In this comprehensive guide we will see everything about ramen, its types, ingredients, curiosities, recipes, composition, pasta and everything you need to know about the traditional Japanese noodles in the broth that has conquered the world.
The ramen or ramen [拉麺] is a Chinese dish that has been enhanced in Japanese cuisine, with different ingredients and recipes, but maintaining the same preparation base. This noodle soup is one of the most popular and consumed dishes in Japan.
What is a ramen?
There are a multitude of types of ramens. They can have beef, seafood, miso soup, vegetables and some go further and are prepared with exotic ingredients. There is even carbonized and black ramen.
Difference between Lamen and Ramen?
Ramen or Lamen, what's the right name? - In Japan there is no letter "R", so the traditional Chinese name lámian turned ramen when being exported to Japan. There is no right or wrong, so we use both forms randomly in the text.
In English it is more common to find ramen. But we believe that ramen it's the right way in refer to the Japanese dish. Lamen, in general, refers to the way in Chinese preparation, but both are bowls of hot broth with noodles.
The name "ramen”Means stretched mass [拉] (over there) and pasta [麺] (men). He is, therefore, the protagonist of the dish. Wheat flour, egg and water, are the three basic ingredients that produce this variety of pasta.
History of ramen in Japan
Some claim that the ramen it was introduced in Japan by Chinese immigrants in the late 19th century. A simple noodle with broth and sliced pork in the Chinese style. It is not known whether this idea has been used before.
It was only at the end of World War II that the dish really became popular in Japan. The scarcity of food along with the abundance and flour of wheat and lard made thousands of restaurants in ramen to appear all over Japan.
The ramen was sold in food stalls called yatai at low prices, making it a great post-war salvation. In 1980 it was already fever with each region of Japan having its own ramen.
In Brazil the dish also became popular at that time with the immigration of Japanese to Brazil. In São Paulo there were already houses of ramen since 1950. It is a pity that it has not spread to other regions without a large concentration of Japanese.
How is ramen made?
Ramen is usually made as a spice, there are even experts who investigate ramen restaurants across the country in search of the perfect flavor. Its preparation consists of two important things, the pasta and the broth.
How is the ramen noodles?
An important feature is that it uses wheat flour as a raw material instead of buckwheat as the under the. In addition, an alkaline salt solution called brackish water is added that differs the mass from other traditional ones in Japan and the West.
Generally the ramen noodles are homemade, some use machines to cut and manufacture it, but some are entirely handmade, others are industrialized, but the real ramen factories do it at home.
Noodles can also be classified according to thickness as “thin noodles”, “medium thin noodles”, “medium thick noodles”, “thick noodles” and the like. Crimping of pasta is also considered.
The main dough is usually based on wheat flour, salt and water, where the shapes change in thickness and texture. You can also use hosomen (thinner), only (made with only wheat and water), under the (made with buckwheat) and udon (thicker).
If you are interested, we recommend reading the article on types of japanese noodles.
How is the lamen soup?
The soup of ramen is called “suupu”[スープ]. Soup is a very important factor that determines the flavor of ramen, and most lamen they use elaborate and time-consuming soup. The soup is usually made with several ingredients.
Vegetables, soy sauce, bonito flakes and flakes, chicken bones, pork, beef, shavings and seaweed, vegetables, leeks, ginger and garlic are generally used. Everything will depend on the type of ramen, but the possibilities are great.
The sauce to be seasoned has a fragrance that floats and changes flavor when heated for a long time, so the dashi and the sauce are prepared separately. There are also commercial soups that allow you to speed up this sauce production process.
Basic aromatic spices (miso, salt, soy sauce), spices and seasonings (sugar, salt, umami, mirin, sake, vinegar) and other ingredients (vegetables, seaweed, fruits, a mixture of paste and powder or extract are also used) of meat).
Flavoring oil that emphasizes richness and umami can also be used. Garlic-based oils, spicy oils, lard, chicken oil, shrimp oil, vegetable oils with strong characteristics such as olives and sesame, herbs and flavors.
Differences between lamen and noodles
Noodles is an industrial instant noodle that promises to bring the flavor of lamen to your home. The truth is that even though it is very popular, Miojo is far away when it comes to ramen which is handmade pasta.
The ramen artisanal takes hours and hours to get ready, while Miojo is made in just 5 minutes. and even if we put ingredients in the Miojo, it will never even come close to a ramen.
The ramen it has a totally different texture, aroma and flavor, a completely unique sauce and not that sachet of spice that comes with instant noodles. Not even the Cup Noodles comes close to a ramen.
There are lamen that take about 20 hours to get ready. A professional ramen cook needs to graduate if he wants to do a lamen Perfect. Never! Never compare one lamen with noodles.
Types of Ramen
There are types of lamen found in different restaurants. Although each place has its own unique flavor, we can categorize the main ones as:
Shoyu ramen [醤油ラーメン] or soy sauce soup lamen is considered the basic flavor of ramen. Depending on the broth that is combined, it is divided into a wide range of types, from light and refreshing colored soups to thick and cloudy soups.
There are many types of ramen that reflect regional characteristics, since soup broth based on seafood and soy sauce are sometimes boiled along with mirin. It is tasty without being cloying. One of the main types of ramen in Japan and the most balanced.
The soup broth is made by boiling chicken and other ingredients for several hours, but there are several ramen stores that also use pork or beef bones as ingredients for the soup broth. Most local ramens are based on soy sauce.
The shio ramen [塩ラーメン] has the broth based on salt. But don’t imagine that he is the simplest than the others. Although salt is its base, the flavor goes far beyond and the amount of ingredients too.
The characteristics of the soup broth are more likely to appear than in the lamen of soy sauce, because the sauce itself has a lighter flavor than the others, your soup is not cloudy because it does not boil as strongly as the others.
The soup is usually seasoned with chicken sauce and pork bones. As the name says, its base is salt, so expect something salty, but nothing that Brazilians are not used to. Some add pepper and even soy sauce.
The miso ramen [味噌ラーメン] or miso soup lamen is characterized by miso perfume and more depth in the broth. There are several types of miso, there are many that have a rich flavor, others even use roasted miso.
The miso ramen was invented in Sapporo in 1955 by Morito Omiya, the owner of Aji no Sanpei restaurant in Sapporo. It is very likely that others miso ramen arose in Japan without the influence of Sapporo.
Other Ramen Classifications
We saw the top 3 classifications of lamen from Japan, but there are many other types that we will briefly summarize. It is also worth mentioning that ramen can be classified by ingredients, meat and even the type of broth (we saw the base of the broth).
White hot water soup 額隠 – 神秘的日本白布 paitan [パイタン] - It has a cloudy color and can be used pork or chicken, along with vegetables and fish bones. The white broth is called sayu [白湯] while traditional broth shoyu [清湯].
Soup broth - jingtan [チンタン] - Dashi soup without clouding, egg white is used to remove clouding. It usually has a more refreshing taste compared to white hot water soup broth.
Curry soup - karedashi [カレー出汁] - Stores specializing in curry ramen often use spices to combine with curry. Many have claimed the creation of the broth of lamen the base of curry, but its origin is uncertain.
Remembering that the soups and broths above are used together with base broth that can be salt, soy sauce or miso. There are other types of ramen or pasta recipes that can be mentioned below:
TanTan Men - Lamen originated in China, well seasoned, for those who like stronger and more spicy flavors. Tanmen is a salty noodle soup made by boiling soup and noodles along with other base ingredients.
Tsuke Men - Ramen where the pasta is served separately and you have to dip it in the thick sauce while eating.
- Chāshūmen [チャーシュー麺] noodles with too much chāshū, pieces of toasted pork;
- Wantanmen [ワンタン麺] wonton pasta popular in other countries;
- Paakoomen [パーコー麺] with fried ribs or fried meat, some serve cooked ribs;
- Chanponmen [チャンポン麺] made of fried meat and vegetables with eggs;
- Amatsumen [天津麺] made with crab balls served with thick bean paste;
- Gomokumen [五目麺] from the Kanto region that uses various ingredients;
- Kantonmen [広東麺 uses Cantonese noodles;
Typical Ramen Toppings
In addition to the broth and pasta, we have other traditional ingredients that are present in almost every dish of ramen, see below a list of main ingredients that serve as toppings for lamen:
Menma (fermented bamboo shoots)
Menma are fermented bamboo shoots. Its pleasant crispness provides an additional textural element when eating ramen. Some restaurants also make their own menma.
CharSiu (pork slices)
Charsiu or chāshū they are slices of roasted or cooked pork, usually seasoned with soy sauce. It is one of the main ingredients that attracts the attention of carnivores and is present in most ramen dishes.
Kamaboko and Naruto (fish cakes)
Naruto-maki are steamed cakes made from processed fish paste, shaped like a swirl when cut into cross sections. It is said that its name is due to the swirls that form in the Strait of Naruto, in the prefecture of Tokushima.
These fish cakes are also called kamaboko or surimi and can have different shapes and colors, but naruto is the most common to be used. It's the same as that kani that we found in Brazil.
Moyashi (bean sprouts)
These edible legumes are grown artificially without being exposed to sunlight, creating vegetables rich in nutrients like vitamin C. bean sprouts western Japan are thin and long, while eastern and northern Japan are thick and crunchy.
Wakame and Nori (kelp)
Nori they are thin and edible leaves of seaweed. Its crunchy texture and aroma are also used in sushi. They provide a high content of minerals and nutrients and a smell of the sea. If you want to know more, we have a nori article.
Wakame is a variety of kelp that is quickly boiled and used as a topping for ramen. O wakame it has a firm texture, pleasant fragrance and high nutritional value. There is also the kuki wakame ramen, which uses wakame stalks as a cover.
Beni-shoga (pickled ginger)
Beni-shoga, or pickled ginger, is indispensable in any bowl of tonkotsu ramen, providing a layer of contrasting flavor. Ginger is preserved in salt, or dried in the sun and then in plum vinegar.
Kikurage (sliced mushrooms)
These black mushrooms grow on fallen trees and dead branches from spring to autumn. They are eaten mainly in East Asia and as a topping for bowls of ramen in Japan.
In addition to the Japanese ingredients mentioned, we also have:
- Boiled eggs;
Products to make Lamen
Before making your ramen recipe, you need to have the necessary ingredients. Some can be purchased from Amazon Brazil. I will also leave even some original Japanese ramens, which are far superior to the Brazilian noodles.
Lamen Gourmet - Learn how to make your Ramen
Ramen recipe you will find in droves on the internet, but it is difficult to make a perfect ramen like ramen restaurants in Japan. It is also very difficult to find a lamen restaurant in most cities in Brazil.
With this in mind, the Lamen Gourmet course was created, which teaches the creation of professional ramen for own consumption or to set up your own restaurant, or to increase the menu of your sushibar. Whatever your intention, we recommend Lamen Gourmet!
The Lamen Gourmet course will teach you how to make the 5 most popular types of ramens in Japan. You will learn how to make Shio Lamen, Shoyu Lamen, Misso Lamen, Tantan Lamen and Tsukemen.
The course will teach you step by step from the choice of ingredients, the initial preparations and the ideal accompaniments. As a freebie he will still teach you how to make the famous karaague, unique Japanese fried chicken.
Ramen is not as easy to prepare as some might think. Sometimes hours are spent preparing ingredients, not to mention the difficulty of finding such ingredients. That's why we recommend accessing Lamen Gourmet using the button below:
Ramen Missô recipe
Making a ramen is not an easy task. Some specialize years to prepare the perfect lamen. Making a ramen can be more complicated than becoming a sushiman, so you might want to learn with a course Lamen Gourmet.
I recently went on to invent making my own ramen. When searching the internet I came across several different recipes, so I kind of ended up inventing my own recipe using the ingredients I had here.
If you want the right measures of suggested ingredients, right after this recipe we will mention a recipe by Shoyu Ramen. You can follow it as a base because both are similar. I will try to explain in my words how I did it.
First I fried the miso paste with ground beef (pork is recommended) until it was very consistent, then I added water and other seasonings such as onion, hondashi, ajinomoto and a little shoyu to taste.
I cooked this broth for more than half an hour, it ended up evaporating a lot, but its taste reminded me a lot of the traditional Japanese ramens. The rest is to put the broth in the cooked pasta and add the ingredients that embellish the dish.
I had no pork slice, nori, nor naruto or other traditional ingredients to add to the lamen. I just put slices of boiled egg and a kibbeh (lol). Still, it was a simple, easy and delicious recipe. If you don't have the ingredients, make it up!
What really matters in the taste of ramen is the cooking time of the broth. So there are restaurants that boil the broth for hours and hours, others even leave the broth black, but as incredible as it seems the taste is delicious and nothing related to something burnt.
Shoyu ramen recipe
Now let's leave a recipe for you to try to prepare the most common type of ramen based on soy sauce:
Ingredients for the paste:
- 1/4 onion
- 4 whole garlic cloves
- 1 chive stalk
- 4 slices of ginger
- 1 celery stalk
- 7 tablespoons of Sake Mirin Kenko
- 3 tablespoons of Sakura Light
- 3 tablespoons of Kenko Sesame Oil
- 1 tablespoon of Kenko Sushi Seasoning
- 2 tablespoons of chicken powder
- 1 tablespoon of salt
- Black pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon of powdered fish stock
- 20 g lard
Ingredients for the broth:
- 3 cups of tea
- 1 tablespoon of powdered fish stock
- 1 tablespoon of Sakura Light
- 1 tablespoon of salt
- Black pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons of the paste
Ingredients for assembly:
- 200g of pasta for cooked lamen
- Chopped chives to taste
- Sliced kamaboko (fish paste) to taste
- Boiled egg cut in half to taste
- Wakame (seaweed) to taste
- Moyashi (bean sprouts) to taste
- Burnt chives (chives fried in a little oil) to taste
1 - To prepare the paste, mix in a blender: onion, garlic, chives, ginger, celery, Sake Mirin Kenko, Sakura Light, Kenko Sesame Oil, Kenko Sushi Seasoning, chicken stock, salt, black pepper and fish stock . Then bring this mixture to the fire, add the lard and boil for 5 minutes or until the broth is consistent, a paste. Reserve.
2 - To prepare the broth, in a pan heat the water, add the fish broth, Sakura Light, salt, black pepper and paste. Mix until dissolved. Turn off the heat and set aside.
In a large, deep bowl, arrange the pasta while still hot, add the hot broth and finish with chives, kamaboko, boiled egg, wakame, moyashi and burnt chives. Serve immediately.
Finally, let's leave the recipe video below:
How to eat Lamen?
There is a whole culture behind the consumption of noodles in Japan, you need to suck the noodles and make a loud noise to show that you are enjoying the dish. Of course it is not to swallow the pasta, chew and enjoy the flavor.
Usually the bowl of lamen comes with chopsticks to get the pasta and with a spoon to take the soup together and other ingredients like egg. You can also take the lamen broth straight from the bowl with no problem.
Eating lamen consists of enjoying a little of the pasta, the broth and the ingredients that cover the dish. If you are a tsukemen macaroni and broth is served in separate bowls. Just dip in the broth the amount of pasta you will put in your mouth.