In a moment of huge Japan-sickness, today I made experiments in the kitchen of my family's restaurant. Ladies and gentlemen, I "decrypted" the secret of ramen - one of the most popular Japanese food, yes yes...
Now. It's not matter of giving the precise recipe, because there is not a standard ramen. Each region has its ramen-style, each shop has its own secrets. This is why I'd talk more about "guidelines" rather than "formula". Then it's up to you to try, until you're happy with the result.
In easy words, ramen is a soup with noodles topped by meat, vegetables, eggs, and various ingredients. Everything is cooked as simply as possible, most of the taste depends on the liquid part itself.
There are different types of ramen:
- Shoyu Ramen, whose soup is brown and transparent, mixed with soya sauce
- Miso Ramen, whose soup is brown, non-transparent, made by miso.
- Shio Ramen, a classic transparent and salty soup.
- Tonkotsu Ramen, whose soup is white and creamy, made by pork bones.
The best I tried in Tokyo was a Tonkotsu Ramen, which is really something special, but also the most difficult to cook I think - squeezing soup from pork bones is not so immediate!
I made my tests around a Shoyu Ramen, which came out good quite in a simple way: putting some soya sauce into the soup, then the noodles, vegetables almost raw (mainly onions, small carrots and green pepper, but any vegetable you like can be mixed), boiled eggs and small slices of beef done in a pan.
About quantities... it's not that relevant, to be honest. Important is that you like the taste of the soup!
Last plus: would have been nice to decorate the dish with small slices of nori seaweed... unluckily I didn't find it. At least till now, because now that I cook my ramen I'm going to eat it very often!