Ginger Chicken Ramen
Prep time: 45 minutes, plus time to make Ramen Soup Base and Ramen Noodles (optional)
It’s definitely not for everyone, but when ginger shines as the star flavor of a dish, I’m a fan. You can increase or reduce the amount as you please but you know where I stand. The crispy green beans, just-cooked shoyu egg scramble, and shredded carrots balance the intensity of the ginger, especially when mixed into the soup. It’s always easiest to freeze your ginger before grating.
To Make in Advance
Shoyu Base (page 8) or your base of choice Ramen Noodles (page 13)
What You'll Need
Serves up to 12
Prep time: 8–10 hours, plus 30 minutes to strain
If you’ve made my Tonkotsu Base (page 5), then you have a basic shoyudare, or strong soy sauce flavor base, with which you can combine any stock or fat to make a simple shoyu ramen. This recipe combines the stock, shoyudare, and fat into one. (Please see Rameducate Yourself on page 152 to learn about the three components of all ramen.)
With this recipe, I’ve slow-cooked oxtail sections within my broth in a good crock pot, which helps render the fat from the bones without having to constantly stir. You could also make this in a slow cooker, large Dutch oven, or heavy-duty pot. The oxtail adds a meaty goodness and complexity to the fat component that complements the soy sauce. You’ll have to go to an Asian market to find dashi, or Japanese stock, which comes in granular form—there are many varieties to choose from, so just make sure to pick one that has bonito fish as the primary ingredient. It’s also important to have dried shiitake mushrooms, as they’ll give a more intense flavor to the soup than fresh ones. The final soup will taste overly salty, but when the noodles are added in, they will soak up the sauce and balance it out.
What You'll Need
Prep time: 3 hours
There’s no getting around the fact that making every element of ramen from scratch is a lot of work. The good news is that almost all the components—the fat; the tare, or highly flavored season component; the broth; the toppings; and the noodles—can be made over the course of several days. If you make these ahead of time, then when you’re ready to assemble your ramen, it can be done relatively quickly. These noodles can be wrapped in individual portions and frozen for up to one month. You will need a pasta machine, and I’d recommend using an electric mixer with a dough hook, unless you want to develop Popeye forearms.... Remember, there are lots of other, easier noodle alternatives that are perfectly fine. Any of the following will work, just throw out those salty flavor packets:
If you do venture down the homemade noodle path, then keep this in mind: a perfect noodle has a yellow hue, should be cooked al dente, and have a chewy and elastic, yet firm texture that holds up to the soup without getting soggy, all the way until the very last slurp.
What You'll Need
How to Make “Baked Baking Soda”
Baked baking soda replaces a Japanese ingredient known as kansui that is often difficult to find and that gives ramen noodles their signature yellow hue and firmness. Harold McGee, the king of kitchen science, discovered that by baking baking soda, you could get the same effect as the kansui. Spread 1⁄4 cup (55 g) baking soda on a foil-lined baking sheet and place it in an oven preheated to 275˚F (135˚C) for 1 hour. As this recipe only calls for 2 teaspoons, you can save the remainder in a zip-top bag. Just fold up the baking soda in the foil to make it easier to put in a storage bag.