All About Ramen

Boulder's Amy Kimoto-Kahn shares easy-to-make at-home recipes from her book Simply Ramen.

AMY KIMOTO-KAHN is a yonsei, a fourth-generation Japanese American, wife, and mother of three who lives in Boulder, Colorado. She is a student of her family’s long history of cooking and works part-time as a personal chef. She is also the author of Simply Ramen, a complete course in preparing ramen meals at home (Race Point, 2016). Her book is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indie Bound, and Kinokuniya Book Store; and at most brick and mortar stores across Denver. All recipes and more helpful information on cooking and culture can be found on her blog at easypeasyjapanesey.com

Miso Base

Serves up to 12
Prep time: 45 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 medium-sized carrot, peeled and cut into large dice
  • 1/2 onion, peeled and cut into large dice
  • 1/2 apple, cored, peeled and cut into large dice
  • 1 celery stalk, cut into large dice
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 c. bacon fat (recommended), ghee, or coconut oil
  • 2 Tbsp. sesame oil, divided
  • 1 c. ground pork
  • 2 tsp. fresh ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. sriracha
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. kelp granules (optional, but recommended)
  • 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. ground sesame seed paste or tahini
  • 1/4 c. Shiro miso (white miso, which is lighter and sweeter)
  • 1/4 c. Akamiso miso (red miso, which is darker and saltier)
  • 2 c. low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock per serving based on the number of servings.

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Add the carrot, onion, apple, celery, and garlic to a food processor. Pulse into a fine chop. It is better to use a food processor but if you don’t have one, finely chop these ingredients by hand.
  2. Add bacon fat and 1 tablespoon of sesame oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the finely chopped mixture and cook until onions are translucent and apple is tender, stirring occasionally for 10-12 minutes. When done, turn heat down to medium-low.
  3. Add your ground pork to the cooked vegetable mixture. Cook for about 8-10 minutes until the meat is no longer pink. Stir in the ginger, sriracha, soy sauce, kelp granules, apple cider vinegar, and salt. Incorporate well.
  4. Return the entire mixture to the food processor and pulse until pork is finely ground. It is better to use a food processor, but if you don’t have one, then use a potato masher or wooden spoon to break the mixture into very small pieces in the skillet.
  5. Add the sesame seed paste and miso to the ground pork mixture and mix well. It should have the consistency of a thick paste. Your base is done.
  6. Bring the Miso Base and chicken or vegetable stock to a boil (depending on the number of people you are serving, use the ratio of 3 tablespoons Miso Base to 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock). Lower heat and let simmer until it’s ready to serve. Use about 2 cups soup per serving. Right before serving, crank the heat backup to boil the soup.
  7. Boil the noodles. If fresh, boil for about 1 minute; if packaged, boil for about 2 minutes. As soon as they’re done, drain well and separate into serving bowls.
  8. Pour 2 cups of soup over each bowl of noodles. Top each bowl with desired toppings.

Oven Broiled Karaage Curry Ramen

Serves 6
Prep time: 2 hours, plus time to make the Ramen Soup Base, Ramen Noodles (optional), Marinated Half-Cooked Egg (optional) and Garlic Chips (optional).

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 c. soy sauce
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. grated ginger
  • 1/4 c. mirin (sweet rice wine)
  • 1 lb chicken thighs
  • 1 Tbsp. sesame oil
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 c. cornstarch (I prefer katakuriko or Japanese potato starch)
  • 1 box of Golden Curry (Japanese instant curry that comes in a box)
  • 12 c. low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock

ADDITIONAL TOPPINGS:

  • 1 1/2 lemons, quartered (1 quarter slice per serving)
  • roasted sesame seeds for garnish
  • 1 bunch of arugula (Amy suggests Japanese mizuna lettuce; one small pile per serving)
  • 3 sheets nori (seaweed), quartered (2 squares per serving)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Add the soy sauce, sugar, garlic, and ginger to a small saucepan and bring to boil. Once boiling, remove from heat and add the mirin. Let cool to room temperature.
  2. Rinse and pat dry the chicken thighs and cut each piece into small bite size pieces.
  3. Add the chicken to a medium-sized bowl and cover with the marinade. Refrigerate and let marinate for at least 1 hour.
  4. Heat the sesame oil in a medium-sized skillet on medium-high heat. Add the red onion and sauté until it starts to get charred around the edges. Set aside.
  5. Set the oven rack at the top of the oven and preheat the broiler.
  6. Drain the excess marinade from the bowl of chicken and sprinkle the chicken with cornstarch until all the pieces are liberally covered.
  7. Place the chicken, so that no pieces are touching, on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  8. Broil for about 6 minutes, then flip and broil for an additional 5 minutes or until they are crispy and brown. Watch closely so they do not burn as ovens will vary.
  9. Set chicken on a wire rack to cool.
  10. Boil a pot of water for your noodles. In a separate saucepan, combine 2 cups Miso Base, 12 cups of chicken or vegetable stock, and 6 Golden Curry bouillon squares to a boil, then lower heat and let simmer until it’s ready to serve. Right before serving, crank the heat backup to boil the soup.
  11. Boil the noodles. If fresh, boil for about 1 minute; if packaged, boil for about 2 minutes. As soon as they are done, drain well and separate into serving bowls.
  12. Pour two cups of soup over each bowl of noodles. Top each bowl with 3 pieces of chicken karaage, one sliced marinated half-cooked egg, a small pile of lettuce, a small mound of sauted red onions, and fried garlic chips. Sprinkle with roasted sesame seeds and slip 2 nori squares into the broth. Right before serving, squeeze lemon juice on top.

Amy’s expert tips to prepare the perfect bowl

  • It’s important to note that you cannot make the Karaage Curry Ramen without first making the Miso Base.
  • Each of the toppings, with the exception of the charred onions, need to be premade as well.
  • The Miso Base can be refrigerated for up to a week, and frozen for up to a month.
  • Freeze your base in ice cube trays and pop them out when needed.
  • Golden Curry is a rich, thick, and instant curry that doesn’t drench the karaage to maintain its crunch. It’s all the pleasure without the guilt.
  • Did you know? Karaage is the Japanese version of fried chicken.