Ramen is traditionally a Japanese delicacy that has become an American obsession recently. Surprisingly, this dish is of Chinese origin and bases its success on umami flavor. If you’ve tasted restaurant-made ramen, you’re probably wondering how they convert the seemingly boring ramen into a delicious meal.
Ramen dishes feature meat-based broth with several ingredients, including pork, eggs, bean sprouts, bacon, chives, and others. While the secret to success is in preparing the broth, below are other cooking tips to sweeten your ramen.
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1. Add Fresh Ingredients
Instant ramen is a combination of several things. While meat and vegetables are included, they are limited to a few desiccated pieces. What makes the difference between a restaurant and homemade ramen is adding enough fresh ingredients.
Meat and vegetables that should cook longer should be added earlier, while other ingredients that cook quickly can go in just before serving. While you should follow the instructions on your instant ramen noodle variety pack, making slight adjustments can improve its taste.
For instance, instructions on the pack suggest that you add seasoning at the end. However, ignore this and add seasoning at the beginning to ensure that meat and vegetables are cooked in seasoned broth instead of plain water.
2. Sauces Add Depth to the Broth
You should include sauces to achieve a rich, sweet broth. Oyster or hoisin sauce and a tablespoon of tomato paste can change the taste of your broth. For some salty richness, add a splash of Worcestershire or soy sauce. Miso also does wonders for your bowl of ramen, especially if you use it alongside butter.
If this sounds complicated, opt for the unconventional coconut milk for a creamy richness. A tablespoon of peanut butter paired with a spicy flavor also has an interesting taste. While at it, ensure that you don’t overdo it. Restrict your options to one or two flavors.
3. Include an Egg
Eggs are undoubtedly the best addition to ramen. You can put eggs on your ramen in various ways, including:
- Hard-boiled: Top your broth with sliced or quartered hard-boiled eggs.
- Stir it in: You can stir whole raw eggs right before serving.
- Fried: A fried egg also improves the taste of your ramen.
- Nitamago: They are soft-cooked eggs with a custardy center that commonly feature in online pictures of ramen bowls. They are easier to make and tastier for most ramen enthusiasts.
4. Don’t Forget the Toppings
Your bowl of ramen won’t be complete without the toppings. Raid your fridge for anything that can make an excellent topping for your ramen. While slivered scallions and mung bean sprouts are conventionally known toppings, don’t be afraid to explore outside the box.
For instance, slivers of celery and shredded cabbage make great toppings. They add a nice vegetable crunch to your ramen. You can also include sliced radishes, tomato wedges, jicama, and other options that pair with your broth.
You can now enjoy your favorite plate of restaurant-quality ramen at home. Vary your ingredients, toppings, and cooking methods for different tastes. Remember, noodles should be devoured while the broth is still hot, as per the tradition.