A few weeks ago, Nick and I celebrated our five year anniversary. And to commemorate the milestone in our relationship, we decided to take a long weekend trip to NYC to see all the sights, smells and flavors the city has to offer. On our first night there we stopped at Tototo Ramen – and Nick has not stopped asking me to make ramen for dinner at home since. So finally to appease his request, I tried to recreate the exact ramen we ate in New York City.
One of the best parts about ramen, apart from it being super delicious, is that it is relatively quick and simple to make and customize. Plus, it’s like, super filling and packed with protein. If made correctly, it’s probably not that bad for you either.
The ramen we ate in NYC was thick with mushrooms, bamboo shoots, onions and ginger, so I started with those as my base. Then I added in minced ginger, garlic and shredded carrots for another level of sweet flavor.
Despite all my searching, I was unable to find dashi, an essential ingredient to authentic ramen. So I decided to improvise to achieve that same umami effect created by combining a few things. First, I used a splash of rice vinegar to add some tanginess to the veggies already in the pot. This also effectively “deglazes” the pot – so be sure to scrape up any brown bits that come up in this phase.
Dashi is used as a base for soups like traditional Japanese clear soup or miso. Both of those things were readily available at my grocery, so I grabbed a packet of clear soup powder as a compromise. Honestly, I think this was the best solution to not having real dashi, as the ramen broth definitely tasted very close to what we had in NYC.
When it comes to the pork, there are two ways you can go about making it. Because I was running late on my way home from work, I had Nick sous vide a pork loin (I’m so proud that he knew what I wanted him to do when I asked him to do this part for me!) in preparation. If you’re wondering, I sous vide the pork loin for about 1.5 hours at 145 F.
Alternatively if sous vide isn’t your style, you can sear the pork in the bottom of the pot you plan on making the ramen in first, then add it back in at the end and simmer until it is cooked through, which will probably be an hour or two. However you do it, both methods lead to tender, juicy pork.
I quickly seared my sous vide pork loin, right before cutting it into chops for our bowls of ramen. In NYC, they served two or three large slices of pork loin in our bowls – so much I could barely eat it all.
Adding the noodles is the last step to ramen. Traditionally, ramen noodles are dried in squares which quickly rehydrate when submerged in broth. However, there are instant noodles that come in packages where they are already softened and only take about 30 seconds to reheat.
You can also add poached or soft boiled eggs to ramen, which personally are my favorite parts about ramen! In NYC our eggs were soft boiled, but it’s not unheard of to add poached eggs instead. If you make soft boiled eggs, you can make those up to a day ahead of time. Or if you are making ramen on the fly, you can poach the eggs in the broth just prior to serving.
Regardless of what you put in your bowl of ramen, your bound to end up with something delicious. I garnished our at-home ramen with spicy microgreens, green onions, sambal olek and sesame seeds for an authentic touch. Now that we know how simple ramen is to make at home, I think I’ll be making Nick cook it for himself the next time he requests it!
One Pot Ramen
- 16 oz pork loin
- 4 eggs
- 4 packages ramen or udon noodles
- 1 cup mushrooms sliced thin
- 1 cup red onion chopped
- ½ cup bamboo shoots sliced
- 3 tablespoons ginger minced
- 3 tablespoons garlic minced
- ¼ cup carrots shredded
- 1 package Japanese clear soup base
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 4 cups seafood stock
- 3 green onions chopped
- 3 tablespoons sesame oil
- sambal olek for topping
- spicy microgreens for topping
- ice water bath for eggs
- Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add the eggs and boil for 4-5 minutes for runny yolks, 5-6 minutes for soft yolks, 7-8 minutes for hard yolks. Immediately transfer the eggs to the ice water bath to stop the cooking process. Drain the pot of water and dry completely.
- Place the large pot back over high heat. Add two tablespoons of sesame oil. Sear the pork loin on all sides until golden brown – about 3-4 minutes per side. Remove the pork from the pot and set aside (it will not be cooked through).
- Add the remaining tablespoon of sesame oil to the pot. Toss in the red onions and mushrooms and saute until the mushrooms have darkened. Then add the bamboo shoots, carrots, ginger and garlic. Add the thick white ends of the chopped green onion. Cook until everything has softened up, about five minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Pour in the rice vinegar and scrape up any brown bits. Sprinkle the clear soup base over the veggies and then pour in the fish stock. Stir until everything is combined.
- Place the seared pork loin into the soup. Continue to simmer for about one hour, or until the pork loin reaches and internal temperature of 145 F – 165 F. While the pork cooks, peel the eggs and set aside to use when ready to serve. Remove the pork from the soup and set on a cutting board to rest for five minutes.
- Add the noodles to the soup and stir until they've softened and cooked, about one minute for instant noodles, about 5-8 minutes for udon or authentic ramen. Slice the pork into 1/2 inch thick pieces and add to the soup. Season the soup with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Place a cooked egg in each bowl (whole or sliced in half). Add a few slices of pork to each bowl then pour in the broth, noodles, and veggies. The the soup warm up the eggs before serving (rest about two minutes). Garnish with sambal olek, microgreens, the remaining green onions and sesame seeds, as desired. Enjoy!