A good bowl of ramen is a three-part experience for me: a filing and satisfying meal, an emotional restorative, and a pork-scented steam facial. I have been lucky enough to live in Vancouver, a city with a ramen district housing at least ten different tiny restaurants serving incredible ramen, as well as a scattering of other shops throughout the city. The proximity to Japan and Vancouver’s large Asian population keeps these ramen shops up to date and authentic. Well, let’s use authentic loosely, as ramen has been a bit of a mash-up since the beginning.
Now that I live in a small town in Germany, a good bowl of fresh ramen is only going to happen if I make it. So, of course, I had to try. I took as inspiration my favourite Vancouver ramen: the Tori Shio at Benkei Noodle Shop. This is pretty lightweight when it comes to ramen: a chicken broth as opposed to fatty pork, lean slices of chicken breast, spinach, a smattering of corn, and the noodles. But it’s my favourite. So my at-home version is chicken-based too, and uses ingredients you can find in most big grocery stores.
I often make dinners with how I’ll use the leftovers in the back of my mind, and generally this means they’re going into my ramen. Roasted root vegetables, brussel sprouts, fried onions – these are all good. This is a favourite post-roast chicken meal. My Instant Pot is my best friend here – it makes generating both the broth and the ramen-style soft-boiled egg super quick.
- 1 chicken carcass
- 4 litres of water
- 5 slices of fresh ginger
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed with the flat side of a knife
- 2 tbsp mirin
Pressure cooker instructions
- Put chicken carcass, water, ginger, garlic, and mirin in your pressure cooker, set for 90 minutes on high pressure.
- Use quick release, open your pressure cooker and strain out the bones and other bits. Jar up your broth and refrigerate, or set aside.
Slow cooker or stovetop directions
- Put chicken carcass, water, ginger, garlic, and mirin in a large pot, and put on medium high heat, bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and let it go for as long as possible – four hours is ideal. If using a slow cooker, set to 8 hours on low.
- Strain and bottle up, refrigerate or set side to use immediately.
Make your ramen
- 1 litre of ramen broth
- 2 packages of ramen noodles, sauce and broth packets discarded
- Salt to taste
Toppings, any or all of the following
- Soft-boiled ramen egg (great pressure cooker instructions here)
- Corn kernels
- Pan-fried cabbage
- Roasted brussel sprouts
- Roasted squash
- Crispy fried onions
- Cooked chicken breast slices
- Bring the ramen broth to a boil, and then add the noodles, following cooking directions. Pull the noodles out with tongs into big bowls, then divide the broth between the bowls.
- Add your toppings, slice ramen egg in half before placing on top of noodles if using.
Recipe note: I don’t add salt to my broth as I’m using a carcass from a roast chicken I’ve made myself which I salt generously. I like adding salt to my ramen right before serving so I can really taste it. Feel free to add salt to the process wherever you want though.