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Cooking with Fire

Cooking With Fire: Ramen


For this episode of Cooking With Fire, Josh Cary and Chef Tom Jackson were inspired by the 1985 Japanese film, Tampopo.

Until recently when most of us thought of ramen noodles we thought of instant meals like Cup Noodles. But in the last decade ramen has taken on a life of its own in the U.S., and ramen shops have been popping up all over the country.

Ramen itself has a bit of a murky history, with some sources claiming it is Chinese in origin and others saying it was invented in Japan.

There is one thing that is for certain: The noodles in your ramen hail from China. The story goes that restaurants and street carts that served Cantonese food in Japan started selling a kind of Chinese soba. They were called this because they were using Chinese wheat noodles instead of traditional buckwheat noodles, and this dish provides the base for what we know as ramen today.

But it wasn’t until post-World War II, when cheap wheat flour flooded the Japanese market from the U.S., that ramen really started to take off; and it was in the 1950s when the term "ramen" caught on instead of simply calling it "Chinese Soba."

Perhaps the best thing about ramen is its simplicity. It has essentially two ingredients: the broth, which is traditionally made from either chicken or pork bones, and the noodles. This is then fortified with various vegetables like corn, mushrooms and diced green onion, meat such as roasted pork or chicken, and half a hard boiled egg.

This to me is the thing that has made ramen such a fantastic dish. There is no right way to make it, so you can be creative and add whatever flavors you want, which is perfect for cleaning out the fridge and using up any leftover roast chicken or pork you may have lying around.

So the next time you start to crave a deliciously brothy cup of ramen noodles, take a little time and make them yourself. Trust me, it will be worth it.

Josh Cary and Chef Tom Jackson share how to make Chicken Ramen on the latest Cooking with Fire podcast. The recipe is included below. Here's the podcast; it can also be downloaded on iTunes.

Chicken Ramen

3-4 servings

  • 9 oz ramen
  • 3-4 eggs
  • 1 cup chicken, shredded
  • 1/2 cup baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup carrot, julienne 
  • 1/4 cup green onions, sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
  • 3-4 pieces nori seaweed
  • togarashi or chile flake, to taste

For the broth:

  • 1 1/2 qt chicken stock
  • 1-2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 oz ginger, skin on, crushed
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • salt, to taste
  1. To cook the ramen, bring a gallon of water to a boil. Add the ramen and cook until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Strain and set aside.
  2. To cook the eggs, bring 1 gallon of water to a boil and turn down to a simmer. Carefully lower the eggs into the simmering water. Adjust the temperature so that the water continues to simmer. Cook for six minutes. Remove from the hot water. Place in a bowl. Run cold water over the eggs. Let the eggs sit in the cold water until cooled. Carefully crack and peel the shells from the eggs. Wait until ready to garnish your ramen to slice in half.
  3. To make the broth, bring the chicken stock to a simmer. Add the soy sauce, ginger and garlic. Let simmer at least 10 minutes to infuse the flavors. Spoon out the ginger and discard.
  4. In a large bowl, begin layering in the chicken, spinach, carrot, green onion and noodles. Pour the simmering broth over the ingredients in the bowl. Top with cilantro, nori and the split soft boiled egg. Serve immediately.