In my world, there is nothing more satisfying than a steaming bowl of noodles in broth. The combination of warm spices mingling with aromas of earthy seaweed & fragrant herbs. The tender, springy chew of the noodles & satisfying crunch of julienned carrots, thinly sliced white onion or shaved radish, warmed just slightly by the heat of the soup. Top it all off with a swirl of hot sauce and a perfectly cooked runny egg and I might as well be in heaven.
The tradition of Ramen in Japan dates back to World War II when Japanese soldiers returned home with a love of noodles and broth from neighboring China. These days, there are literally dozens of different kinds of Ramen originating from the farthest reaching corners of Japan, all slightly different and tailored to each region’s specific tastes. From the lightly seasoned “Shio” (salt-broth) style Ramen to the more unctuous and rich “Tonkotsu” style, made by boiling pig heads, dried fish like sardines, and spices until the broth is thick like gravy, the options are endlessly unique and delicious.
While it is, of course, possible to make Ramen the traditional way (spending hours over the stove boiling bones with aromatics), and making noodles from scratch, I have learned that to satisfy my intense and extremely frequent cravings for the stuff, I have learned to make what I like to call Cheaty Ramen. Luckily, Bartlett’s has nearly every ingredient needed to make Cheaty Ramen.
Fill your Pantry
A great bowl of Cheaty Ramen can take as little as 20 minutes to prepare, with the right pantry staples,
you will be ready when the craving strikes!
Pantry Staples for Ramen-Making
(all of these are available at the farm!)
Frozen Sun Ramen Brand noodles,
dried Asian-style noodles,
Soy Sauce, Rice Vinegar, Fish Sauce,
Sriracha, Hoisin Sauce, Chili Oil,
White Miso, Kitchen Accomplice Chicken Broth concentrate (for quick chicken broth),
furikake seasoning, kombu seaweed, & bonito flakes
Stock up on Soup Veggies Etc!
Carrots, scallions or white onion, mushrooms, kale or any other quick-cooking greens, broccoli, ginger, & garlic.
Fresh herbs– cilantro, basil, tarragon, parsley… really whatever you like, just make sure they are of the fresh variety.
Step 3: The Perfect Runny Egg
The perfect runny egg is easily attainable, and the method is dead simple. Prepare an ice bath while you heat up a pot of water. When the pot of water is at a rolling boil, gently drop your eggs in and immediately start a timer on your phone, or ask Alexa, etc. My preferable egg is actually six and half minutes. When the time is up, plunge your eggs into the ice bath and let cool completely before gently peeling them. They should feel springy to the touch. Take care when slicing your egg to save all that runny egg goodness!
Julienne Peeler– This will tool will change your life
Ramen spoon– Necessary. Get into it!
Microplane- for grating garlic and ginger
a Mandolin– Benriner is the only choice, period.
Ramen Bowl– I prefer ceramic to retain heat
Wooden, non-laquered chopsticks– These have more grip for the slippery noodles
Now put it all together!
Prepare two pots. One for the noodles and one for preparing the broth.
A great broth is the perfect balance between salt, acid, fat, heat, and a touch of sweet. Start with a base of sauteed ginger and garlic, (a piece of pancetta or bacon always works to add body to the broth) add enough prepared stock (4 cups to start for one person) or water and season slowly with soy sauce, salt, fish sauce, rice vinegar, mirin, bonito flakes and kombu. I like to add a little bit of palm sugar (a natural sugar used in Thai cooking) for balance. PRO TIP-The more rich and flavorful your broth, the better able it will be to season the additional raw ingredients you will add to it later in the process. Reduce the broth until the desired taste is reached, remembering not to add miso, if using, until the very, very end.
When your broth tastes right, strain out any flavoring ingredients and discard, returning the strained broth to stove. Meanwhile, prepare veggies; julienne-peel a carrot, saute some mushrooms, julienne or chop onions and scallions, tear fresh herbs. Cook your runny eggs and gather any other toppings. Sesame seeds, furikake seasoning, hot sauce, quick pickled radish, etc.
Keep broth very hot while the you prepare the noodles. Season the water, then when they are cooked to al dente, transfer the noodles to your Ramen bowl. Into your piping hot broth, swirl in miso and any veggies you would like warmed or slightly softened, such as the carrots or kale, to wilt slightly.
Pour steaming broth and veggies over the noodles and top with fresh scallions, chilis, herbs, furikake, chili oil, sesame seeds & runny egg. A squeeze of lime juice at this point can be a real treat as well.
Devour in 10 minutes. Repeat in a day or so, or until when the next craving strikes!
-article and photos by Leah Mojer, Wine, M & P, Bartlett’s Farm