March 1, 2015

Simple Homemade Chicken Ramen

Okay, so I'm an anime nerd, as I've mentioned before. Since I am also a food nerd, it shouldn't surprise you that after watching enough Japanese shows where they eat this gorgeously arranged soup concoction, I just had to figure out what it was and where I could get it!!
I mean seriously, how awesome does that look?? I don't even know what those meat things are, but who cares!! And believe me, it's EVERYWHERE. Anime takes its food animation seriously, people. I had to find some. Oddly enough, the first time I got to taste this glorious heaven-in-a-bowl was in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Not exactly where you'd expect to find a Japanese classic done really well! Needless to say, I feel madly in love, and have been chasing delicious ramen joints ever since. I spent a week researching where to eat it in Washington DC, tracked down a decent place in Salt Lake City, and found 3 places here in Denver, hooray!! I figured it would be years before I could learn to make it myself, it's supposed to take like 4 days and handmade noodles and who knows what else, so when I saw this recipe appear on Fork Knife Swoon (one of my new favorite blogs, btw), I nearly fell out of my chair with excitement! Knowing it was a shortcut version of "the real thing", I will admit my expectations were pretty low, but Oh. Man. I don't know how she managed to get this much flavor into this broth in under an hour, but she's a genius and I am forever grateful! This, my dear friends, is my new favorite food. I'm literally boiling water for my eggs as I type this. 

Simple Homemade Chicken Ramen (adapted from Fork Knife Swoon)
Printable Recipe

3-4 chicken breasts (boneless, skin-on or off, cut from a rotisserie works too!)
kosher salt and black pepper
1 Tb butter
2 tsp sesame oil (you can use any cooking oil in case of allergies)
a 2-3 inch chunk of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into sticks (kinda julienned)
3-4 cloves fresh garlic, sliced
1 leek, rinsed, trimmed, and chopped coarsely
6 Tb low-sodium soy sauce (must be low-sodium! Full-sodium will be WAY too salty!)
6 Tb mirin
8 cups rich chicken stock

Soft-boiled eggs (recipe below)
1 package of noodles per person

optional: fresh jalapeƱo slices, scallions, mushrooms, red chili paste, for serving

First, start your broth: Heat the sesame oil in a large pot over medium-high heat, until shimmering. Add the garlic and ginger, and cook for a few minutes until softened and browned. Usually you'd stick to a nice golden brown, but here you want deep brown. Almost burned. You're straining these bits out, so don't worry. That extra roasted-ness adds awesome depth to this broth! Once you've got some nice chocolate-brown edges on those leeks and things, add the soy sauce and mirin, and stir to combine. Cook for another minute or so, till it thickens just a bit. Add the stock, cover, and bring to boil. Lower to a simmer while you prepare the rest of your ramen elements!

Next, cook the chicken: Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Pat your chicken dry with a paper towel and generously season with salt and pepper. (Table salt is fine, but I think kosher salt adds a little something extra) Melt the butter in a large oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken, skin-side down, (if you've got skin) and cook until nicely browned and releases easily from the pan, about 5-7 minutes. Flip the chicken over and cook for another 4-5 minutes, until browned on the other side. Transfer the skillet with the chicken to the oven and roast for 15-20 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Remove from the oven, transfer the chicken to a plate and cover with foil until ready to serve.

While your chicken is in the oven, make the soft-boiled eggs: Fill a smallish pot with enough water to cover the eggs, (no eggs in there yet though!) and bring to a boil. Carefully lower the eggs (still cold from the fridge) into the boiling water, and let simmer for 7-8 minutes. You will probably have to play with this just a bit, depending on elevation and such. I'm at a high elevation, and the eggs in my pictures are 8 minute eggs, with a fully cooked white and a softer yolk. 

While your eggs are boiling, fill a large bowl with ice water. When your timer is done, transfer the eggs to the ice bath immediately to stop the cooking process. Wait at least 5 minutes, or until ready to serve, then carefully peel each egg and slice it in half, setting on top of your bowl of ramen when ready. 

You're just about ready to assemble your ramen bowls. Your chicken is out of the oven and resting, your eggs are sitting in ice water, hopefully you've chopped up any extra toppings you desire, and your broth has been simmering away this whole time. Strain the solids out of your broth, slice up that chicken, and let's assemble!

Prepare your noodles! You can literally just use those handy little servings of packaged ramen noodles and toss the seasoning packets, or you can search out more authentic noodles. Either way, boil your noodles according to package directions. I often do this in the same pot I cooked my eggs in; saves time and dishes! Place each serving of prepared noodles in a bowl. Spoon desired amount of broth over each serving of noodles. Top with sliced chicken, a soft-boiled egg, scallions, etc, and serve immediately! The flavors are best when eaten nice and hot!
This is not your dirt cheap, instant noodle, college student staple, my friends. This is the best soup EVER!! I made a whole batch last night, just for me, to eat all week for lunch. Seriously. I could eat it every day, and be a very happy girl! It looks like a lot of steps and instructions, but it's really pretty easy.
The broth gets surprising rich flavors from such simple ingredients, with a bit of tang from the mirin, deep roasty savoriness from the leeks and ginger and garlic, dark saltiness from the soy, and a nutty bit of sesame. Sooo mouthwatering, and such goodness!
The eggs are my favorite part. I usually have two, and half of the chicken, to be completely honest. The yolk melts into the broth, adding another layer of silky richness, the mild egg pairs fantastically with the flavorful, salty chicken, just yum. I'm running out of words here, guys! I'm the only one who adds green things to mine, which I  highly recommend, but my boys just eat it with noodles, chicken, and eggs, and love it. You must try it!!
I used the classic cheap ramen noodles in these pictures, but if you're looking for something with a bit more chew, more flavor, and closer to the authentic handmade noodles, (and have an Asian market nearby) this is our favorite brand, recommended to us by The Geologist's Japanese friend. They're delicious, and so conveniently packaged in servings! :)


  1. My mouth was watering while reading this post, definitely will try this recipe. Such a simple recipe but sounds fancy enough to serve to guests..........Mam

    1. Definitely fancy enough for guests! I hope you love it, and let me know how it turns out when you try it! :)

  2. Oh wow, April! That looks stunning! Great pictures.....I want to make it now. BTW, you HAVE to eat at Tosh's Ramen in SLC. I haven't been, but all my trusted foodie sources have (including Kent and Miles) and they say it is to die for! They are only open for lunch, so I haven't had the opportunity to go myself, but I will!

  3. It looks really good April. I have never had Ramen. I know, what a limited life I lead! haha xoxo

    1. That's okay, I'd say most people haven't had authentic Japanese ramen, you're not that limited! But make yourself a batch of this and you're almost there :)


Your comments really DO make my day, and I promise to try and reply to each and every one, either through email or on here :)