Making Ramen at Home

Although most of us just cook instant ramen, it is possible to make real ramen at home. This article from the Huffington Post has some good hints and links to recipes.

Later on in the story, there’s a description of four types of ramen:

Shio ramen is the subtlest form with a clear, light-bodied salty chicken broth. Sometimes fish or pork are included.

Shoyu ramen is soy sauce flavored and made with a chicken and vegetable broth base. Sometimes fish or beef are included.

Tonkotsu ramen is rich and pork based, almost milky white in color.

Miso ramen is rich in flavor from miso paste — it also comes in a spicy version that’s topped with spicy bean paste. The broth can be a combination of chicken, fish and/or pork.

Tonkotsu ramen is my favorite kind.

Updated: Allstate and the “Ramen Noodles Every Night Budget” Commercial

I got an email from some ramen fans this morning. Neil from Ohio writes:

This email may sound confusing, but just let me explain. We love and enjoy Ramen Noodles and always have ample supply at home and also our motorhome. If you are a television watcher, you no doubt have seen the Allstate auto insurance commercials. The Allstate spokesperson points to a young driver saying “….. Emily’s on a budget … ‘LIKE A RAMEN NOODLE EVERYDAY BUDGET”. This commercial objective is saying anyone on a very tight budget can afford their insurance. [We] are very senior citizens and absolutely love Ramen Noodles. Especially after a cool winter walk as a warm-up snack or Ramen Noodles and a salad or sandwich for lunch or dinner.

We feel the Allstate Insurance commercial is demeaning to Ramen Noodles and shed a very negative impact on a food product that is wholesome and delicious. As the months progress television viewers will be subjected to tons of negative advertising from those individuals running for the Office of President of the United States and feel that the Allstate commercial is detrimental to Ramen Noodles.

Well I must say that I agree with Neil and also I use Progressive Insurance. Hey Progressive, you shouldn’t definitely sponsor me!

Update: The Arkansas Times has weighed in and they’re kinda upset about the commercial. It doesn’t bother me either way, so times are good in Arkansas if they’re upset about this.

March is National Noodle Month

March is National Noodle Month and ramen of course is always an excellent choice for celebrating. Now some sites will tell you to make noodle crafts or what-not, but I say noodles are for eating, especially ramen.

I’ve posted this a few years ago, but try out this noodle quiz (PDF)

During March, please send me your wildest, but tastiest recipes, and I’ll be posting them all month. I also have an archive to go back through and pull out some weird stuff. If possible, attach pics to the email!

Instant Ramen Burns Lead to ER Visits

NPR has a story about the dangers of instant ramen, which can cause serious burns and ER visits.

These soups are dangerous because of the way the cups are designed. The cups are tall, lightweight, and have an unstable base that makes them tip over easily. At Garner’s unit, the most common cases are small children, often toddlers, accidentally tipping the cup over on to themselves.

“It pulls down on top of them,” Garner says. “The hot liquid then burns their chest, arms, torso, sometimes their privates, occasionally their legs.” He says there’s no other injury that he sees as regularly that can be so directly attributed to a product’s design, and calls these soups “uniquely troublesome.”

Anytime you have a cup of boiling hot water it’s going to be dangerous, so I want to know what kind of moron gives this to a toddler. When I make noodles for my kid, I drain them first and I’d advise you all to do the same.

What else is interesting in this article that it links to a NIH study about this and about how manufacturers can reduce the risk of the cup tipping over by making the base of the container wider. There’s also an interesting chart of what angles different cups tip over, so if you are going to give these to your kid, you may want to look there.

Best New Ramen Flavor Idea?

I usually post this once a year because usually by then I get a great new idea from someone on a flavor for instant ramen. This time it was because someone suggested what has become my favorite flavor for things, honey mustard. I love honey mustard salad dressing, in salad, on french fries, on burgers, for chicken, etc etc. I think it might be a great ramen flavor too, but the others on this list also sound good.

[poll id=”8″]

Me So Ramen App for iPhone/iPad

A couple weeks back I was told about a new iPhone/iPad game from Moxy Games called “Me So Ramen” and I had to wait until my kid got back from vacation to put it on an iPhone and try it out. I finally installed it tonight and it was pretty fun! The most important part for budget minded ramen fans was the price, free. The point of the game is that you’re running a ramen shop and have to quickly fill customer orders. Level 1 starts out with just a few customers and a few ingredients, but it gets more fast and complicated from there. At level 1 you only have one type of bowl, broth, eggs, and seaweed (I assume it’s seaweed anyway). Level 2 added shrimp, and level 3 added a different type of bowl and more customers. Since the game is free, it has some ads at the top, but they were fairly unobtrusive. I played it for about 10 minutes tonight and was getting pretty good until my kid wanted the phone back. Hopefully they come out with a version for Android and webOS

Download the game here

Ramen: An Adventurous and Imaginative Food

Adam Orfale at Kennesaw State in Georgia (USA) created these great photos of ramen for a project in his design class. The theme in these pictures is that you should be more adventurous with ramen and let your imagination run wild when preparing it. As highlighted by these photos, ramen can be taken from a 39 cent package to a fancy meal with some imagination, some extra ingredients and a great recipe or some experimentation. Adam’s photos will be displayed on campus, along with take-home packets of ramen and recipes. As you buy and prepare your ramen this week, try and think of what you could do with your ramen, something you haven’t done before, something different and delicious. If you have any new creative ideas, send them to me: ramen@mattfischer.com.

I will update this post later with some photos from the exhibit.

Ramen Hacks

Personally, when I eat ramen, I usually just raid my fridge and pantry and see how I can make the noodles more substantial. Leftover chicken, leftover steak, carrots, onions, eggs, their all fair game for my concoctions. In this same spirit, the Houston Press has an interesting article by Katharine Shilcutt about “ramen hacks to make the noodles taste better while still staying within a pretty small budget”. One idea, which is linked in the article is dipping raw ramen into salsa. Personally, I think this sounds great!

However, I learned back in college that Ramen tastes absolutely foul when prepared according to the package’s instructions. (Not to mention that little flavoring packet is a vicious sodium bomb.) Instead, I came up with all manner of “hacks” to make the noodles taste better while still staying within a pretty small budget.

Here are five of my favorite Ramen recipes, good for small budgets and large appetites. (And none of them involve breaking off pieces of Ramen blocks and dipping them into salsa. You’re welcome.)

My favorite from this article? Ramen pizza.

Toki Underground in DC Looks Pretty Interesting

Someone sent me a link to a new ramen shop in DC which has an amazingly simple menu: Ramen, Dumplings, and 5 sides and some pretty cool decor. Just based on the pictures and descriptions of the food, I’d love to try this place, but unfortunately it’s 1500 miles away from me. It sounds like you may have quite a wait for the food, 2-3 hours based on this article.

A segment of the above link:

Situated above The Pug, Toki Underground is a little jewel box of a restaurant. A lot of thought has been put into the interior, which is a funky mash-up of skateboards, colorful graffiti and cutely subversive Japanese toys. The narrow space is ringed with approximately two dozen counter seats, an open kitchen in the back and a shared bathroom sink so small you might miss it if you’re not paying attention. Clever details — like the blinking pachinko games embedded into the bar and dessert served in panda-shaped bento boxes — add a twist of whimsy to the otherwise edgy atmosphere.

As for the food, Toki Underground definitely hits more than it misses. The menu is short and sweet, focusing on a selection of ramen and dumplings. Toki Underground doesn’t exactly serve traditional Japanese ramen, but Chef Erik Bruner-Yang’s renditions are enjoyable nonetheless. The menu features five different kinds of ramen ($10 for a bowl), four made with a tonkotsu (pork bone) broth and one vegetarian broth made with shitake mushrooms and kombu (seaweed).

I’m a pretty simple guy and I don’t like to wait 3 hours for a meal for anything really, but this place just sounds cool. If any of my DC area readers try this place, let me know and send pics!