Japan – The Cookbook: Ramen

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‘In Japan, there are ramen shops in every town’, says Nancy Singleton Hachisu in her introduction to this ramen recipe from ‘Japan – The Cookbook’, the new book from Phaidon. ‘Here is a home-style ramen recipe for those who want to try making their own at home.’ Her book contains over 400 simple elegant authentic recipes including soups, noodles, rices, pickles, one-pots, sweets, and vegetables. Below she explains how to make your own ramen noodles at home using a good quality plain flour that you can buy at your local supermarket – the technique is similar to making pasta.

For the broth:
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 675g weight)
2 small carrots, cut into 3cm lengths
200g small negi or fat scallions/spring onions cut into 3cm lengths
2cm piece fresh ginger, thinly sliced crosswise
1 teaspoon flaky sea salt
2 tablespoons gold sesame oil*

For the noodles:
300g best quality unbleached, all-purpose plain flour, plus more for sprinkling
2 tablespoons gold sesame oil*
2 eggs, at room temperature
2 egg yolks, at room temperature

For the salt flavourings  – choose one:
Brown rice miso
Soy sauce
Fine sea salt

For the toppings:
200g komatsuna (Japanese mustard greens), bok choy or spinach, blanched, squeezed, and chopped
3 tablespoons finely chopped negi or scallions/spring onions
3 eggs, at room temperature, boiled for 8 minutes, refreshed, peeled, and halved lengthways
1 sheet nori, cut into sixths
Rayu (chilli oil), optional
Yuzu kosho (chilli paste), optional
Shichimi (seven-spice powder), optional


Make the broth:
1. Position a rack in the centre of the oven and pre-heat to 450F/230C/Gas 8. In a large bowl, toss the chicken, carrots, negi (scallions/spring onions), and ginger with the salt. Rub with the sesame oil and dump onto a rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 35 minutes until nicely browned.

2. Scrape the roasted chicken and vegetables into a large heavy pot and add 4 litres of cold water. Bring almost to a boil over high heat, reduce to a simmer, and cook, covered, for 1 hour. Scoop out the chicken thighs and shred the meat off the bones into a medium bowl. Wet the chicken meat with a small scoop of broth. Return the bones to the pot and continue simmering the broth, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Strain into a clean medium pot and discard the bones and vegetables.

Make the noodles:

3. Meanwhile, make the noodles. Place the flour in a large bowl and drizzle in the sesame oil. Mix with your fingers until pebbly. Make a well and break in the whole egg and egg yolks. Mix with your fingers until the eggs and flour are incorporated, but the dough is still a bit crumbly. Turn out onto a work surface and knead until smooth and pliable, about five minutes. Let the dough rest for at least 30 minutes Roll the dough out using a noodle-rolling machine or Italian pasta machine, then cut the dough into thin noodles about 3mm wide. Cut those noodles into a 22cm length with a pizza cutter. Sprinkle the noodles generously with flour and toss the flour into the noodles, to help prevent sticking, but keep the noodles aligned.

4. Fill a large pot three-quarters full of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Bring the broth off to a simmer over medium-high heat and adjust to a bare simmer.

To serve the ramen

5. Prepare six large deep soup bowls (or Japanese donburi). Measure in one salt flavouring of choice per bowl either 2 tablespoons of miso, 4 teaspoons of soy sauce or 3/4 teaspoon of salt, Whisk 4 tablespoons of broth into each bowl to emulsify the flavouring.

6. Add the noodles to the boiling water and cook for two minutes. While the noodles are cooking, add about 350 ml of broth into each bowl and whisk to combine with the flavouring liquid.

7. Drain the noodles and divide the noodles among the bowls. Working quickly (so the broth does not cool), keeping each ingredient in its own area, add 2 heaping tablespoons of chicken meat, 2 heaping tablespoons greens, half a tablespoon of negi (scallion/spring onion), an egg half, and a small piece of nori.

If desired, add spice with rayu (for soy sauce ramen), yuzu kosho (for salt ramen), shichimi togarashi (for miso ramen).

* gréatfood note: Gold sesame oil is also called brown sesame or yellow sesame oil.

– You’ll find Japanese ingredients online and also at good Asian grocery stores.

– If you buy nori for this recipe, add a small piece to any broth or stock or sauce where you want to add extra umami.

– The Shichimi (seven-spice powder) listed in the ramen toppings ingredients above is really good sprinkled over fried eggs.

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Thai Red Beef Curry
Singapore Noodles (Fried Curry Noodles)
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Beef Pad Thai
Cheat’s Shepherd’s pie


You’ll find Japan at the Phaidon Book Store and at Amazon and other good book shops.

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