Known worldwide, this Japanese dish can be traced back to the 19th century when Chinese tradesmen brought a wheat-noodle soup to the shores of Japan. However, it wasn’t until the 1970s when the advent of instant ramen skyrocketed this dish to heightened status.
Even with my basic, exceptionally limited knowledge surrounding it, I feel like I could write an entire book dedicated to the subject. And while it might appear to be a simple dish, make no mistake, creating a good bowl of ramen is nothing short of an art-form that many spend their lives and dedicate their careers to perfecting. So, where does that leave us, the home cooks living with our picky eaters? Surely we can do better than a pack of instant ramen or an expensive bowl at a restaurant?
Bearing all this in mind, I wanted to create a recipe that anyone can make at home without spending days laboring over each element. And so began the research, and the testing, and the endless stream of notes jotted down in my oh-so-terrible handwriting, punctuated by angry scratch offs, directional arrows, and the occasional blot of ingredients.
But after all that, I’m happy to say that I’ve developed a healthy, hearty, and simple recipe that features all 5 ramen elements.
So…what are the 5 ramen elements?
Put simply, they are the 5 elements that make up a ramen bowl. They include:
- Tare: This is what adds the salt and body/depth to our broth. Added into the bowl first, it sets the pace of the dish and can be adjusted to suit your preference. There are three types of tare. Miso (made from fermented soybeans and salt), Shoyu (soy sauce) and Shio (salt).
- Broth: This is the bulk of our bowl’s liquid. It can be either rich and creamy (paitan) or light and clear (chintan) depending on the stock and a whole host of other things. Typically the broth is mild and has little to no salt (that comes from the tare!)
- Noodles: Ahhh, the ramen noodle. Long thin strands of chewy noodles that are perfect for slurping. The science behind what makes a ramen noodle perfect is near overwhelming, but for this particular recipe I’ve opted to use brown rice ramen noodles (and I say that knowing there are many out there who would cringe at the blasphemy, but that makes this recipe both clean eating and gluten-free so hey, that’s a plus!)
- Toppings: Where to even begin? The options are endless, from your choice of protein ranging from pork belly to tofu to chicken, to the veggies, to the perfectly cooked egg that has a custard-like center, to the other optional “fixings” like fish cakes, seaweed, or even butter!
- Garnishes: This is the final layer, the top layer of sprinkled/drizzled goodness. Ranging from aromatic oils to sesame seeds and chives, this is the finishing touch that completes your bowl.
Like the title states, this is a chicken ramen seasoned with soy sauce and it’s made for two people (if you want to serve more be sure to scale your recipe accordingly). Simple and hearty, let me show you in six steps how to make this gorgeous bowl. Let’s get to it, shall we?
Step 1: Make the Chicken.
Chicken (Shoyu) Ramen without the chicken is simply unacceptable. So we’re going to make our chicken and in the time it takes our chicken to finish we’ll make the rest of our bowl.
To start, preheat your oven to 375°F and gather your ingredients. You’ll need:
- Chicken: I’m using bone-in, skin on thighs. It’s my favorite for flavor and juiciness and the crunchy sear on that skin is irreplaceable!
- Salt: I’m using a pink Himalayan but you can also use sea salt
- Ground black pepper: Fresh ground or pre-ground works fine.
- Extra light olive oil: Or any neutral clean label cooking oil.
- Butter: Salted or unsalted this is optional but since it plays a role in cooking our chicken and in garnishing our bowl, I recommend not skipping it.
To make the chicken we need to set an oven-proof skillet (cast iron is my go-to) over high heat. Pat your chicken dry using paper towels and liberally season with salt and pepper on both sides.
Add your oil to your hot, just smoking, skillet to lightly coat the bottom and place your chicken thighs in, skin side down. After 3-5-minutes, when your chicken has let go of the pan and the skin is crispy and browned, flip each piece and cook for another 3-5 minutes.
Once done, lift each piece, place a piece of butter below it, and place your skillet into your preheated oven for about 15-20 minutes to finish cooking.
Step 2 & 3: Make your Broth and Tare.
To make your broth you’ll need the following:
- Sesame oil: Pure or toasted, the choice is yours.
- Garlic and Ginger: Raw and freshly grated. I don’t recommend powder of either kind for this recipe.
- Chicken broth: I highly recommend a good quality, rich bone broth for this recipe. (Don’t forget to ensure that the ingredients used are clean eating approved!)
For the tare, combine the following:
- Soy Sauce (Shoyu): Low sodium, light, dark, shrimp, sweet, the choice is honestly yours. Though I’ve given measurements it’s advisable to adjust to suit your taste. Note: If you’re aiming for gluten-free, be sure to use a gluten-free brand of soy sauce.
- Mirin: Or rice vinegar, this little kick of acid is just enough to make your tare pop!
- Raw Cane Sugar: Since raw cane sugar tends to have larger crystals, I’ve finely blended mine to allow it to dissolve easier.
In a hot pot, add your sesame oil and fry your garlic and ginger until fragrant. Add your broth and bring to a rolling boil before removing from the heat.
Now this is where I’ve taken some liberty in that I add my tare directly to the broth after I removed it from the heat. Since our ramen will be served right away, the flavor profile isn’t affected. That being said, for a more traditional ramen, make and reserve the tare for the plating and assembly step.
Step 4: Prepare your Toppings and Garnishes.
For this bowl I’m using the following toppings:
- Soft boiled eggs: Boiled to have a perfectly custardy yolk, more on that in a moment.
- Ribbons of carrots: stripped off using a vegetable peeler.
- Shiitake mushrooms: Quickly steeped in the hot broth to cook and soften them. You can use fresh or dried, whole or sliced. Trust me that shiitake’s are the best mushroom option for their incredible (umami) flavor!
- Bok Choy: Quickly steeped in the hot broth to cook and soften or you can saute them separately in a touch of oil or butter.
- Pickled Ginger: as a garnish and because I enjoy the flavor.
- A small sheet of nori (seaweed): as a garnish.
- Chives: as a garnish.
- Black and white sesame seeds: as a garnish.
- And of course our Chicken, which, once it’s cooked, remove it from the oven and let it rest for 5 minutes. Then, remove and discard the bone and slice your chicken into bite-sized pieces.
- Also, the extra oil, chicken drippings and butter that is in the pan with the chicken…don’t discard it! We will be using that as our aromatic oil. You can drizzle it over the final plated bowl or quick fry some herbs or spices before drizzling it over everything.
The toppings are honestly endless so feel free to use whatever you like. The sky is the limit! I’m curious though as to what kind of toppings and garnishes do you like or recommend? Let us know below!
So, about those eggs. Here’s how to get a perfectly soft boiled egg that has a silky smooth custard-like yolk:
Set a pot of water to boil. Once it’s boiling, add your (preferably room temperature) eggs and boil for exactly six minutes. Prepare an ice bath. Once the six minutes are up, remove the eggs from the hot water and immediately place them into the ice bath for a few minutes. Once they’re cool, peel and set them aside. We’ll slice them just as we’re plating our bowls.
Now, I feel it wouldn’t be right to not make mention of the more traditional ajitsuke tamago (aka nitamago) which is the same soft-boiled egg that’s marinated in a combination of water, soy sauce and mirin. The issue here is that it takes hours to marinate and for the flavor to penetrate the eggs, so unless you have it pre-made, it will cost you time.
Step 5: Prepare your Noodles.
I’m using a dried, brown rice ramen noodle which makes this recipe gluten-free! Prepare your noodles according to the package directions. We only want the noodles so be sure to boil them in plain, unsalted water. Once they’ve boiled, drain and set them aside. Our last element is now complete! All that’s left to do is…
Step 6: Assemble your bowl.
We’re on the homestretch and it’s finally time to plate up!
- Begin by adding the tare and broth to the bowl.
- Next, pile a portion of noodles in the middle of your bowl.
- Around the edges of noodles, place your toppings including the mushrooms and bok choy, carrots, sliced soft boiled egg, sliced seared chicken and all other toppings.
- Garnish your bowl with sesame seeds and chives and maybe even some red pepper flakes.
- Finally, finish your bowl with a drizzle of the reserved oil and fat from the seared chicken along with any spices you quick fried in it. Or you can also use any other aromatic oil from chili oil to sesame oil.
- Enjoy! ❤️
Arranged how you like, topped with what you like, adjusted to suit your preference, this easy ramen bowl is a winner. Rich, hearty, and simple to make, it’s the perfect balance of all flavors and textures.
I’d really love for you to give this recipe a try and you’ll see for yourself just how amazing a bowl of homemade ramen can be. If you do give them a go, let us know how it turned out! Leave a comment below or reach out to us on social media (@kitrusycleaneat and #kitrusy) and don’t forget to snap and show off your pics by tagging us so we can celebrate your creations together! 🥳
Easy Clean Eating Chicken (Shoyu) Ramen For Two
Toppings and Garnishes:
- 2 bricks brown rice ramen noodles or any ramen of your choice
- 4 cups water to boil noodles in
- Preheat oven to 375°FPat chicken dry and liberally season on both sides with salt and pepper.Heat a cast iron skillet until smoking hot and add the oil and place the chicken skin side down. Cook for 3-5 minutes until the skin has crisped up and has let go of the pan. Flip and cook for another 3-5 minutes to brown the underside.Lift each piece and place a sliver of butter underneath and place the skillet into the oven for 15-20 minutes to finish cooking.Once cooked, slice just off to the side of the bone, remove the bone and cut each half into slices. *Use the reserved fats and oil rendered in the pan as an optional aroma oil to drizzle over your completed bowl. If desired, use it to quick fry herbs and spices (such as garlic or chives)*
- In a medium pot add the sesame oil along with the garlic and ginger. Fry until fragrant.Add broth and bring to a rolling boil before covering and turning the heat off.
Make (and Add) Tare:
- In a bowl combine the soy sauce, mirin and sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add your tare to the broth and stir to combine. *If opting for a more traditional route, reserve the tare for the assembly step.*
Prepare toppings and garnishes:
- Eggs: Bring a pot of water to boil. Once boiling, place room temperature eggs into the water and boil for 6 minutes. After 6 minutes, remove and place the eggs into an ice bath to stop the cooking. This will give a soft boiled egg with a creamy (not runny!) center.Mushrooms: Place mushrooms into the still hot broth and allow them to simmer for a few minutes. Bok choy: Place bok choy into the still hot broth and allow them to simmer for a few minutes until wilted. If using whole bok choy, separate the white stem from the green leafy section and slice the whites into strips. When plating, place the whites first and the leafy greens on top. Carrots: Use a vegetable peeler to cut your carrots into ribbon strips. Chives: finely chop chives into thin rings
- Boil noodles according to package directions in plain, unsalted water. Drain and set aside.
- *If you reserved the tare: place a spoonful of tare into the bottom of a bowl.*Ladle your broth into your bowl.Add the cooked and drained noodles to the center in a pile and surround the noodles with toppings of your choice including your sliced chicken, bok choy, mushrooms, carrots, soft boiled egg, chives, pickled ginger, sesame seeds etc. If using nori, tuck it to the side of your bowl so that it sticks up over the top of the rim or you can shred it into thin slivers.If desired, drizzle chili oil, sesame oil, or reserved chicken fat* over the top. Serve immediately.