At Home Ramen

I’m not a cup ramen girl. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten a Maruchan, no matter how cute (or addicting from the MSG) it may be. It’s probably all thanks to my mother.

My mother, who is one of my cooking idol, used to work for a famous Japanese foods company, creating and testing their recipes. She sets her food, er, foot down for homemade and nutritious — but tasty! — food.

However, there are days when she wants a bowl of piping hot, fresh ramen. There are very few good ramen-ya in Northern California, where she lives. And you definitely can’t ask her to eat a cup of Maruchan. Since Japan is a bit far away, my mother relies on nama ramen (fresh noodles) from Nijiya Market to create a tasty meal. I also highly recommend the Nijiya nama ramen if you can find them. I’m not usually a fan of miso broth, but their miso ramen was delicious. It’s simple: boil the noodles, add in the sauce to hot water, and then add toppings.

A list of great ramen toppings, starting with my three absolute favorites:

  • Menma, flavored bamboo shoots
  • Hanjuku tamago, “half boiled” eggs that are usually flavored
  • Nori, sheet of seaweed
  • Wakame, seaweed
  • Corn
  • Chashu, braised pork
  • Slices of green onion
  • Vegetables: Boiled spinach, sauteed bak choy — Ramen is a surprisingly easy place to fit in some vegetables.
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