- Learn How to Make Miso Ramen
- Part 1: Ramen Soup スープ
- 5 Key Ingredients for Quick Miso Ramen Soup
- 1. Miso
- 2. (Spicy) Chili Bean Sauce/Paste or (La) Doubanjiang
- 3. Sesame Seeds and Sesame Oil
- 4. Homemade or Store Bought Chicken Broth
- 5. White Pepper Powder
- FAQs for Ramen Soup
- Part 2: Ramen Noodles 麺
- 1. Fresh Noodles
- 2. Dried Noodles
- 3 Tips for Cooking Ramen Noodles
- Part 3: Ramen Toppings トッピング
- Main Toppings
- Other Topping Ideas:
- Craving for more? Check out other ramen recipes on Just One Cookbook
- More Ramen Recipes You’ll Love:
Flavored with pork and chicken broth with a mix of toppings such as Chashu and Ramen Egg, this bowl of Miso Ramen is going to satisfy your craving. You can make delicious ramen with authentic broth in less than 30 minutes!
When you’re in Japan, you will quickly learn that there are 3 basic ramen flavors: Shio (salt), Shoyu (soy sauce), and Miso (fermented soybean paste).
If you’re wondering about Tonkotsu (pork bone broth) ramen, that’s actually a type of broth base. Interested to learn more about ramen? Read our Japanese Ramen Guide for Beginners. Today we’ll make the popular and my favorite, Miso Ramen (味噌ラーメン).
Learn How to Make Miso Ramen
Ramen consists of 3 components: soup, noodles, and toppings. In this post, I’ll go over each topic in detail.
Part 1: Ramen Soup スープ
Although the Japanese enjoy eating ramen at ramen shops, it’s pretty common for the Japanese moms to make ramen at home. Making good ramen soup from scratch requires a lot of time and effort, so most households use a packaged ramen which includes 2-3 servings of fresh noodles and a concentrated soup base.
In this recipe, instead of spending many hours making the ramen soup base, I’ll show you how to make a delicious ramen soup that takes just 15 minutes. This miso ramen soup tastes much better than the soup base that comes with the package.
In case you’re wondering, the soup for Miso Ramen is not the “miso soup” made from dashi and miso paste.
Below, I explain the ingredients for Miso Ramen soup. I do not recommend skipping or substituting the following ingredients because each ingredient plays an important role. As a result, you get a rich and intensely savory bowl of miso ramen that will greatly satisfy your cravings.
5 Key Ingredients for Quick Miso Ramen Soup
- (Spicy) Chili Bean Sauce/Paste – (La) Doubanjiang in Chinese
- Sesame Seeds and Sesame Oil
- Homemade or Store Bought Chicken Broth:
- White pepper powder
Miso is a Japanese fermented soybean paste, and it’s one of the essential condiments in Japanese cooking. If you are new to miso, I highly recommend taking a look at my Miso pantry page to be familiar with it.
Based on the type of miso and the brand that makes it, the flavor of miso varies. In most cases, there is no type or brand that is better or worse, except for your preference. I personally love Hikari Miso® and you will see me using this brand exclusively on my blog.
For Miso Ramen, use any miso type except for Hatcho Miso or Saikyo Miso. My favorite miso is Kodawattemasu (see below).
2. (Spicy) Chili Bean Sauce/Paste or (La) Doubanjiang
The key condiment in this recipe is Spicy Chili Bean Paste or (la) doubanjiang. This condiment adds depth and plays such an important role that you should not substitute. You can add more Spicy Chili Bean Paste if you like your soup to be spicy, but 1 teaspoon would be enough to give a kick to the soup.
When the kids were small, I was using non-spicy Doubanjiang from a Taiwanese Lian How (岡山) brand (center in the above picture) which I get from a local Chinese grocery store. Amazon does not sell the non-spicy broad bean paste, but Walmart sells it (please let me know if you find this brand online).
3. Sesame Seeds and Sesame Oil
Sesame flavor in this recipe is prominent as both sesame seeds and oil make the broth nuttier and richer, adding nice aroma and flavor to the ramen soup.
Japanese households always have a set of Suribachi (mortar) and Surikogi (pestle) to grind sesame seeds, but if you don’t have one, you can crush the sesame seeds with a food processor (coffee bean grinder).
The type of sesame oil you need is the dark roasted sesame oil. It has a deep flavor of sesame and only 1 tablespoon would give plenty of fragrance to the soup.
4. Homemade or Store Bought Chicken Broth
For a richer and flavorful broth, homemade chicken stock is best. But it’s okay to use store-bought kind to make ramen soup if you don’t have the time.
I like chicken stock from Trader Joe’s. Use less-sodium one and adjust the salt according to your liking. Remember, some brand’s chicken stock can be saltier, so you always have to taste your soup before adding salt.
5. White Pepper Powder
I believe white pepper powder is a magical spice in Chinese-style soups and fried rice. Just a few sprinkles of white pepper will elevate the flavor and add a nice kick without the spiciness. You can find white pepper powder in Asian grocery stores.
FAQs for Ramen Soup
Do we need to add sugar?
Sugar is not added to sweeten the dish, but it’s there to counter the saltiness from the miso and spicy chili bean paste. Try adding 1 teaspoon at a time and taste the soup before adding next, if you like to reduce the amount.
Do we need to use sake?
Unless you can’t use it due to religious reasons, I strongly recommend using sake in Japanese cooking. Sake is an essential ingredient as soy sauce and mirin in Japanese cooking. In this recipe, sake removes the unwanted smell from the meat and add a subtle sweetness and umami. The best substitute would be dry sherry and Chinese rice wine.
Part 2: Ramen Noodles 麺
Ramen noodles are made from four basic ingredients: wheat flour, salt, water, and kansui (かん水, saltwater). Kansui is a type of alkaline mineral water, containing sodium carbonate and usually potassium carbonate, and sometimes a small amount of phosphoric acid. Although the color of the ramen noodles is yellow-ish, they are not egg noodles.
1. Fresh Noodles
Ideally, fresh ramen noodles are the best. My favorite ramen noodles are from Sun Noodles, and I usually make my own soup instead of the soup base that comes with the package.
Fresh noodles are available in the refrigerated section of the Japanese grocery stores and some Asian grocery stores. Some stores may keep the fresh ramen noodles in the freezer, so don’t forget to check both sections.
Fresh gluten-free ramen noodles can be purchased from Kobayashi Seimen. They are made from rice and taste very similar to fresh ramen noodles.
2. Dried Noodles
For those who can’t have access to fresh ramen noodles, you can use dried noodles. I’ve tried HIME Japanese ramen noodles (you can purchase on Amazon) and they are pretty good.
3 Tips for Cooking Ramen Noodles
There are three important tips I want to share with you when cooking ramen noodles.
- Boil the ramen noodles in a big pot of water.
- Do not salt the water like pasta.
- Ramen noodles cook really fast. So make sure to prepare everything ahead of time. Once the noodles are cooked, you have to serve the ramen fast – in less than 30 seconds!
Part 3: Ramen Toppings トッピング
Choices are yours. Here are 7 toppings I added to this Miso Ramen recipe. Even though you would spend less than 30 minutes preparing the ramen on the day of eating, I do spend one day, usually the previous day, preparing my ramen toppings.
- Chashu – braised pork belly
- Ramen Egg (Ajitsuke Tamago) – eggs marinated in soy sauce base sauce
- Blanched Bean Sprout (or spicy version)
- Shiraga Negi – julienned white negi/leeks
- Sweet corn kernels
- Chopped green onion
- Nori seaweed
Other Topping Ideas:
- Wakame seaweed
- Blanched greens (bok choy, spinach)
- Menma (bamboo shoots)
- Slices of Narutomaki or Japanese fish cakes
- Thinly sliced butter (to make it “Miso Butter Ramen”)
- Or anything you like, tofu, mushrooms, etc
Now that you have the template on how to make the best miso ramen at home, it’s time to impress yourself or someone you love with your bowl of ramen goodness. It’s really simple, and dare I say more gratifying than the bowl from your ramen joint!
Craving for more? Check out other ramen recipes on Just One Cookbook
- Spicy Shoyu Ramen
- Vegetarian Ramen
- Spicy Bean Sprout
- Ramen Egg
- How to Make Soft-Boiled Egg
- Ramen Yokocho in Sapporo, Hokkaido
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in May 2011. New video and photos are added in September 2014. The video and images have been updated in May 2019.
More Ramen Recipes You’ll Love:
- Vegetarian Ramen (with an amazingly rich & creamy broth)
- Spicy Shoyu Ramen
- Tsukemen (Dipping Ramen)