[Photograph: Vicky Wasik]
Any ramen that gets its salinity and flavor primarily from salt, rather than miso or soy sauce, can be called a shio ramen. This bowl of noodles, made with a light and clear blend of chicken stock and dashi, is flavored with a solution of salt, lemon, and kombu (dried kelp).
You can top this bowl of shio ramen with whatever you wish, but it’s equally good when unadorned, particularly if you have some great ramen noodles that can serve as the star.
Why It Works
- Soaking the kombu and shiitakes overnight vastly improves the flavor of the dashi.
- Making the dashi fresh and blending it with the clear chicken stock results in superior flavor.
- For the Dashi:
- 1/4 ounce kombu, or dried kelp (7g; about one 7- by 2-inch piece)
- 1/4 ounce dried shiitake mushrooms (7g; about 2 to 3 mushrooms)
- 1 ounce (30g) shaved katsuobushi (dried bonito) flakes
- For the Shio Ramen:
- 2 quarts (1.8L) chintan chicken stock (see note)
- 1/2 cup (120ml) shio tare
- 4 servings ramen noodles, either homemade or store-bought
- 1/2 cup (120ml) aromatic oil, schmaltz, or lard (see note), heated until liquid
- Toppings, such as chashu or ajitsuke tamago (optional)
- 2 scallions, sliced as thinly as possible
For the Dashi: Combine kombu and shiitake mushrooms with 1 quart (900ml) water in a sealable container and refrigerate for at least 8 and up to 24 hours.
Place water, kombu, and shiitakes in a small saucepan and place over medium-high heat. Bring to a bare simmer, then shut the heat off; take care not to let the water boil, as the kombu will make the dashi bitter. Add katsuobushi and let steep for 3 minutes. Strain dashi into a heatproof bowl. You can reserve the kombu, shiitakes, and katsuobushi for another use, such as making a niban dashi.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Combine dashi with chicken stock in a large saucepan and place over medium-high heat. Bring blended broth to a simmer; take care not to let it boil, as it will become cloudy.
Begin cooking noodles in large pot of boiling water according to our Homemade Ramen Noodle recipe or package instructions.
Place 2 tablespoons (30ml) shio tare in each of 4 warmed serving bowls. Ladle around 1 1/2 cups (350ml) blended broth into each bowl. Taste broth for seasoning; it should be quite salty. Add more broth or more tare to each bowl to adjust the seasoning.
Drain noodles and divide among serving bowls. Spoon 1 to 2 tablespoons (15 to 30ml) aromatic oil over noodles in each bowl of soup. Add any toppings you have on hand, such as marinated egg or chashu, to each bowl. Garnish with scallions and serve immediately.
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