Ramen 101

Did you think I'd forget? As promised, this one's dedicated to RAMEN cravings and all you ramen obsessed fans out there. After hitting up Samurai  with weekly fixes the past month or so and finding my pocket book quickly depleting, I had to attempt it at home. Knowing I needed Asian products to go with the ramen and living up north, I drove to my neighborhood Central Market iin Mill Creek. They have a very good Asian foods section, particularly authentic Japanese products.

Here's the thing ... being a working single parent, my goal was to to come up with a good tasting bowl of ramen in less than an hour.

I decided to try and use the same ingredients as the ramen bowl at Samurai, minus the all day soup boiling process and needed a good base: noodles and soup. My friend Keith (another ramen fanatic) had recommended I get the Yamachan Japanese Style Fresh Ramen noodles  as he heard that Samurai gets their noodles from Yamachan too. Good tip. Luckily, Central Market had these packets in their frozen section.

One thing I found odd was that these Yamachan noodles weren't located in the same place as the other Asian noodles (udon, other ramen brands, egg noodles, etc.). I had to walk down another aisle and locate them in the frozen section, plus they were pretty expensive - about $5 - 6 for a packet of two servings. I also picked up some pickled bamboo shoots also packaged by Yamachan and a slab of pretty pink and white  kamaboko. Ready for the cooking.

I had baked my own barbecue pork the day before and cut up the strip into slices. Then, I poached a soft boiled egg, still runny in the center, just the way I like it and set that aside. I chopped up green onions into a small dish. Now to the base: noodles and soup. Rock and roll.

I like my ramen noodles firm and so boiled a pot of water and nestled the fresh noodles in gently, separating them into the boiling water for just under 1 - 2 minutes. I could tell they were done by the sheen on the noodles and their color of dark mustard. Then, I drained the noodles and ran some warm water over them to keep them from sticking and to stop the cooking process.

Now it was construction time: noodles into the bowl, egg, barbequed pork slices, bamboo shoots, kamaboko, and green onions on top. I boiled the soup as instructed on the package, but instead of putting the boiling water into the soup base in a bowl - I took the boiled water off the stove and stirred the soup base into the pot. Note: Be sure to add more water (I added about 1/2 - 3/4 cup more) when boiling as I found the base to be on the salty side.

Finally, I poured the hot soup over the constructed ramen bowl with all the fixings. Delicious, hot, and tasty. The noodles did come out al dente and the soup hearty.

What comes out the winner in this home made version though was the barbecued pork and it stood out through the multitude of flavors. I've made this pork on occasion and used it in other dishes throughout the week, like fried rice. My kids eat the slices as appetizers too, dipped in ketchup and sesame seeds. I think this recipe is very good, and even better than the stuff you can pick up in the International District (ID). I've never been too into the red glossy, syrupy marinade on the restaurant pork.

Something about the tenderness of home made pork and the sweet, saltiness of the light marinade makes you want to take the whole slab, caveman style, and chomp it down when hungry. Wow, I think I'm getting hungry.

Here's Keith's home made ramen version (same noodles and soup base, but with more vegetables):

Now, this isn't restaurant grade ramen but hits the spot on those cold, Seattle rainy days when you don't want to make the drive into town for noodles. Pretty good and gets my thumbs up.

Barbecue Pork

3 - 4 lbs boneless pork tenderloin or shoulder pork, sliced into long strips with the grain about 2" x 2" wide and about 6" long

Mix together:
2 1/2 t salt
7 T sugar
1/4 tsp garlic powder or 1/2 t garlic salt
3 T soy sauce
1/4 tsp salt petre (optional to color the pork red, I usually omit this)

Marinate for at least 2 hours. Place pork strips in a pan about 1" apart and use all the marinade.

Bake 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes. Turn occasionally to brown evenly. Serves 4 - 6.


  1. why i have i never thought of "jazzing up" ramen? this looks amazing. i love the egg and that pork recipe - this is a keeper. on a cold winter night, i need a huge bowl of this.

  2. WANF - Thank you for your kind comments. My kids are crazy for mom's "homemade" ramen now and I cook this weekly. The BBQ pork is oh so yummy and simple to make.