Popular in the northern island of Hokkaido, traditional miso ramen often features a thick and tangy soup base made with copious amounts of white miso paste. Freshly minced garlic is served on side so diners can give their ramen an extra bit of kick.
- 1 large leek
- 1 large cob corn
- 1.25 litres vegetable stock or dashi (see Note)
- 180 g ramen or somen noodles (see Note)
- 2–3 tbsp miso paste
- 3 tsp soy sauce
- 2 tsp shichimi togararashi (Japanese seven-spice) (see Note)
- salt and white pepper
- 50 g bean sprouts
- 2 tsp freshly minced garlic to serve (optional)
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Slice the white part of the leek into 1 cm thick rounds and set aside. Finely slice the remaining leek and wash very well. Place the leek tops in a medium size saucepan, add the stock and bring to the boil. Add the corn and cook for 10 minutes. Strain, discard the leek and return the stock to the saucepan. Slice the kernels from the cob and set aside.
Meanwhile, cook the noodles according to packet directions. Drain, rinse in cold water and drain again. Set aside.
Return the stock to the boil with the corn cob, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the reserved leek and simmer for 6–7 minutes until soft. Remove the cob and discard. Reduce the heat to low. Combine 60 ml (¼ cup) of stock with the miso paste and mix until smooth. Stir the miso back into the stock and season the soup with soy sauce, shichimi togarashi, white pepper and a pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer and turn of the heat.
Divide the noodles and reserved corn between bowls. Ladle the soup and leek over the noodles and top with bean sprouts. Serve with the minced garlic and extra shichimi togarashi.
• Dashi is a Japanese stock made from kelp and bonito flakes (dried tuna). Whilst not strictly vegetarian, dashi will add depth to the broth. Sold in small packets, use 2 packets dashi to 1.25 litres water.
• Ramen and somen noodles are thin wheat noodles available in the Asian section of most supermarkets.
• Shichimi togarashi is a Japanese spice blend that includes chilli powder, sesame seeds and roasted nori. You’ll find it in Asian food stores. If unavailable substitute cayenne pepper and toasted sesame seeds.
Photography by Benito Martin. Styling by Lynsey Fryers. Food preparation by Suresh Watson.
Pebble bowls from Mud. Chinese soup spoons from The Chef and The Cook.