen do not contain any MSG. The noodles are made with domestic wheat flour of finest quality. Great care goes into every ingredient of their ramen. That is why their ramen is a little more expensive than others.

Interior:

gallery_16375_5796_99233.jpg

Used kombu:

gallery_16375_5796_24825.jpg

They offer used kombu to customers free of charge. We each got one.

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Used Kombu???  :blink:  That sounds almost as intriguing as selling french bread stumps or Parmesan rinds

Does "used kombu" sound so intriguing? :blink:

The kombu was used to make ramen broth. The board calls it "okazu kombu", not "used kombu", though. "Okazu" means something to eat with a staple (usually rice). The board also says the kombu is good for ochazuke and as an appetizer for sake. We tasted the kombu when we returned home, and found it was very good!

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I am glad to know I am not the only one who doesn't really care for ramen. In 13 years in Japan I can still count my trips to a ramen shop on one hand. My (Tokyo born and bred) husband also shares my indifference for ramen.

You are very lucky. My husband (from Tokyo) absolutely loves ramen, passionately. And there's nowhere in London where he can have it.

Ramen is off limits to me (I don't eat pork or chicken), I am crazy about soba. My husband... not so much.

This created a massive conflict of interests on our last trip back to Tokyo as I couldn't go anywhere without him pushing me there in a wheelchair.

This did mean that I visited his favourite ramen place a few time, Azabu Ramen. I also realised that his favourite part of the dish wasn't the ramen itself (not in this place) but the chili beansprouts that were served separately - although these were added in copious amounts to his ramen.

I could have eaten a fairly decent vegan meal combining a bowl of rice with the beansprouts and a few of the other condiments, unfortunately, I hated them.

I would like to make these chili beansprouts for him though, if anyone has any pointers I'd be very grateful. They were very hot, sort of like beansprout kimchi.

Edited by MoGa (log)
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I did a quick google search and found that their moyashi (beansprouts) are seasoned with doubanjiang.

from here (Japanese only)

I did another search with two keywords moyashi and doubanjiang (in Japanese, of course), and this one came up first:

http://mshun.blog32.fc2.com/blog-entry-178.html

1 pack moyashi

1 tsp doubanjiang

1/2 tsp ichimi togarashi

1/2 tsp instant dashi

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp sesame oil

1 or 2 knobs of garlic, grated

Boil moyashi and combine all the ingredients together.

You can find other recipes as well. Hope your husband can help you with translation!

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You can find other recipes as well.  Hope your husband can help you with translation!

Thank you very much! That certainly gives me a place to start, I appreciate it.

Alas no as to the translation. He did all his schooling in English. He's perfectly fluent in Japanese but doesn't read or write it.

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You can find other recipes as well.  Hope your husband can help you with translation!

Thank you very much! That certainly gives me a place to start, I appreciate it.

Alas no as to the translation. He did all his schooling in English. He's perfectly fluent in Japanese but doesn't read or write it.

I forgot to ask: Have you ever had ramen noodles in soba soup? Years ago, I had to do it for some reason or other, and I found this combination surprisingly good.

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I forgot to ask:  Have you ever had ramen noodles in soba soup?  Years ago, I had to do it for some reason or other, and I found this combination surprisingly good.

It's not been a speciality of any of the soba places I've ever been to (and ramen ラメン would be one of the few things on a menu I can read!). But then I'm drawn to places where the chefs are exquisitely anal about their soba.

What you've mentioned does sound intriguing - I'm guessing that the ramen might be 'dressed'/presented with a similar broth/condiments to soba, so that the resulting dish is more like ultra-sarashina soba than anything approximating tonkotsu ramen.

Our compromise choice (what we eat when we go out for noodles together) is generally udon.

----

And I was wrong to suspect that my husband might have enjoyed the spicy moyashi more than the ramen at the original Azabu Ramen. He was just demonstrating an extra layer of joy by being able to help himself to a particularly relished variety of cherry to add to what was already his very favourite cake.

---

I'm going to buy (hopefully) doubanjiang for the first time today. I should be able to come back with a report on the beansprouts soon.

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I made the spicy moyashi with chilli bean paste (toban djang was barely visible on the jar) yesterday evening. The difficult part was finding the doubanjiang (thankfully another thread in the China forum helped me avoid brands made without broad beans), the rest was easy.

I used Korean chilli flakes instead of ichimi togarashi, and as we don't care for or use instant dashi (which I presume from the recipe would be the powdered kind) I used a spoon of the ready-made dashi I do use (http://www.yamato-soysauce-miso.com/product_japanwsesoupstock.html) as well as a generous sprinkling of katsuo bushi powder scraped from the bottom of the bag.

The recipe was incredibly quick and simple.

Although I preferred these beansprouts to the ones served at Azabu Ramen and my husband liked them too, there's still room for improvement.

To be honest, there was a lack of taste in the first bite, the sprouts only became 'tasty' after a few chews and the best part about them was the delicious aftertaste.

We tried adding a spoon of miso. Strangely, white miso worked better than red miso. I'm considering pounding some sakura ebi and adding that next time. I've already got more bean sprouts, so I'll be trying again tomorrow. Perhaps the MSG inherent to most instant dashis is the secret ingredient that gives an initial 'hit' of flavour my version lacked.

We are very happy with the results so far, there's no way I could have come anywhere close without Hiroyuki's assistance. For a start I'd never heard of doubanjiang before, it's really good!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I made ramen for supper tonight.

gallery_16375_5796_95166.jpg

gallery_16375_5796_99078.jpg

I combined broth with soy sauce at a ratio of 18:1 (900 ml : 50 ml). This lightly flavored ramen soup has been inspired from the concept of the soup served in a kaiseki meal: Making you satisfied when you finish it off (rather than making your tongue numb by the time you finish it off).

The broth is a combination of instant dashi and instant chicken broth. :raz:

Here is a better version, which I made with real dashi:

gallery_16375_4595_11677.jpg

This photo was previously posted here.

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Ok, you guys inspired me. I'm going to start a new thread called 'Blame it on Gullet' -- this is only one such thread which has inspired me to lose all reason, drive all over town, spend extraordinary amounts of money in pursuit of something which is really supposed to be cheap comfort food for the masses.

After reading this thread, I decided I must, must, must have a bowl of fresh ramen. Let me preface my tale by saying that I'm about 30 mins from some great ramen in LA's Westside and could have driven into town, paid my $5 (spent $8 in gas) gotten my fix and come home happy. But nooooo. eGullet and my food obsessed brain wouldn't let me do that. *My* bowl of ramen had to be fresh, homemade pork broth ramen, nothing else would do.

And thus my journey begins.

So off I go looking for some pork neck bones and one pigs trotter. After a few more stops (est $3 in gas) I'm finding that these ingredients are harder to find than one might think in the burbs of LA (Westlake Village). At one stop, they didn't have any bones but did have a nice boneless pork shoulder which I thought would make a nice yakibuta so I bought it and continued on the hunt. Total cost $7.50 (plus about $2 in gas).

As I'm driving around aimlessly wondering where in the world I'm going to find these things, I ask myself if I turn the car around now whether I'm early enough to miss the lunch rush in West LA. Then it occurs to me that any market with a big hispanic market (somewhere that has posole fixings) would probably be be the ticket for my coveted bones/trotter.

Food4Less sprang to mind as a possible candidate. Out comes the WM Smartphone and thanks to MS Live Search, 30 mins later, I'm in Oxnard's F4L which has a nice selection of pork neck bones as well as the requisite pig foot. Total cost about $10 plus gas (which at $4/gal @ 2 gallons = $8) for a total of $18. My simple bowl of ramen is now up to $27.50 and nary a noodle in sight yet.

3 hours after I set out, I'm home with my pork bounty. I put everything in a pot with water, a little salt, couple cloves of garlic and set it to cook. Simmered pretty much all day -- almost 8 hours total. Because I'm not a big fan of the way milky broth looks I decided to keep the broth at a nice simmer. The dog has permanently parked himself in the kitchen and sleeps in front of the stove, ready to pounce on any intruder who might come between him and his version of fort knox.

gallery_23483_5973_10645.jpg

Before I put the broth away for the night, I give it a little slurp and smile appreciatively...have to admit, pig makes for a really lip smacking tasty broth.

gallery_23483_5973_4335.jpg

Woke up to a nice layer of fat -- skimmed off some, but not all of the fat and was pleased to see underneath the broth had set up more firmly than a baby's bottom...you could have bounced a quarter off of it. Excited, I warm it up, freed the captive bones/meat from the gelatin via strainer and spent 30 mins meticulously picking out all the meat that fell off of the neck bones. I'm thinking mixed with some warmed 'Finger Lickin Good' BBQ sauce nestled in a nice egg bun, little coleslaw to top there's enough there for 3 good sized pork pulled sandwiches, making for yet more porcine pleasure (and we still haven't gotten to the ramen yet! :)

On to the yakibuta...I took the pork shoulder roast and cut off about 1 lb from the end, sliced a couple of thick slices off the remaining hunk (for Tonkatsu at some later date) and froze the rest for carnitas. Briefly regret not buying the organic pork roast Whole Foods sell. They have the most wonderful pork with amazing flavor (the thought of which makes me briefly consider running back out). Fortunately, a saner mind prevailed (actually a phone call came in which ran too long for me go out if I wanted soup tonight so I didn't have a choice) so I decided to make the best of the animal who was so kind to offer its life so I could have my yakibuta.

Tied the generic hunk o'pork up with kitchen twine and put some soy, mirin and sake and one star anise for good measure into my rice cooker bowl, added some of the porky broth and put the whole thing into my Zojirushi on brown rice mode. It's cooking as we speak (house smells lovely today, dog still permanently camped out in kitchen).

gallery_23483_5973_9984.jpg

Hunk o'pork came out smelling and tasting beautiful, but sadly when I went to cut it, it was falling apart tender. I know it's not traditional to the japanese char siu but the star anise was a, um, stellar addition. So, for anyone who scoffs at the notion of a 40 min simmer being all that's needed, don't. 40mins is probably all you need to get those nice thin slices; any more than that and you get probably more tenderness than you're looking for. Meh, live and learn, it was just as good falling apart even if not visually as appealing.

gallery_23483_5973_23685.jpg

Accoutrements...well, what's ramen without the fixins? Ran out to the Albertson's around the corner and picked up 2 packs Azumaya chinese style noodles from the produce section (they claim they're good for soup -- guess we'll be the judge of that), some bean sprouts, eggs, green onions, (darn forgot the spinach. Oh well - using some snow peas instead and a little sauteed chinese cabbage) adding another $15 to what should be a simple bowl of soup.

gallery_23483_5973_39702.jpg

Assemble it all together. Bless with with liquid porky goodness.

Behold my $42.50 bowl of ramen.

gallery_23483_5973_1987.jpg

You ask how was it?

Concerned that I'd make it too salty I was careful about not overseasoning as I went. Funny, but even after small splash of soy in the broth, it still needed a little touch of salt. The noodles were a good fit -- while not as good as authentic, the fact that they're sitting on the shelf at Albertson's makes me think the maker of the noodles (Vitasoy) might have something good here for us and can recommend them for a quick fix.

While obviously not as authentic as something I might have gotten on the Westside but it was all my own, exactly the way I wanted it. I thank my multiple porcine friends who gave their all for one great bowl of soup. I also thank my multiple and virtual friends on eGullet who drive me to such acts of madness in the name of food :)

gallery_23483_5973_5983.jpg

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Comments from me about this are meaningless, but my husband is very impressed.

$42 doesn't seem nuts at all (you got a food-tour out of it too). This cost almost seems inevitable on a first attempt and on a dish for one - he doesn't think you should feel anything but proud.

In his opinion any less effort wouldn't have resulted in a bowl of ramen, you would have ended up with a bowl of Asian pasta instead.

He was curious that no chicken parts went in (he wonders if some chicken feet would have added to the broth), and the only surprise ingredient was the green mange tout (an ingredient he associates with the 80s).

But a hearty and sincere 'congratulations' are due here. Well done!

-----

What we both really want to know is

What part of this did the dog get to enjoy?

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I *did* give a ramen party, when I lived in New Zealand...before there were things like ramen restaurants outside Japan. It was a lot of fun - guests had to bring their own bowls, as the bowls were harder to find than the ramen ingredients! For some reason, having guests walking into a party clutching noodle bowls made the party fun right from the start...

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I did a quick google search and found that their moyashi (beansprouts) are seasoned with doubanjiang.

from here (Japanese only)

I did another search with two keywords moyashi and doubanjiang (in Japanese, of course), and this one came up first:

http://mshun.blog32.fc2.com/blog-entry-178.html

1 pack moyashi

1 tsp doubanjiang

1/2 tsp ichimi togarashi

1/2 tsp instant dashi

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp sesame oil

1 or 2 knobs of garlic, grated

Boil moyashi and combine all the ingredients together.

You can find other recipes as well.  Hope your husband can help you with translation!

Whilst this won't be nearly as impressive as stephle's post, I've finally 'cracked' this recipe. It's completely dependent on the quality of the Douban jiang.

Still using Korean chili flakes for the ichimi togarashi, I found this douban jiang recently:

Passing theough the local Chinese supermarket I impulse bought something labelled "Pixian Fermented Broad Bean". Is is a lovely woven bamboo container, but inside is a plastic bag of brown goo. It was about $4

gallery_7620_135_1106405300.jpg

(there were two plastic pouches in mine and I bought it at Seewoo, Lisle Street for 2.25GBP)

Much, much better results than with the sauce I used before

The spicy moyashi were absolutely delicious this way, very 'more'ish, and simplicity itself to prepare - they don't seem to improve with marinading so can be enjoyed immediately.

This has been firmly established as a family favourite. I'll sure we'll be eating this for many years to come. Thanks again, Hiroyuki !

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