Sometimes I even surprise myself. This luxurious soup couldn’t be farther from those brittle little packets of supermarket noodles that so many of us think of when we hear the word ramen. In our culture ramen is synonymous with bare-bones, pre-packaged, microwaved eating on a budget, but in Asia, ramen has a long honored history as fine food. The noodles were originally hand pulled by skilled chefs. This authentic version (minus the hand-pulled noodles) is a gourmet meal.
This is heartier than my Miso Soup but it’s based on similar flavors. The ramen noodles, the chicken, egg and the extra vegetables elevate it to a main meal. Everything is fresh, barely cooked, and delicate but the flavor is robust thanks to the red miso paste, a hot chili pepper, the rich shitake mushrooms, and a drizzle of sesame oil.
It’s a symphony of textures, too, from the slightly chewy mushrooms and noddles, to the crunch of the corn and red bell pepper, to the juicy bok choy, and finally the creamy egg.
You’ll find ramen noodles in the Asian section of your store. They cook up in just 4 minutes.
The Japanese have the longest life expectancy on the planet, and I do always feel instantly healthier when I eat Japanese food. This meal contains no fats or artificial ingredients, and has a beautiful visual appeal. The only thing it has in common with the little packets of ramen is that it’s budget friendly.
Miso Ramen with Shitake and Chicken
serves 2 (multiply as needed)
1 ear fresh corn, kernels removed
1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 cooked chicken breast, sliced on the diagonal
1 hard cooked egg, halved
- Microwave the corn kernels for about a minute just to take the raw edge off and set aside.
- Set aside the bell pepper, chicken, and egg, in separate bowls, for garnishing the finished soup.
about 4 oz dry ramen noodles
- Cook the noodles in boiling water for about 4 minutes. Drain and put in two wide shallow soup bowls.
4 cups water
about 6 medium shitake mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 hot chili pepper, thinly sliced
- Heat the water to a simmer and add the mushrooms and the hot pepper. Simmer for a couple of minutes.
2-3 baby bok choy, sliced (including the green leaves)
6 scallions, sliced
- Add the bok choy and the scallions and simmer for a minute or so more, just long enough to bring out the bright green color.
2 Tbsp red miso paste
- Turn off the heat and stir in the miso paste. (You do this so as not to destroy some of the beneficial nutrients in the miso paste) Stir well until the paste is completely dissolved.
- Pour the broth over the noodles in the two bowls.
- Garnish with the corn, red bell pepper, and egg halves.
- Finish with a sprinkle of sesame seeds and a drizzle of sesame oil.
Serve with chopsticks, or a spoon and a fork, but either way, be prepared to slurp.