I love ramen soup and I'm not talking about the instant kind—though i did love a bowlful now and then during college. I mean the real ramen that you can get in Japanese noodle bars. Ramen noodles, especially when they're freshly made can be amazing. They are worlds apart from the instant kind. Whenever I feel a little under the weather or I just crave a hot bowl of soup, my go-to dish for ultimate soothing power is a bowl of ramen.
Lately I've become obsessed with having ramen for lunch. My coworkers and I go out to eat ramen at least once or twice every week. We've all been bitten by the ramen bug. New York City has countless noodle bars, ranging from cheap to very pricey. But they all offer the classic broths for ramen, including salt broth, soy sauce broth, and miso broth. They even have cold ramen served with dipping sauces. My favorite is the miso broth, which also comes in a spicy version called tan-tan men. It's the soup I turn to for a good sinus clearing! This is why ramen is the perfect cold weather soup.
When making ramen at home, I like to use the noodles from the instant packet since fresh ramen is not always easy to procure. My broth is just a simple homemade chicken stock. Ramen soup can include many garnishes, including sliced pork belly (chashu), boiled egg, bamboo shoots, scallions, nori (the dried sheet of seaweed used for sushi), pickled ginger, and much more. I top mine with cabbage, shiitakes, scallion, and nori. The spiciness in my recipe comes from sriracha sauce—you could also use chile-bean sauce or chile oil. This is the great thing about ramen, i.e. it's completely customizable. It's what I love about it the most.
Spicy Miso Ramen Noodle Soup
1 package instant ramen noodles, flavor packet discarded
2 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon low-sodium miso paste
1 to 2 teaspoons sriracha sauce
1 cabbage leaf, cut into chunks
3 shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
5 canned bamboo shoots
1 scallion, sliced
1 boiled egg
1 small square nori
shichimi tōgarashi (Japanese seven-spice powder), for serving
Cook ramen noodles according to package directions.
In a small saucepan, heat broth until steaming hot. Whisk in miso paste and sriracha sauce.
Meanwhile, bring a small saucepan of water, fitted with a steamer basket, to a boil. Add cabbage and shiitakes. Cover and steam until tender, about 3 minutes.
Add cooked and drained ramen noodles to a large bowl. Pour over with hot miso broth. Top with cabbage, shiitakes, bamboo shoots, and scallion. Place a boiled egg half in the center. Garnish with nori and shichimi tōgarashi. Yield: 1 serving.