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Friday, November 07, 2008

Shio (Japanese Salt) Ramen

After eating at Santouka - Costa Mesa and Daikokuya Original Noodle & Rice-Bowl, I really wanted to try making my own ramen.

Shio (Japanese Salt) Ramen 1

I mean from scratch, not the instant packets. Now, my version is nowhere near as good as either of the ramen shops, but I think I did pretty well for my first attempt. I couldn't really find any recipes online, so I made this up on my own. I tried to keep it really simple by just making a salt pork broth. Next time, I think I'll experiment a bit and add dried tiny fish, seaweed, daikon, and ginger.

From what I remember of the ramen shops, they all had huge vats and kept the liquid at a roiling boil. Unlike Pho Bo (Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup), where the bones are kept at a low simmer for a clear broth, the turbulent liquid for ramen turns the broth milky. Get double the size of pot that you'll need because you'll lose a good portion of broth to evaporation.

I garnished the ramen simply with a hard-boiled egg and bamboo shoots. I decided to just use my standard Char Siu (Chinese Barbecued Pork) recipe, although later I experimented and made fabulous fall-apart tender Buta No Kakuni (Japanese Braised Pork).

Final verdict? Not bad for homemade ramen, but nowhere near as good as the pros. As it should be, for if making real ramen was simple, then they'd be out of business. ;)

Shio (Japanese Salt) Ramen 2

Shio (Japanese Salt) Ramen

For a 10-quart stock pot (You'll lose about half to evaporation), you'll need:
4 lbs Pork bones
1 tblsp Salt

For serving, you'll need:
Fresh ramen noodles, boiled and drained
Char siu (Chinese barbecued pork) or Buta No Kakuni (Japanese Braised Pork)
Hard-boiled eggs, simmered in extra char siu marinade with 1/2 cup water for flavor
Dried bamboo shoots, soaked and boiled to soften
Scallions, chopped
Nori seaweed

Optional: Add to the stock dried kelp, 1 daikon, 1/4 cup small dried fish, 1 knob ginger, or apples.

Choose soup bones that have joints and cartilage for maximum flavor. Bring the pot of water to a boil and add the bones and keep it boiling for about 10 minutes. Then dump out all the bones and liquid into a colander. Rinse the bones to remove blood and other impurities.

Clean the pot, fill it with water again. When the pot boils, add the bones and 1 tblsp of salt. Keep the pot on medium-high for at least 3 hours. I did twice as long. You want the stock to boil so that the flavor can be extracted from the bones and turn the liquid milky, like what you see below. Add the optional ingredients if you wish. Taste and adjust if necessary.

Shio (Japanese Salt) Ramen 3

The only fresh ramen I could find at the time was this package of pale noodles.

Shio (Japanese Salt) Ramen 4

I used dried bamboo shoots, but fresh bamboo shoots would work as well. Just soak the dried bamboo in water to soften, then quickly immerse in the ramen broth or quickly boil with the noodles to soften before serving.

Shio (Japanese Salt) Ramen 5

Assemble all your ingredients like char siu, hard-boiled eggs, ramen noodles, and bamboo shoots. I saved some of the Chinese barbecued pork marinade, added water to loosen it up, and simmered the hard-boiled eggs in it to absorb the flavor.

Shio (Japanese Salt) Ramen 6

My second time, I remembered the scallions, but forgot the seaweed. Still, the scallions added a nice spot of color, no?

Shio (Japanese Salt) Ramen 7


Has anyone else made their own ramen broth? Any tips for me?

My other ramen recipes:
Mapo Tofu Ramen
Shichimenchou (Japanese Turkey Bone) Ramen
Torigara Shoyu (Japanese Soy Sauce Chicken) Ramen

1 year ago today, musings as I drove westbound along Los Angeles downtown traffic.


  1. Hi Wc - Very nice.....you sure went through a lot of trouble.

  2. Kirk,
    Awww, man, no tips for me? I want a broth with lots of depth. This was a bit one-dimensional for flavor.

  3. I have always wanted to try making our own ramen broth. I'll be following your ramen series closely.

    (Yeah, it's kind of strange that we haven't seen any recipes for broths, even online.)

  4. You must have cooked it a long time! Maybe pressure cooker? It works for us when cooking soups that need to be cooked for a long time (so the bone releases its flavors). However our pressure cooker, even though a pretty expensive brand (Fagor..got it at Marshalls though!), will explode liquid all over if we don't keep watch.

    Cha siu looks nice and yummy! Looks like there is some fat on top of the meat as well.

  5. JS,
    I wonder if homemade ramen is a closely guarded secret, or if no one bothers trying to make their own?

    I don't own a pressure cooker. My cast iron pots do a pretty good job of retaining heat and cutting down on cooking times so that's good enough for me.


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