All recipes are for 2 servings unless noted. Oil is canola oil and salt is kosher salt.

2018-05-14

Shoyu raamen / ramen with soy sauce flavored soup

One of the standard ramen noodle variations in Japan comes with soy sauce flavored broth. Here is a tasty example topped with asparagus and eringi saute for spring and early summer. A combination of homemade chicken stock with a soft ginger aroma and niboshi-kobu-shiitake dashi (dried young sardine, kelp & dried shiitake stock) provides a flavorful underlying tone.



Proportion of seasonings was figured out backwards, starting from total sodium figures and the salt level needed to ensure tasty results, and it did work like magic after several trials and adjustment. Once you get the right proportion of seasonings, this is pretty simple to make and satisfies your taste buds.


1/2 of recipe:
427 calories; 18.2 g protein; 5.9 g fat; 74.7 g carbohydrate; 8.4 g net carbs; 500 mg sodium (with koikuchi shoyu regular soy sauce & shoyukoji made with 50% reduced-sodium soy sauce); 27 mg cholesterol; 5.3 g fiber; 612 mg potassium


<Ingredients>
2 chuka soba ramen noodles (two 90 g dried Japanese-style Chinese noodles by Miyakoichi in photo)

For soup
400 cc chicken stock
400 cc niboshi-kobu-shiitake dashi [dried young sardine, kelp & dried shiitake stock], made with the following ingredients
     7 g niboshi dried young sardines (heads and bellies removed)
     0.9 g kombu kelp piece
     0.6 g hoshi-shiitake dried shiitake mushroom
     500 cc water
2 tbsp koikuchi shoyu regular soy sauce
2 tsp shoyukoji soy sauce rice malt
1 tsp oyster sauce
1/2 tsp shiokoji salted rice malt
1/2 tsp kurozu brown rice vinegar

For topping
8 asparagus (170 g in photo)
1 medium eringi king oyster mushroom (62 g in photo)
1 green onion (18 g in photo)
1 clove garlic
1 nitamago flavored soft-boiled egg
1/2 tsp sesame oil (to saute asparagus and eringi)
Black pepper, to taste


<Directions>
1.

Make chicken stock and niboshi-kobu-shiitake dashi as necessary. For niboshi-kobu-shiitake dashi, dry toast niboshi (in pan or microwave), add kelp, dried shiitake and water, and let sit for hours to overnight if possible. Simmer down to 400 cc (if short, add water to obtain 400 cc). See Miso yasai ramen recipe for the process in detail.

2.

Put chicken stock and niboshi-kobu-shiitake dashi in a pot, and add all seasonings.
Soup is ready once heated.

3.
 Start boiling plenty (approx. 4,000 cc*) of water for cooking noodles. (*Enough to warm serving bowls as well as to ensure that most sodium in dried noodles is released into boiling water). Once water boils, take some hot water to heat serving bowls.


4.

Skin tough part toward root end of asparagus, and diagonally cut into relatively thick slices.
Remove discolored ends and cut eringi mushroom in thick stick shape.
Grate garlic, and thinly slice green onion.

5.

When water boils vigorously, add noodles, and cook as directed on package until desired softness.

6.

In the meantime, heat sesame oil and saute asparagus and eringi on medium heat for a few minutes, until asparagus is tender.

7.

Heat soup as necessary.

8.

Once noodles are done, drain well, and put into individual bowls.
 Pour over soup.
Place asparagus & eringi saute on top.

Cut and place nitamago flavored soft-boiled egg.
Put green onion slices and grated garlic.
Grate some black pepper.
Ready to serve.  

<Notes>
  • Nutrition figures above are based on the assumption that 40% of soup is consumed (with noodles & toppings, and separately taking several sips). The sodium figure is based on measurement of leftover soup.
  • The goal for the soup's salt level is between 0.8% and 0.85%, the level at which we both currently find soup to be salty and tasty. Setting the level at 0.9-1.0% would be safer if you are familiar with the taste of real Japanese ramen soup from restaurants and are just starting to reduce overall sodium intake in your diet. The sodium level of soup at ramen shops could easily reach 1.5%.
  • Below is how I figured out how much seasoning I can use for the soup and why I chose individual items. Bear in mind that sodium figures are simply theoretical based on data, and errors cannot be avoided. With this in mind, the table gives some idea of what we can do.
  • IngredientAmountSodium contentNotes
    Stock 
    (283 mg sodium)
    Chicken stock 400 cc63 mg (0.04 %)Mixing several types of umami boosts umami effects (inosinic acid of chicken and niboshi; glutamic acid of kelp; guanylic acid of dried shiitake)
    Niboshi-kobu-shiitake dashi400 cc 220 mg (0.14 %)
    Seasonings (2443 mg sodium)Koikuchi shoyu regular soy sauce2 tbsp (36 g)1880 mgRegular soy sauce with stronger and deeper flavor, not reduced sodium soy sauce, is selected
    Shoyukoji soy sauce rice malt (made with 50% reduced sodium soy sauce)2 tsp 
    (12 g)
    200 mgPartially replaces soy sauce while adding sweetness
    Chinese oyster sauce1 tsp 
    (6 g)
    273 mgAdds depth to taste and flavor
    Kurozu brown rice vinegar1/2 tsp (2.5 g)0 mgPartially replaces soy sauce and oyster sauce
    Shiokoji salted rice malt1/2 tsp 
    (3 g)
    90 mgReplaces salt while adding sweetness
    • Total weight of soup (for two) is about 860 g; when salt level is 0.8%, soup contains 2,708 mg sodium (860 [g] x 0.8 [%] / 100 * 1000 / 2.54); when salt level is 0.85%, soup contains 2,878 mg sodium (860 [g] x 0.85 [%] / 100 * 1000 / 2.54).
    • Since stock in total contains 283 mg sodium, total sodium with seasonings can be between 2,425 mg and 2,595 mg. Based on trials, we liked the proportion of seasonings in the table, and sodium figure of seasonings alone totaled 2,443 mg.
  • For the topping, asparagus and eringi are simply sauteed with sesame oil and no salty seasoning is added. Both are rich in umami (glutamic acid) and contribute to overall flavor.
  • Shiro kosho white pepper is more common than kuro kosho black pepper with ramen. Black pepper is my preference.
  • At ramen restaurants, slices of chaashuu braised pork, menma flavored bamboo shoots and a small piece of nori seaweed are common toppings.
  • Since ramen noodles themselves normally contain a relatively substantial amount of sodium, people on a reduced-sodium diet are generally advised to leave behind some portion of noodles. Finding noodles with only a small amount of sodium is the key to making sodium savvy ramen at home.
  • Chuka soba [Japanese-style Chinese noodles] by Miyakoichi (sodium content of 153 mg per 90g dry noodles) contain virtually no sodium after boiling with 3,000-4,000 cc water.


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