Ramen is among the most popular Asian foods. A bowl of ramen with rich broth, flavours, and toppings is perfect comfort food. Although we all enjoy ramen, not everyone knows its history, types, and varieties. This article covers everything you need to know about ramen and its types.
What is ramen?
Ramen is a delicacy of Japan. It is a noodle soup that uses Chinese-style wheat noodles as a main component. The noodles are served in meat-based, or vegetable-based broth with various toppings like meat slices, green onions, bamboo shoots, ramen eggs, etc. Ramen is rich, delicious, and a wholesome bowl of food.
Where does ramen originate from?
Despite its immense popularity in Japan, ramen is actually Chinese. It wasn’t until the 19th century that ramen made its way to Japan. It is believed that in 1859, ramen came to Japan with Chinese immigrants. In 1910, the first official ramen shop was opened in Asakusa, Tokyo.
What is the difference between ramen and noodles?
There are two main types of noodles we know of, i.e., pasta noodles and instant noodles. Believe it or not, these are pretty different from ramen. Here are a few differences you should know about:
- Ramen is made fresh every time, whereas pasta noodles may or may not be made fresh. Moreover, instant noodles are never made fresh.
- The ingredients set them apart too. Pasta noodles are made from Durum wheat, whereas ramen is made from wheat flour and salted alkali water.
- Pasta noodles are Italian, whereas ramen is Asian.
- Ramen is essentially a part of a soup, whereas pasta noodles use sauces.
Is ramen healthy?
You might have heard different opinions on how healthy ramen is. But honestly, it is all about how you make them. When made with the right ingredients, ramen can prove to be super healthy. The most popular dishes of ramen are found in Japan. The Japanese ramen is a rich and wholesome dish. They are loaded with ingredients that make the broth rich and tasteful.
The ramen itself is made with wheat flour, salt, and alkali water. It is rich in complex carbohydrates. If you are making fresh ramen noodles and not using processed noodles, then you are in luck. They won’t have fats and cholesterol at all.
So, the perfectly healthy bowl of ramen will have low sodium broth, some fresh vegetables, and protein, i.e., lean meat, chicken, or turkey. Thus, making is a well-balanced and healthy dish.
Can you eat ramen every day?
Well, no matter how well balanced you think your bowl of ramen is, eating it every day can be questionable. As it is famously said, “excess of everything is bad.” So, you shouldn’t rely on eating only ramen daily. To lead a healthy life, you should include several foods in your daily life. Some experts suggest it is alright to eat miso-based or soy-based ramen every day, but we say you should stick to eating it 2 to 3 times a week.
What are ramen noodles made of?
If you are talking about the famous Japanese ramen, the main ingredients include wheat flour, salt, water, and a special ingredient called kansui. It is alkaline water that sometimes has phosphoric acid and most often has potassium carbonate and sodium carbonate. This ingredient differentiates Japanese ramen from any other ramen. Because of this, the Japanese ramen has a distinct yellow colour and a chewy and slippery texture.
Types of ramen broth and what are they made of?
There are three main parameters on which you can differentiate between ramen broths, which are its heaviness, broth base and seasonings.
Have you ever felt fuller after eating a bowl of ramen? That’s mainly because the broth was heavy. A heavy broth is rich, sticky, thicker, and is jam-packed with minerals, vitamins, and emulsified fat. It is usually made with bones, and the colour is opaque. In contrast, you can find light broths as well. These are typically thin and clear broths. That’s because the cooking time is less as compared to the heavy broths.
The broth base means the ingredients that are used to develop the basic flavour. You have the luxury to choose from chicken, pork, beef, or vegetables. The use of ingredients is strictly based on the choice of base.
Lastly, seasonings play a significant role in ramen and its flavor. Traditionally there are three main choices of seasonings you will have. These are:
- Shoyu: In Japanese, soy sauce is known as Shoyu. As the name indicates, it has a dark color. That’s because of the soy sauce in it. Apart from this, it is a lighter broth. The soy sauce used is a mixture of several herbs and dried seafood.
- Shio: In Japanese, shio is for salt. So, this broth base is saltier. It is usually made from chicken, seafood, or pork. The thing about it is that it is lightly flavored, low in fat, and clear. The main attraction is the salty flavor.
- Miso: It is a rich and thick ramen broth that has an umami flavor. It is made from fermented soybean paste, and that’s how you get the unique and complex flavor.
Types of ramen toppings
There are so many different toppings you can choose to enjoy your ramen. Here are a few to name:
- Braised pork: Roasted or braised pork is everyone’s favorite and a must-have topping on ramen. The thinly sliced pork belly or loin goes so well and adds so much flavor.
- Green onions or leeks: Another must-have topping is the shredded or chopped green onions or leeks.
- Bamboo shoots: Preserved bamboo shoots add texture to the ramen.
- Seaweed: Nori is one of the most popular ramen toppings. Other seaweeds include wakame.
- Bean sprouts: these add crunch and sweetness to the ramen.
- Fish cake: Steamed fish cake slices also add so much flavor to the ramen.
- Daikon radish: It is another favorite with tangy and rich flavor.
- Mushrooms: Especially shiitake mushrooms are loved by all.
- Eggs: You can go for heard-boiled or soft-boiled eggs. Furthermore, ramen eggs are unique ingredients. These are soft-boiled eggs that are soaked in mirin and soy sauce. As a result, they have a custard-like yolk.
Ramen Nutrition Information
Here is the nutritional information for a bowl of store-bought ramen.
- Calories: 188 kCal
- Carbohydrates: 27 grams
- Total fat: 7 grams
- Protein: 5 grams