In my forever endeavor to come up with more family dinners, that everyone can enjoy, I am very happy with having put a Ramen spread on the table! Not the quick packet noodle stuff, packed with flavor enhancers, and unpronounceable and recognizable ingredients. But from scratch, with all the good ingredients.
Making the dashi (broth, that is used as a base for many Japanese foods) from scratch is an added step, but the Umami that you receive from it is well worth that effort.
How to make dashi:
In 4 cups of cold water, hydrate a 1/4 ounce of dried kombu (type of Japanese seaweed). This can sit in the water for 15 minutes to overnight. Bring the water to near boiling (do not boil or the dashi will turn bitter) and then remove the kombu. Remove from heat.
Add a teaspoon of dried bonito flakes and let it sit for 5 minutes. Strain.
Taste, and add more kombu or bonito flakes. Make it to your liking.
And your dashi is ready!
Now make the Ramen:
The beauty about Ramen is personalizing it. Make it to your taste, add enjoy! This recipe can be doubled easily.
In a large stock pot, heat a teaspoon of sesame oil.
Sauté 2 teaspoons of minced ginger and garlic.
Sauté 1 cup of vegetables of your choice (I used black dried mushrooms)
Add 2 cups chicken stock and 1 cup dashi
While the soup comes to a boil, stir together, in a small bowl:
3 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 tablespoon sake (optional), 1 teaspoon mirin, 1 teaspoon sugar, Salt, to taste
Add to the soup. Mix and your Ramen soup is ready!
Boil noodles of your choice. I found these fresh Ramen noodles at my local Japanese store. Unfortunately, they told me that the manufacturer has stopped making it so I got the last batch.
Top with your favorite Ramen toppings, such as boiled eggs, thinly sliced scallions, bamboo shoots, seaweed, boiled spinach, steamed bok choy, your favorite chili sauce, or Japanese Togarashi chili flakes, a squeeze of lime, pickled ginger… I can go on and on!
Dig in, and enjoy!