The way they do it in Japan is to prepare everything separately, and combine it in your bowl. This method makes more dishes, but it makes sure that each item is at the right done-ness (instead of getting soggy noodles because something else in the pot needs more time). Once everything is ready (broth is hot, noodles are done, toppings are ready), then the meal is composed in the bowl, and the hot broth is poured over.
Figure out how much liquid you need for the # of people you are serving, and only make up that much broth/liquid. In my earlier attempts, I would fill up a large stock pot with broth, only to realize it was out of proportion with the toppings. Pouring broth over a bowl with the right amount of toppings is another safeguard to getting the right proportions of liquids to solids in ramen.
You can make different kinds of ramen, mostly based on the liquid you use.
- Shoyu ramen: broth + soy sauce, the easiest, and what I made below
- Miso ramen: what it sounds like, broth + miso
- Tonkotsu Ramen, or Ippudou style broth, the kind that is milky white/opaque color. I've read this is from using specific bones from a pig. See Mark's blog for a recipe for Tonkotsu Ramen.
Make good quality bone broth. I made mine from grass fed beef bones. You can use a slow cooker or a pressure cooker to make your bone broth.
Measure out the right amount of liquid for the number of people you are serving- approximately 8 oz per person.
Bring it up to a simmer. Season with garlic and soy sauce.
Meanwhile, prep your toppings:
- Carmelize white or yellow onion slices in oil and a generous portion of salt
- Cook up your protein. I browned large slices of firm tofu in oil with a sprinkle of salt. I've seen hard boiled eggs used, as well as braised meat slices like cha-su.
- Chop veggies you want to include, like the broccoli I used. If the vegetable takes a while to cook, consider steaming or boiling it separately to make sure it's done before adding to the soup.
- Slice up green onion or negi
- Measure out 1 tsp wakame flakes per person
Cook up the noodles. I used buckwheat ramen noodles- you could find any kind of noodle you like. Either cook these in a separate pot and strain (like they do in Japan), or carefully cook them in the broth.
When the noodles are ready, broth is hot, and the toppings are ready, assemble everything in a bowl. I start with the noodles and add the toppings, then pour the broth over the top. Serve immediately.