Pantry Ramen

I have wanted to make ramen for a long time but it has seemed like a daunting project with too many moving parts. After watching numerous videos and reading a bunch of recipes I started to somewhat grasp ramen. This was when I stumbled upon a quarantine video of making ramen on ‘nothing’. It simplified ramen and made it more approachable. I decided that this ‘trash ramen’ would be my first ramen attempt and part of the challenge was to use only what I already had at home.

A bowl of ramen consists of five elements: broth, tare, oil, noodles and toppings.

This recipe makes two bowls of ramen.

Broth

It would be an exaggeration to call this is a Chintan broth since I do not have all ingredients required to complete such a recipe, but it is what this ‘ramen of scraps’ is closes to. Chintan means clear soup, which is used as base for Shio (salt) and Shoyu (soy sauce) ramen. To cook the broth gently makes the broth clear. If cooked with more force it will dissolve the ingredients into the broth and make it cloudy, which is another style of ramen broth called Paitan.

Broth ingredients

  • 2 onions of any kind with the skin on cut in half
  • A few leek leaves
  • 1 stem from tomatoes
  • 1 head of garlic cut in half
  • 4 small carrots with skin on
  • 2 slices of bacon (or a handful of mushrooms)
  • 1/2 an apple with skin on and seeds still in
  • 2 liter of water

Directions for broth

Put everything in a saucepan and cover with water. Cook with lid on at low heat for two hours. Pick up all ingredients and strain over a large bowl. Mash the onions to get all the liquids out. Put the broth in a jar. Once the broth has cooled, remove the fat from the surface with a paper towel.

I saved the center of the leak to use it as topping for later.

I decided to add half an apple to add sweetness to the broth.

All ingredients have been cooked together for about 2 hours.
Ingredients being strained.
Broth still with fat up top.
Removing the fat with a paper towel.

Tare

Tare is the sauce that compliments and brings flavor to the broth. There are different kinds of tare. Salt based, soy sauce based and miso based. Since I did not have all ingredients at home at the time I made a simplified version of soy sauce tare.

Different brands of soy sauce taste different of course. Some are more salty than others. Take this into consideration when making the tare and balance it when putting together the ramen bowl.

Tare ingredients

  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 1 1/2 dl soy sauce
  • 1 dl mirin
  • 1/2 dl sake
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 5 splashes of fish sauce
  • 1 tsp oyster sauce

Directions for tare

Put all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a gentle boil. Stir carefully until sugar and salt have dissolved and no alcohol is left from the sake. Let it cool and pour into a jar.

To put salt in a soy sauce based tare makes you not overdo the soy sauce and so it makes a more balanced tare.

From left to right: Soy sauce, mirin, rice wine vinegar, sake, salt, sugar cubes.

Since I did not have any mushrooms or fish ingredients at home I decided to add fish sauce and oyster sauce to the tare to increase the umami profile of the ramen. 🙂

Cooling tare.

Oil

The oil in ramen adds aroma, the distinct scent of the bowl you breath in before you take your first slurp and bite. It coats the noodles and so makes them easier to eat. 😉

Oil ingredients

  • 1 dl vegetable oil (neutral oil)
  • A handful of leek or garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 dl sesame seeds
  • A splash of sesame oil

Directions for oil

Put the vegetable oil, sesame seeds and leek in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. When the leek begins to brown, turn the heat off and set aside to cool. Strain the oil into a jar. Pour in a splash of sesame oil.

Oil, sesame seeds, leek.
Bring to a gentle simmer.
As you see the edges of the leek turn slightly brown, turn off the heat and set aside to not burn the leek entirely.
Straining the oil.
And a final splash of sesame oil.

Toppings

  • Flavored egg
  • Roasted tomatoes
  • Fried tofu
  • Fried bacon (or mushrooms)
  • Fresh leek

Ajitsuke tamago means flavored egg and this is a simplified version of how to make it.

Egg ingredients

  • 2 egg
  • About 1 dl soy sauce

Directions for eggs

Make a smal hole in the egg. This lets out the air from inside the shell and so it will cook more evenly and is easier to peel afterwards.

Put the eggs in to boiling water. Cook for 5 minutes. Take them out and cool them in an ice bath (or really cold running water). Peel them and put them in a mug. Pour soy sauce over them. To cover them completely put in a paper towel.

The two eggs and the last of my soy sauce.
Luckily another paper towel saved me.
Toppings.

Tomatoes

  • Tomatoes of choice
  • A pinch of salt
  • Olive oil for the pan

Directions for tomatoes

Oil the pan, cut and put the tomatoes in the pan and sprinkle salt over them. Put them in the oven at 200°C until they have lightly browned.

Are they not beautiful? 🙂

For the other toppings

Fry the bacon and the tofu in separate pans. Cut the eggs in half. Chop up the leek.

Noodles

I did not make my own noodles. It felt enough attempting the broth, tare, oil and get decent toppings out of what I had at home. So I cooked the egg noodles I had and made sure to not cook them until completely soft since once put in the hot broth they would continue to cook some more.

Assembly

Bring the broth to boil and pour in half of the broth in each of the two bowls. Add tare little by little and taste test it until you have reached your preferred balance. Add a splash of oil.

Add the noodles, lift them up with the chopsticks and put them back down. This helps mix the soup.

Add the toppings. Eat. 🙂

Broth, tare and oil.
Soup assembled.
Soup assembled.

The feeling of finally assemble these bowls of steaming soup felt like such a victory and that I had managed to get across the first threshold. 🙂

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