I should begin by noting that today’s recipe is not some authentic version of Ramen – no, it is not. However it is a delicious approximation of the incredible Japanese noodle soup that, for all of its shortcuts and quick-fix tricks, still does manage to mimic the deep flavors of a real-deal ramen experience, which – if you’ve never enjoyed at a restaurant before, where they specialize in ramen, you should absolutely put it on your food bucket list. Real deal ramen is one of the best culinary experiences out there.
Traditional ramen is made with wheat noodles that are served in a broth that is typically either meat or fish-based. Ramen is flavored with soy sauce, miso (often both) and is topped with aromatics like scallions, and often sliced pork, nori (dried seaweed), and menma.
Chicken Meatball Ramen with Chili Garlic Oil
- 1- oz. dried porcini mushrooms optional, but recommended
- 5 large garlic cloves minced or grated
- Olive oil as needed and directed
- Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes or 1 small hot chili pepper minced
- 1.5 lb. ground chicken
- 2 scallions chopped; greens and whites separated
- 2- inch piece of fresh ginger grated or finely minced
- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 TBSP soy sauce
- 12 oz. shiitake or button mushrooms or a mix of both, thinly sliced
- 2 large carrots thinly chopped/sliced
- 2 TBSP chicken stock concentrate such as Better Than Bouillon
- 12 oz ramen noodles
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Adjust the rack to the top position.
- Add the dried porcinis to a bowl with hot water to cover. Let them soak for a few minutes to soften. Transfer to a high-speed blender and blend into a smooth paste. Set aside for now.
- Add ¼ of the garlic to a small bowl or ramekin, along with 2 TBSP of olive oil and a pinch of crushed chili flakes (or the minced fresh chili). Microwave until fragrant; about 30 seconds (you can do this in a saucepan on the stove, if desired). Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground chicken, the scallion whites, half of the remaining garlic, half of the ginger, panko, and the soy sauce. Gently mix until well combined. Shape into 1 to 1.5-inch meatballs and arrange on a baking sheet. Roast until golden brown and cooked through; about 12 to 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, add about 1 TBSP of oil to a large, deep skillet set over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and carrots, season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook for a few minutes to soften.
- Add a little more oil if necessary and the rest of the garlic + ginger. Cook for 20 or 30 seconds. Add 4 cups water, the chicken stock concentrate, and the pureed porcini mushrooms. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add the meatballs and gently simmer; about 2 to 3 minutes. Taste + season with salt and pepper, as needed.
- Cook the noodles in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender; 1 – 2 min. Drain and rinse the noodles under cold water. Toss them with a little oil to keep them from sticking.
- Add the noodles to individual bowls and ladle the meatballs, veggies, and broth over top. Drizzle with the chili garlic oil and top with scallion greens before enjoying. OR you can add the noodles to the meatballs and broth and serve it family style, all from the same pan (as pictured).