For me, ramen is one of the ultimate comfort foods. Whenever I feel a little under the weather, this recipe is my go-to cure. Many traditional dishes around the world have harnessed the natural goodness of a good homemade broth. These recipes, centred around a wholesome, nutrient-loaded broth, do wonders for the body, strengthening the immune system, aiding digestion and alleviating symptoms of many ailments. One such traditional dish is the ramen, a noodle soup, revered in its native Japan.
Ramen can take many forms, from tonkotsu (pork bone broth) to shio (salt); there are a number of varieties. Here, however, I have based my ramen on possibly the newest variety, miso, also often known as Sapporo. Miso is undoubtedly one of my favourite ingredients. This fermented bean paste has a delicious umami flavour which works wonderfully in a ramen. As well as adding deep flavour to the broth, miso also brings its own host of health benefits. Not only does it contain healthy doses of vitamin E, vitamin B12, but it is also a traditional probiotic.
Topped with a piece of sustainably sourced protein (be it chicken, pork or fish. as I have done here) and filled with a bunch of greens, ramen can very quickly become not only a delicious soup, but a very nutrient rich meal.
INGREDIENTS Makes two big bowls of steaming ramen
2 nests of ramen noodles
1 litre good quality, preferably homemade, hot chicken stock
For the egg:
1 free-range egg
200ml soy sauce
For the miso base:
2tbsp white sweet miso
1 red chilli, deseeded
2 spring onions
1 small piece of peeled ginger
1tbsp dark soy sauce or tamari
For the fish:
2 fillets of sustainably sourced salmon
1tsp dark soy sauce or tamari
1tbsp sweet white miso
black sesame seeds
thinly shredded spring onions and chives
shredded greens, I used char sui but bok/pak choi would work equally as well
thinly sliced shallots fried in a little oil until crispy.
At least a couple of hours before, or even the night before, prepare your egg. Cover the egg in boiling water and simmer for 6 minutes exactly, no more, no less. Run under cold water until completely cold. Remove the shell from the egg. Cover with the soy sauce and leave to soak for at least a couple of hours.
To make the miso base for the stock, blitz all of the ingredients together in a food processor until you are left with a smooth, dark paste.
Mix together the soy sauce, miso and honey for the fish. Brush this on to your salmon fillets and put them into a hot oven (at around 200ºC) for roughly 10 minutes, depending on the size of your fillets.
Pour boiling hot water over your noodles. Cover, and leave them for roughly 5 minutes.
Get all of your toppings and other ingredients laid out at this stage...you are now ready to finish the dish.
Place 1 tablespoon of the miso base into each of your two bowls. Pour over the hot stock and whisk thoroughly until completely blended. Check the taste of the broth; you may want to add a little more miso.
Divide the noodles between the two bowls. Carefully slice the egg in half, the yolk should be beautifully runny and the edge of the white stained by the soy. Top each of your bowls with half an egg and a salmon fillet sprinkled with black sesame seeds. Finally finish with the corn, shallots, greens, beansprouts, spring onions and chives.
Grab your chopsticks and dig in...
Words and recipe by by Nicola Richman