Wife Jan wanted something warm and noodle-y for a weekday meal. We have been on a search for the perfect bowl of ramen in San Jose—the best we have found so far, near us, is Masa Ramen. While I have made a complex version of this dish, I wanted something simpler and with fewer ingredients.
To be a ramen all that is really necessary are ramen noodles and a broth, everything else is just variations. A simple shoyu broth with noodles, add some shrimp and vegetables, and we were good to go. While Jan was happy to eliminate the chashu—braised pork—she still loves her ramen egg—a seasoned soft boiled egg—so not really quite so simple.
Making a ramen egg is a bit of a trick. You first need to perfectly soft boil an egg, gently peel a squishy egg without breaking it, and then marinate it in soy sauce for several hours. Feel free to simply use a soft boiled egg, if you are in a hurry.
While you can buy dried ramen noodles, fresh is always better. These noodles are usually are sold in packages of 1-3 individual servings. However, I have found than, unless you are really hungry, one serving is enough to feed two people—especially if you add lots of vegetables.
Karl’s Simple Shrimp Shoyu Ramen
For 2-3 servings
2-3 soft-boiled ramen egg (see instructions step 1)
¼ cup light Japanese soy sauce
¼ cup mirin
½ cup water
4 green onions, green parts only
½ cup mung bean sprouts
1 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups dashi (1 bag of DashiNoMoto simmered in 3 cups of water)
1 tsp. sesame oil
½ inch ginger, minced
1 tsp. Chili Bean Sauce
2 Tbs. light Japanese soy sauce
½ Tbs. sake
¼ tsp. granulated sugar
(Optional) ½ tsp. Kosher salt (see note below)
1-2 servings fresh ramen noodles
5 medium shrimp per serving, peeled and de-veined
4 green onions, white parts only
2-3 baby bok choi, cut the leafy greens from the stems
(Optional) la-yu, Japanese chili oil, for more spice
1. Bring the water in a small pot to a boil.
Tip: Prepare your ramen eggs at least 4 hours before dinner, starting the night before is better.
Note: You may boil your eggs is a full pot of water, but I prefer to steam my eggs. Half an inch of water comes to a boil much more quickly than a full pot of water. You then put a wire rack in the pot to keep the eggs out of the water. Putting a lid on the pot, surrounds the eggs with an even heat (212º F, the temperature of steam), regardless of how hot the stove is. To soft boil a large egg takes exactly 7 minutes.
2. Place the cold eggs into the pot, cover the pot, and reduce the heat.
Tip: Adding the cold eggs to the hot pot will make them easier to peel.
3. After 7 minutes, place the eggs in a bowl of water with a full tray of ice cubes.
4. Chill the eggs for at least 15 minutes.
Tip: As the egg chills the structure of the whites firms up and makes it less likely that you will break the egg bits off as you peel the egg.
5. Peel the eggs under running water and place them in a plastic bag.
6. Add the soy sauce, mirin, and water to the bag, press the air out and seal the bag.
7. Marinate the eggs in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.
Tip: Overnight is better.
8. Heat the sesame oil in a large soup pot and sauté the garlic until fragrant, about one minute.
9. Make three cups of dashi by your preferred method.
Tip: My preference is to simmer a teabag of Dashi-no-moto in three cups of water for ten minutes.
Note: Do not bring dashi to a full boil.
10. Add the sesame oil, ginger, Chili Bean Sauce, soy sauce, sake, and sugar to the dashi.
11. Bring the pot to a simmer for at least 10 minutes.
Note: Check the flavor, it should be a little salty. If necessary, add up to half a teaspoon to taste.
12. Bring a second large pot ¾ filled with water to a boil.
Tip: Fresh ramen noodles cook in less than 3 minutes. You should have all of your other ingredients prepared before you start cooking the ramen noodle.
13. Four minutes before serving add the noodles to the boiling water pot.
Tip: Fluff the noodles, so that they do not clump together while they are boiling.
14. Return the boiled pot of water back to the heat.
15. Four minutes before serving, add the shrimp, the white parts of the green onions, and bok choi to the broth.
16. Remove the ramen noodles from their packaging and fluff them to break apart any that are sticking together.
17. Stir the noodles into the water and simmer for slightly under 3 minutes.
Tip: Do not overcook the noodles, they should be no more than al dente. When you pour the hot soup over them they will cook a bit more.
18. Press the leaves under the broth and simmer for one minute.
19. Drop the eggs into the simmering broth and heat them for exactly one minute.
Tip: One minute is long enough to heat the eggs through, but without cooking the yoke any further.
20. Remove the eggs from the broth and slice them in half along the long axis.
21. Drain the noodles completely and divide them between the individual bowls.
Tip: Do not rinse the noodles in cold water. You want all of your ingredients to be as warm as possible, so that they do not cool off the broth too much.
Note: According to the cowboy/trucker ramen master in Tanpopo, the broth should be too hot to sip when you first receive your bowl of ramen.
22. Scoop out the shrimp, green onion, and bok choi—leaving behind most of the broth—and arrange them artistically over the noodles.
23. Add the green onions greens and sprouts in two separate bundles at the edges of the bowls.
24. Pour the broth over the toppings and nestle the eggs into the broth.
25. Serve immediately, while it is still hot.