When I visited Japan for my first time ever, aside from loving the country and their people, I had an amazing food experience. One in particular is when I tasted miso ramen from a small, family-owned restaurant. The taste was incredible and like nothing I’ve ever had before. In fact, I loved this soup so much that I promised myself that I’ll try my best to learn how to make it on my own with the same explosive flavors.
So, I finally got the chance to make miso ramen in my home and to my surprise, it came out amazingly delicious. I am mostly happy that now, I don’t have to wait for 2 hours to be seated every time I want good miso ramen in San Francisco. Now, I can make it any time I want and enjoy the amazing flavors of Japan in the comfort of my own home. Now, I’m excited to share this recipe with you so you can do the same.
This recipe is my Pork Miso Ramen and, even though it looks complex, it is actually very easy to make. This ramen recipe will awaken your 5th taste receptor known as umami. In addition to your basic tastes (sweet, salty, bitter and sour) umami is the taste described as “savory.” One way you get this flavor is in one very important step of the recipe I want to point out: soaking the kombu.
This soaking is the most important step because the amino acid glutamate comes out of the kombu and gets dissolved in the water. When mixed with the naturally occurring sodium in the kombu, guess what you get? Monosodium glutamate, otherwise known as MSG. This is where the umami flavor comes from and you extract it yourself naturally. If you want to learn more about umami and MSG, watch my video series about the myths and truths of MSG.
Pork Miso Ramen
Serving Size: 4
For the Dashi:
60 g kombu
6 cups of loosely packed bonito flakes
12 cups of water
For the Miso Broth:
8 dry shiitake mushrooms
2 teaspoon Minced ginger
2 teaspoon of minced garlic
½ cup of white miso paste
¼ cup light soy sauce
1 teaspoon of MSG
For the Ramen:
1 pound cooked ramen noodles
For the Toppings per serving:
1 stalk of chopped green onions
½ cup raw spinach
1 soft boiled egg, cut in half
3 oz of sliced cooked pork tenderloin which is a lean cut of pork
½ cup raw Bean sprouts
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
- For the dashi, make cuts in the kombu and soak it in water for at least 30 minutes. If you have more time, you can soak it for longer. I soaked mine for at last 4 hours.
- After soaking, slowly bring to a boil over medium low heat. Just before boiling, you will see bubbles on the edges of the pan, this is when you remove the kombu.
- Add the bonito flakes and bring to a boil again. Once the dashi is boiling, reduce the heat and simmer for 30 seconds and turn off the heat. Let the bonito flakes sink to the bottom which will take about 10 minutes.
- Strain the dashi into a bowl. With your hands, squeeze the ingredients to make sure you get every last drop of dashi. Don’t waste this beautiful stock.
- For the miso broth, soak the mushrooms for at least 4 hours. Add to the dashi stock: mushrooms, ginger, garlic, white miso paste, light soy sauce and season with MSG. Cook for an additional 10 minutes.
- For the ramen noodles, follow the instructions on your package to cook the noodles.
- For the pork tenderloin, thinly slice 1 pound of pork and saute in 1 tbsp of sesame oil.
- In a serving bowl, add 4 oz of ramen noodles and pour miso both on top. Add the toppings.
Note: The toppings are flexible. You can follow the amounts given to you in this recipe, but you can also omit and add new ones as you wish.