There is no doubt about the convenience of authentic Japanese ramen, but ramen is more than the 3-minute meal that has made it famous. There are many authentic Japanese recipes that are taking the world by storm. Still, how in-depth is your knowledge of authentic Japanese recipes?

Best Japanese Ramen Ingredients

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table__image Nissin Raoh Ramen Noodle
  • Affordable despite their premium quality
  • Steam-cooked then triple air dried
  • Made in Japan
Check Price on Amazon.com
table__image King Soba
  • Made from 100% buckwheat, which produces gluten-free flour
  • Tasty and with a surprisingly stretchy texture
  • Additive and preservative-free
Check Price on Amazon.com
table__image Dynasty Bamboo Shoots
  • Unique taste and texture thanks to fermentation
  • Popular in all kinds of Asian dishes
  • Seasoned with a blend of ingredients, including sugar
Check Price on Amazon.com
table__image Roasted Seaweed – Nori
  • Vital ingredient in Japanese cuisine for ages
  • Nori can used for sushi and ramen alike
  • Plenty of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids
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table__image La Choy Bean Sprouts
  • Add flavor to otherwise bland foods
  • High vitamin and mineral count
  • Boost the amount of iron you get in your body
Check Price on Amazon.com

This guide will supplement your knowledge of authentic Japanese ramen and feature some popular ramen recipe ingredients you can buy online.

Why Online?

Most shops and supermarkets outside Japan rarely stock authentic Japnaese ramen ingredients. However, online stores like Amazon have them in plenty.

Where do you even begin with ramen? Their pool of lip-smacking savory deliciousness, their convenience, and their versatility make ramen noodles a winner any day. Today, ramen is a global dish and has found its way from instant packets to formal dining tables.

The popularity of ramen has seen many restaurants specializing in ramen mushroom on every corner of the globe, each serving one or more of the traditional authentic Japanese ramen recipes. Outside of Japan, a bowl of authentic Japanese ramen might cost you a pretty penny.

In Japan, ramen is every kind of food – soul food, fast food, and even drunken food. Here, authentic Japanese ramen feature in shops at the train station or tucked inconspicuously in side streets. It is in these shops and stalls that the young and old gather for their bowl of authentic Japanese ramen regardless of season or time of day.

Authentic Japanese ramen recipes vary depending on the region. Different regions use different toppings and broths. While this guide will give you an idea of how you can add some oomph into your bowl of ramen, it will barely scratch the surface of this cuisine.

Ramen first found popularity in Japan after it was introduced from China. It is an adaptation of China’s Lamian. However, to call a noodle dish ramen, it has to consist of a soup or broth and wheat noodles.

In this guide, we will base our discussion on the noodles, toppings, and the broth’s flavor, but first, the recipe.

Traditional Japanese Ramen – Miso Recipe

When making ramen, forget the flavor pack and make your own broth. Making your own ramen soup accords you a healthier and more nutritious meal – and it is the authentic Japanese way of enjoying noodles.

For this recipe you will need the following ingredients:

Miso – Miso is a major ingredient in Japanese cuisine and more so in ramen. Miso paste is made with fermented soybean. There are different miso flavors depending on the brand and manufacturer.

Chili bean sauce – made from chili bean paste, this condiment adds a depth of flavor and spiciness into your ramen soup.

Sesame seeds and sesame oil – these add a nuttier and richer flavor into the ramen broth. The seeds are crushed in a mortar and pestle. You can also use a coffee bean grinder to grind the sesame seeds.

Chicken broth/stock – you can buy this from the store or make it at home. Homemade is always richer and more flavorful, but we have found that Trader Joe’s has one of the few good store-bought stocks.

White pepper powder – if you like your ramen extra spicy, a sprinkle or two of white pepper should do the trick.

You can also add sugar to mitigate the saltiness of the miso and chili bean paste if the broth turns out too spicy. The last ingredient, although optional, is sake which tones down the meats smell while adding a subtle sweetness and umami to the dish.

For the noodles, you have a choice of fresh – sun noodles and dried – Hime dry noodles. We will cover toppings below but some popular ones include Chashu (braised pork belly), ramen egg, shiragi negi (leeks), spinach, butter (if you are making miso butter ramen), Japanese cheesecakes, Negi, tofu, and mushrooms.

The toppings you use are up to you and your preference. Chashu and ramen eggs should be prepared a day before. Below are the ingredients for a serving of two.

Ramen Broth Ingredients

·   2 cloves of garlic or 1.5 teaspoons of minced garlic, ½ a teaspoon of grated ginger, one tablespoon of sesame seeds, and one shallot

·   A tablespoon each of white roasted sesame seeds and sesame oil, sugar, sake, and a teaspoon each of chili bean sauce, sea salt, and a ¼ teaspoon of pepper powder

·         Approximately one liter of chicken stock

·         ¼ pound of ground pork

For the ramen and toppings, you will need two servings of ramen noodles, Chashu pork, bean sprouts, seaweed, scallions, sweet corn, and boiled eggs.

Preparation

Set all the ingredients on your workspace. Grind or mince the ginger, shallots, and sesame seeds. Add these into a pot or saucepan of hot sesame oil and fry until fragrant. Add the meat and fry until all the meat is brown. Throw in the miso paste and chili bean paste and mix thoroughly.

Add the ground sesame seeds and taste before adding sugar. Depending on the taste, season accordingly; sake and chicken stock come after. Let your broth simmer and add seasoning to taste. As you cook the noodles, cover the broth and let it simmer through.

When cooking your ramen noodles, do not add salt to the boiling water as noodles are made with alkaline water. While preparing the stock and noodles, the toppings should be ready so you can serve when hot.

Once the noodles are ready, drain the water completely so they don’t dilute your miso broth, serve in a bowl, add the broth on top of the noodles and top with your favorite toppings. Enjoy!

Ramen Noodles

Many noodles are egg yellow. The color comes from a type of alkaline water known as Kansui that is used in the manufacture of ramen noodles. Additional ingredients in the manufacture of ramen noodles are wheat flour, water, and salt. Authentic Japanese ramen recipes feature thick, wavy, thin, or straight noodles.

While most ramen noodles come with flavor packs, when using a recipe for authentic Japanese ramen, you don’t need the flavor pack. In any case, the flavor packs are choke-full of synthetic flavors and preservatives.

Nissin Raoh Ramen Noodle

Nissin Raoh

You know it is the best option for your authentic Japanese ramen when it is made in Japan. The Nissin Raoh brand of noodles has some of the most authentic Japanese noodles that are not only tasty but also healthy. Unlike other fried noodles Nissin Raoh noodles are steam-cooked then triple air dried.

The company says they derive their inspiration from the ramen shop scattered across Japan. The taste of Nissin Raoh best Japanese noodles is authentic and they are affordable despite their premium quality texture. When buying, make sure you are buying the imported version which has a more authentic taste and flavor than the US-made.

Nissin Raoh

Ramen so authentic, it's an instant classic


Shim Ramyun NongShim Gourmet noodles

NongShim Shin Ramyun Noodle Soup

On Amazon, these NongShim gourmet noodles are the #1 best sellers. Couple that with the more than seventeen hundred reviews and an average of 4.6 stars and you understand the near perfection quality of these noodles. The noodles are soft and chewy when ready and with a spicy beef broth from an authentic Japanese ramen – these noodles are a pleasure for any palate.

As a global leader in the manufacture of Japanese noodles, shin Ramyun has a worldwide distribution and commands reverence in the industry. These NongShim noodles are perfect for all authentic Japanese ramen recipes.

NongShim Shin Ramyun Noodle Soup

Premium Quality - The spicy flavor, cooked with beef, mushrooms and carrots, was inspired by the world's finest peppers.


Indomie Instant Noodles

Indomie Mi

Another addictive instant ramen noodle is Mi Goreng’s Indomie. Unlike other brands, Indomie is halal certified, and the company goes even further and adds a callout for buyers with food allergens – something we don’t see often. The company lists sesame seeds and sesame oil, soy sauce, and wheat as possible allergens that consumers should be aware of.

If you fancy the flavor packs that come in noodle packs, you will love the variety of Indomie, which is why it is nearly addictive and very tasty. Each pack comes with 5 packets – one dry seasoning, one dried onion pieces, and one onion sauce packet, a sweet soy sauce, and a spicy chili sauce packet.

It comes in three flavors – original, chicken, and spicy and you can get it in a pack of five, ten, or thirty.

Indomie Mi Goreng Instant Stir Fry Noodles

INCLUDES: 30 individually wrapped packets of Hot & Spicy Indomie Mi Goreng noodles.


King Soba Gluten-Free Soba Noodles

King Soba 3-PACK Gluten Free

Many noodles are made out of a blend of wheat and other ingredients. However, not everybody can tolerate gluten in wheat. But that does not mean you cannot enjoy a bowl of ramen. The wheat noodles alternative popular in recipes for authentic Japanese ramen is soba noodles.

Soba ramen noodles are made from buckwheat which produces gluten-free flour. While there are Soba noodles that are a blend of buckwheat and regular wheat flour, the King Soba noodles are 100% buckwheat.

Although Soba noodles have a different taste, they are tasty and have a surprisingly stretchy texture. In Japan, Soba noodles are eaten on New Year as a symbol of breaking away from the old year. Pure Soba noodles are also tastier and have a better texture than buckwheat and wheat noodles – although opinions differ.

King Soba noodles are additive and preservative-free and are certified organic by the USDA. They are also sodium free and have low-fat content and are fiber rich.

King Soba Gluten Free

All king soba noodles are organic, wheat-free, gluten-free and non-GMO.


Japanese Ramen Toppings

The fun and complex taste of ramen come from the different toppings used. Without the toppings, you would have a plain bowl of characterless noodles. Below are the most popular traditional Japanese ramen toppings.

Menma

Dynasty Canned Sliced Bamboo Shoots

The Japanese are famous for their traditional cuisine infused with ingredients you rarely find in other parts of the world outside Asia. One of these and a staple in ramen is Menma. Menma is bamboo shoots that are lactated-fermented. Often, Japanese import Menma from China.

Menma boasts a subtle sweetness and is popular in all kinds of Asian dishes from ramen, to rice, soups, and even stir-fries. During preparation, bamboo shoots go through a seasoning process with a blend of ingredients including sugar, salt, sesame oil, and soy sauce.

They then go through fermentation which gives them their unique taste and texture. You can buy Menma in canned or pickled form.

Dynasty Canned Sliced Bamboo Shoots

All natural.


Roasted Seaweed – Nori

ONE ORGANIC Sushi Nori

Seaweeds have been a vital ingredient in Japanese cuisine for ages. Apart from their unique taste, seaweeds are prized for their health benefits. Seaweeds have plenty of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, iodine, DHA and EPA omega-3 fatty acids, and are full of probiotics and fiber which improve gut health.

There are many types of seaweeds in Japan’s culinary circles. Some of them include Nori, Wakame, Hijiki, Kombu Kelp, and Mozuku. Out of these, Nori is the most popular. Specifically, Nori is widely used as a sushi wrapper and in many Authentic Japanese ramen recipes to garnish food worldwide.

While Nori is used for sushi and ramen alike, Wakame is the other popular seaweed used in ramen recipes. Wakame has a briny and salty taste that mildly reminds you of anchovies. The seaweed has a subtly sweet flavor, is tender, and has a light crunch. You’ll often find Wakame in soups and salads including miso and tofu salad.

Wakame boasts a low-calorie count making it a favorite for weight watchers. It even has its own salad that is topped with vinegar, roasted sesame seeds, and soy sauce.

ONE ORGANIC Sushi Nori

USDA Organic Roasted Seaweed.


Bean Sprouts

La Choy Bean

Bean sprouts are another popular ingredient in traditional Japanese cuisine. Bean sprouts add flavor to otherwise bland foods, but other than a touch of flavor, these shoots are full of health benefits.

They have a high vitamin and mineral count. Some vitamins in bean sprouts have shown to reduce stress and anxiety. Their high foliate content also makes them a contender for the best foods with eye benefits. The mung bean sprouts also boost the amount of iron you get in your body, effectively improving your immune system.

Last, the manganese found in mung bean sprouts helps boost strong bone formation and reduces the risk of osteoporosis.

Other popular ramen toppings include Chashu (braised pork), Kakuni (cubed and praised slow-cooked pork belly, black garlic oil, and eggs among others.

La Choy Bean Sprouts

Make mealtime easier and add a touch of Asian flavor to your favorite meals with La Choy Bean Sprouts.


Ramen Broth Flavors From Japan

There are three core ramen broth flavors from which different chefs form their own ramen recipes and flavors. It is from these core recipes that chefs birth secret recipes. For the more experimental chefs, ramen broths will feature additional Japanese ingredients including different aromatics, seaweed, vegetables, and animal bones.

There is a major confusion among Japanese food enthusiasts. Most think Tonkotsu is one of the ramen broth flavors. On the contrary, Tonkotsu is actually a base and not a flavor. Tonkotsu is a broth made from simmering pork bones with different seasonings for hours at a time.

The chicken broth is known as Tori Paitan. Without further ado, here are the three core Japanese ramen flavors.

Miso

Of the three Japanese ramen flavors, Miso is the richest and heaviest. It has a bolder flavor and a more complex profile than the other two flavors. In its birthplace on Hokkaido’s northern island, the numbers of miso ramen broth variations are as many as the miso paste blends.

Miso ramen broth is made with miso paste. To make miso paste, manufacturers use different ingredients to bring out a variety of flavors. Among those ingredients are koji culture, yeast, water, salt, organic rice, and organic soybeans.

Sometimes, miso paste will also have seaweed and barley as ingredients. the resultant fermented-paste is thick with uses ranging from pickling meats and veggies, spreading, and flavoring ramen broth.

Miso paste is high in protein and rich in both vitamins and minerals. Typical miso has a salty flavor although different recipes and fermentation processes result in different tastes and aromas. Some are even sweet and others fruity.

Shoyu

Shoyu ramen broth features soy sauce as the defining ingredient. However, the soy sauce used for Shoyu ramen broth is not your average everyday soy sauce. Shoyu soy sauce has a stronger, more distinct flavor profile and a different manufacture process.

Shoyu also comes in different forms, and each is best suited for certain foods. The different forms of Shoyu soy sauce are:

Koikuchi – koikuchi is a dark soy sauce with a strong flavor and it accounts for approximately 80% of all Shoyu soy sauces used worldwide. A popular koikuchi soy sauce brand is Kikkoman. Koikuchi soy sauce is popular due to its flavor and its versatility for use in a variety of recipes.

Awaguchi – Awaguchi has a lighter color and a subtler flavor than koikuchi soy sauce. The salt content of Awaguchi soy sauce is still high, and it is best suited for pairing with tofu or stews.

Saishikomi – Saishikomi is the darkest and most savory Shoyu soy sauce on the market. The manufacturing process for saishikomi involves the use of twice as many ingredients as used in koikuchi. The fermentation period for saishikomi is also double that of koikuchi.

Shiro – while a direct translation of the name means white soy sauce, the actual color of Shiro Shoyu is amber. Shiro is best for making Japanese sweet omelet (tamagoyaki) as it is lighter and has a mild flavor. Shiro has one of the highest wheat contents of any soy sauce.

Tamari – during the manufacture and fermentation of tamari Shoyu, the percentage of soybeans is higher than that of water. The ratio in the blend that makes tamari gives a highly fragrant and savory soy sauce.

Mikasa Jones
Mikasa grew up in the dynamic Harlem neighborhood of New York City. Mikasa defines herself as an adaptive young woman who has been immersed into various cultures not just in the United States, but also her mother's hometown in Yokohama, Japan. She is a chef by profession and is an active member of the American Culinary Federation. She swears by a cup of hot matcha after a long day, saying that it helps her relax and focus on her tasks on a day-to-day basis.

Japan Daily Press is one of her outlets for sharing information with readers about the accessibility of commercially available Japanese products. She thinks that the misconception of sub-standard quality and taste of commercial food should be erased because there are a lot of manufacturers that are really stepping up their game in terms of developing products that are as close to authentic as possible.