The first experience I had with Ramen noodle soup was opening that little orange package as a kid, dropping the block of dried noodles into boiling water, and shaking all the chicken flavored powder out of that little silver packet. It was one of my favorite meals, and the only thing I knew how to cook on my own as a kid. Several years ago, on my first visit to Burlington, Vermont I literally stumbled out of the rain and into Asiana Noodle Shop. My first grown up bowl of Ramen was the Spicy Miso Ramen with Tofu on Asiana’s menu and it changed my life. Ramen is now one of my all time favorite soups and I’ve had just about every version of it whenever and wherever I can find it on a menu. Since I now live even further away from Vermont and don’t really dine out at restaurants too often, I’ve had to practice making Ramen more at home.
Authentic Ramen can get as technical and difficult to prepare as you like, but it can also be simplified for a any-night-of-the-week soup and still be just as tasty. For this recipe, I used vegetable stock and finished it with a generous dollop of white miso. You can use whatever stock you have on hand, but I find the vegetable/miso combination adds a perfect amount of umami without overpowering the soup with fat. This dish can easily be modified to accommodate vegan/vegetarian diets as well by skipping the pork and adding in tofu or additional veggies. I had leftover smoked pork butt on hand so that’s what I went with and although I actually followed recipe directions my soft boiled egg did not ooze and delight as I had intended. Adding a soft boiled egg to the soup is traditional, but completely optional and believe me when I say that it’s extremely disappointing to slice into a firm yolk when you’re anticipating liquid gold. So unless you just need the practice like me or can expertly soft boil an egg, I’d suggest just skipping it altogether.
Pork Ramen Noodle Soup
4 to 5 cups Vegetable stock
2 to 3 tbsp White Miso, or to taste
1 cup Portobello mushrooms, sliced
1″ piece Fresh ginger, skin removed
2 cloves Garlic, skins removed
1/2 Sweet Onion
2 Carrots, trimmed and sliced in half
1 cup Red Cabbage, shredded
2 ears fresh Corn
2 tbsp low-sodium Soy Sauce
1 tsp Rice Wine vinegar, or to taste
4 slices leftover Smoked Pork Butt, warmed
2 servings dried Ramen noodles of choice, cooked per pkg instructions
Salt and Pepper to taste
Garnish: Sliced green scallion, soft boiled egg
In a stock pot or dutch oven over med high flame, bring the vegetable stock to a soft boil. Add in the carrots, onion, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and reduce flame to low. Simmer the stock at least 30 minutes to an hour then discard the onion, carrot, ginger, and garlic. Add in the cabbage and cook until just tender, about 5 to 10 minutes then add in the mushrooms and corn. Continue cooking until the vegetables are warmed through then turn off the flame. Add the Miso paste to the soup and stir until completely dissolved. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
To assemble: add the Ramen noodles to soup bowls, ladle the stock and veggies over the noodles, and top with the slices of smoked pork. Garnish with green scallion, soft boiled egg, and a small dollop of Gochujang or Sriracha, if you like it spicy.