My Korean Ramen recipe uses leftovers from my Korean Belly Pork recipe to make a warm but not overly spicy broth, spiked with chewy noodles, greens, a runny boiled egg and soft pork belly. Top tip – do not attempt to eat this while wearing a white shirt!
Firstly lets acknowledge the elephant in the room. I know that “Korean Ramen” is not really a thing, you don’t need to have a wobbly about it. All I know is that its the best way of describing what I ate when I made a basic ramen with the Korean ingredients like doenjang (Korean fermented soya bean paste a bit like miso) and gochujang (Korean fermented red chili paste) which I’d used to make my Korean Belly Pork with Sticky Rice and Kale. And so I don’t claim “authenticity”, I merely claim “accurate description of the dish”. To be honest you can call it whatever you want for all I care, just don’t deny yourself the glory of this bowl of goodness because of misplaced semantics! This recipe got a 10 out of 10 rating from my father which is no easy feat.
By way of further explanation of the origins, I’ve done some research and in Japan, the word ‘Ramen’ refers to noodles that are both fresh and instant (what we’d think of as “super” noodles). My favourite dish at Wagamama is their Shirodashi Ramen and I sometimes try to make a version at home although I’ve never quite got it right. Ramen really took off in London a couple of years ago and outlets like Bone Daddies and Tonkotsu have been super successful. The Japanese take their ramen, like all of their food, very seriously – the film Ramen Girl is worth a watch for a Hollywood comedy take on the subject. What I have since learnt is that in Korea, their version of Ramen – ‘Ramyeon’ only ever refers to the instant variety. This version I have created is therefore neither ‘Ramen’ or ‘Ramyeon’.
You don’t need to make my Korean Belly Pork to make my dish (obviously I’d recommend it tho!) – you could use almost any roast or grilled meat or fish as a substitute or even some marinated tofu. You could also use your preferred noodles, just cook them per the packet instructions before putting them into the serving dish.
The vegetables you use are also totally customisable. I love to add pan fried asparagus when its in season, sugar snap peas at any time, pak choi, mushrooms (fry them off before adding) or white/savoy cabbage. I do tend to stick to green veg as the soup base and meat are so rich.
2 tbsp Doengjang Paste
1 tbsp Gochujang Paste
1 tbsp Nam Pla (Fish Sauce)
1 tbsp Chicken Stock Concentrate
200g Medium Straight to Wok Noodles
Leftover Korean Belly Pork
2 Spring Onions
80g Fresh Beansprouts
- I like to serve my ramen in a deep tall bowl – my lovely white noodle bowls have holes to store the chopsticks over the top of the bowl. They are no longer available to buy but these lovely blue bowls* are the same shape and type.
- In Korea I learnt that they use metal chopsticks rather than the bambook kind. I picked up a couple of pairs over there but Amazon sell loads of options like these* if you want to try something authentically Korean.
- Investing in a couple of ramen ladle/spoons* is advisable if you eat this kind of dish regularly. They do make it easier to eat!
- The stock didn’t taste that spicy to me when it initially boiled but after it had sat for a while, the spice really developed so if you prefer a spicier broth, I’d recommend waiting until nearer serving before adding any more chili paste.
- I’ve not specified a quantity of leftover pork as this will depend on what you have and how much of a carnivore you are. Clearly I had a truckload and added it all but I appreciate not everyone is quite this greedy.
- I like to make sure that everything in my soup is bitesize. It is very difficult to cut a strip of meat with chopsticks and a spoon!
- A sprinkle of sesame seeds would also be a nice addition at the end but I didn’t have any!
Start by making the broth. Boil a kettle of water. Meanwhile, measure 2 tbsp Doengjang Paste, 1 tbsp Gochujang Paste, 1 tbsp Nam Pla (Fish Sauce) and 1 tbsp Chicken Stock Concentrate into the bottom of a medium saucepan. Add a little of the boiled water to the pan and dissolve the pastes. Add a further 1 litre of the boiled water and bring to the boil.
Once boiling, add 2 Eggs to the stock and set a 6 minute timer. After 6 minutes, remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and run under cold water then set aside to cool a little. Turn the stock down to a gentle simmer.
Prepare the rest of the ingredients by discarding any stalks from 100g Kale and placing in a deepish bowl. Cover with boiling water and leave for 2 minutes or so before draining.
Thinly slice Leftover Korean Belly Porkor your meat/protein of choice and lay out in one layer over a plate ready for reheating in the microwave for 1-2 minutes.
Peel the boiled eggs and cut in half lengthways.
Peel off the outer layer and cut 2 Spring Onions into rounds, discarding the darker green parts.
Pull apart 200g Medium Straight to Wok Noodles with your fingers and place in a deep bowl. Cover with boiling water and leave for 5 minutes to soften. If you like them with a little less chew, you can microwave them or boil them on the hob for a couple of minutes. Bear in mind they will soften a little more in the finished soup.
Each bowl can now be put together.
– Put the belly pork into the microwave to warm for 1-2 minutes.
– Meanwhile, split the noodles between two serving bowls.
– Cover the noodles with the kale and 80g Fresh Beansprouts.
– Take the belly pork out of the microwave and place half in each bowl.
– Pour half of the stock into each bowl gently.
– Top each bowl with 2 egg halves and garnish with the sliced spring onions.
Serve. Use chopsticks and a large spoon to eat.
Do you have a favourite ramen topping? Let me know what you think in the comments!
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