Now that we've made the ramen noodles, it's time to make some ramen broth! Some broths take hours if not days to make, but fortunately, it only takes a few minutes to make the broth for miso ramen. There's two ways you can make this broth: either add instant dashi and miso paste to chicken broth, or add chicken bouillon and miso paste to dashi stock. I chose to do the latter because dashi is a lot easier to make than chicken broth, and the two ingredients (kombu and bonito flakes) are shelf stable.
Kombu is a type of seaweed, and bonito flakes are made from smoked, shaved fish. You should be able to find both in an Asian grocery store, but I've also found them in the ethnic section of grocery stores. They both are very high in umami, which is why such a simple preparation can produce so much flavor.
makes 1 quart, enough for 2 bowls of miso ramen
4 cups water
2-3 strips of kombu
1/2 cup loosely packed bonito flakes
Place the water and kombu in a medium pot and let soak for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, place the pot on medium heat. Just before it boils, remove from heat and sprinkle the bonito flakes over the surface of the water.
After 3-4 minutes, strain through a fine mesh strainer.
Now let's talk toppings: my absolute favorite is a marinated soft-boiled egg. It's similar to lu dan, except the yolk is barely set, and the marinade only penetrates the outer surface of the egg. It took me a few tries to get it right because the recipe I was using called for the egg to be boiled for only 6 minutes, but my eggs were still too soft at that point. You want to cook it just long enough so that the egg white is set. If it's too soft, it's almost impossible to peel, which I found out the hard way. Eventually, through trial and error, I found that 7 and a half minutes was the ideal amount of time that I needed to cook my eggs to that point.
Marinated Soft-Boiled Eggs (adapted from Serious Eats)
makes 3 eggs (you only need 2 for 2 bowls of ramen, but you might as well make the third since there's enough marinade for 3 eggs)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup rice wine
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup mirin
1/4 cup sugar
Combine water, sake, soy, mirin, and sugar in a medium bowl and whisk until sugar is dissolved. Set aside.
Bring 1 quart of water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Carefully lower eggs into water with a slotted spoon. Reduce heat to maintain a bare simmer. Cook for exactly 7 minutes and 30 seconds. Drain hot water and transfer eggs to a bowl filled with ice water. Cool for 3 minutes and then carefully peel eggs (the whites will be quite delicate).
Transfer eggs to a bowl that just barely fits them all. Pour marinade on top until eggs are covered or just floating.
Place a double-layer of paper towels on top and press down until completely saturated in liquid to help keep eggs submerged and marinating evenly.
Cover and refrigerate at least four hours and up to 12. Discard marinade after 12 hours. Store eggs in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
As for the rest of the toppings, I didn't have any roast pork on hand, or else I would have used that, but I did have some fried tofu, which worked well with the miso broth. Other possible toppings include corn, bean sprouts, chopped scallions, nori, cooked spinach, bamboo shoots, etc. You don't want anything too strong to mask the flavor of the broth, but it's nice to have a few different textures in each bite.
makes 2 bowls
4 cups dashi stock
1 chicken bouillon cube
3 tablespoons frozen corn kernels
1/4 cup fresh bean sprouts
8 pieces fried tofu
2 tablespoons white miso paste
1/2 recipe ramen noodles, cooked
2 marinated soft-boiled eggs, sliced in half lengthwise
4 four inch-square sheets nori
2 teaspoons scallions, chopped
Add the dashi stock, bouillon cube, corn, bean sprouts, and fried tofu in a medium pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Remove the corn, bean sprouts, and tofu with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Remove the pot from heat and add the miso paste to the stock. Stir to dissolve.
Split the cooked ramen noodles between two large bowls. Pour in the miso broth.
Top each bowl with half the corn, bean sprouts, fried tofu, and marinated soft-boiled eggs.
Place two sheets of nori in each bowl and sprinkle half the scallions over each bowl.
Next post: Momofuku Ramen Broth!
Four years ago: Pan-Fried Pasta with Butternut Squash, Fried Sage, and Pine Nuts