The ultimate ramen for a light and nourishing dinner
Sliced chicken or pork with half a boiled egg is my favourite variation
Ramen is one of those dishes that is much loved and incredibly popular. There are so many different recipes for Japanese ramen and so many variations. My favourite is sliced chicken or pork with half a boiled egg. I can’t decide if I love the addition of an egg for the taste or the look.
The key to making ramen at home for me has been preparation. Making a big batch of stock in advance has been key and has taken all the time-consuming elements out of ramen making. When the weather is nice, I dread making stock. It’s fine to have a big pot of bones simmering for hours on the hob when it’s driving rain outside, but come summer days I love assembling dishes rather than having something cooking for hours.
But stock is worth it. Fresh baby vegetables lightly simmered in broth with a handful of fresh herbs makes a light and nourishing dinner.
I make a huge pot of stock with plenty of vegetable peelings then strain the stock and place it into jars with a few thick slices of ginger, turmeric, lime leaves and a few stalks of coriander. As the stock cools it takes on all of these flavours and then you can pop it in the fridge or freezer for later use. Gently reheat and add your ramen ingredients and dinner is ready in less than 15 minutes.
A quick shortcut for this soup had been to use Skeaghanore smoked chicken breast. It is produced by the Hickey family in Ballydehob by hot smoking chicken gently over oak. The taste is incredible as the soft smokiness gently flavours the broth. We use one chicken breast for two generous servings.
My second key ingredient for this soup is miso. I really love miso soup and pastes. They are so convenient and add that savoury umami flavour to dishes. Having a pouch of quality miso paste in the fridge can transform rice dishes and add body to a basic broth.
The sachets of miso soup are revelatory too. I’ve never been one for packet soups, avoiding golden vegetable saltiness and cubes of dehydrated MSG, but organic miso sachets are different. I usually get the sea vegetables or tofu version from my local health store.
SMOKED CHICKEN RAMEN
1 litre good quality chicken stock
3 thick slices ginger
4 lime leaves
3 star anise
1 sachet of miso soup with sea vegetables, or similar
1 smoked chicken breast, or cooked chicken breast
4 spring onions
¼ of a head of broccoli, broken into florets (or use asparagus, or a mixture of both)
1/8 of a whole red cabbage, finely shredded
2tbsp coriander leaves
1 Pour the stock into a large pan and bring to a simmer with the ginger, star anise and lime leaves. Add the sachet of miso and stir. Leave to simmer on low.
2 Cook the noodles according to packet instructions: usually simmer for 3-4 minutes. I place the broccoli in a steamer over the noodles so it cooks at the same time.
3 Boil the egg for four minutes then set aside in cold water. Peel and cut in half horizontally.
4 Place the whole spring onions on a large dry frying pan and dry fry until smoky and charred.
5 Cut the chicken breast into thick slices. Place the chicken on the pan while the spring onion cooks, to warm through. Keep warm.
6 Finely slice the red cabbage. Set aside.
7 When it’s time to assemble the dish, make a nest of noodles in each bowl. Add the sliced chicken breast, broccoli, spring onions, red cabbage and coriander. Ladle over the hot broth, top each serving with half an egg and serve right away.