I grew up in a meat and potatoes house. Dinners were served in generous protein, starch, and vegetable portions. We had soup from time-to-time, but it was of the chowder and stew variety. Brothy pho and hearty ramen bowls weren’t even on my radar.
That’s not to say we didn’t eat well. We did. If you know momma Cowles, you know she secretly harbors a Greek grandma in her big heart, one who loves to ply the ones she cares about with warm, hearty meals.
But when it came to anything ‘Asian,’ that simply wasn’t in my family’s recipe and restaurant wheelhouse.
Which is how, eight years ago, on a cold winter day, Garrett gave me a first — a steaming bowl of pho. Since then I’ve been a ginger-infused noodle and broth enthusiast. And the discovery that ramen came with one of my hands down favorite ingredients in the world – a jammy egg yolk – sealed the deal.
But until a few months ago, my chopstick-soup skills were reserved for dinners out. And lunches. And the occasional breakfast. (Yes, we’ve been known to eat pho and ramen for breakfast.)
Luckily, things changed in February of 2018. Real Simple ran a ‘Make It Yourself’ ramen recipe that’s shockingly easy and undeniably delicious. It does happen to incorporate mushrooms, which are a no-go in our house. And it’s missing some key ramen delights, like a protein and bean sprouts. But those unfortunate flaws are easy enough to overcome. In fact, albeit less healthy and a little more time intensive, I happen to think the end result was a greater depth of flavor. (Hello chicken drippings!)
DIY Ramen Recipe Notes
What follows is my rendition of the Real Simple recipe. You could certainly skip the chicken thighs or replace them with a thinly slice protein. In such a case, you’d substantially reduce the cook time.
I also increased the amount of scallions. And on one hectic night I didn’t have fresh ginger and was reduced to using powdered. The soup still turned out tasty, so you can rest easy if you find yourself in a similar predicament. Finally, the original recipe calls for ‘white miso.’ I was never able to find it, so I used low sodium. Miso has since become a go-to ingredient for adding a little something extra to a lot of my sauces and soups. I’ve even added it to the cooking liquid for things like quinoa.
Inspired by Grace Elkus’s Make It Yourself Ramen as seen in Real Simple’s February 2018.
3 TBS vegetable oil
1 lb bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
Salt and pepper to taste
1 bunch green scallions
1 TBS finely minced fresh ginger
1 tsp chili paste
4 cloves garlic, chopped
6 cups vegetable broth
4 TBS low sodium miso
1 TBS tamari sauce
2 tsp sesame oil
4 soft boiled eggs
12 oz. fresh ramen noodles, halved
4 heads baby bok choy
2 TBS toasted sesame seeds
1 cup fresh bean sprouts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Oil in a large, deep saucepan. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Once oil is hot, add chicken to pan, skin side down. (Chicken pieces should not be touching. Overcrowding the pan will cause the chicken to steam instead of brown. If there’s not enough room, cook chicken in two batches.)
Once skin has browned, flip chicken, returning any first-batches pieces to the pan. Make sure pieces are evenly distributed in a single layer. Slide pan into oven. Cook for 15 minutes. Check chicken using a thermometer. It should register 165 degrees. If it doesn’t, cook and check for 2 – 3 minutes interval until done.
Place pan back on stove. Place chicken on a plate and cover with tinfoil, venting foil to allow steam to escape.
Add scallion whites, ginger, and chili paste to pan. Allow to cook until onions are tender, 1 – 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 – 2 minutes. Add broth and bring to a boil.
In a small glass, add miso. Carefully ladle broth into glass. Stir until miso dissolves. Add dissolved miso, tamari sauce, and sesame oil to pan. Reduce heat to a simmer.
Fill a separate large pot with water and bring to a boil. Add ramen and bok choy. Cook until noodles are al dante, 2 – 3 minutes. Drain. Divide noodles and bok choy evenly between four bowl. Ladle in broth. Slice one soft boiled egg in half per bowl. Top with scallions and sesame seeds. Serve immediately with sriracha on the side.