I didn’t have my first bowl of real ramen until I was well into my twenties. Even though ramen has been really popular for awhile, there still isn’t anywhere local here in Montana where you can get a bowl. I had my first bowl at a little place in Calgary where they make the best tempura I’ve ever had – it’s shatteringly crisp and not at all heavy. As it would happen they served this sublime tempura alongside bowls of traditional Japanese ramen, and all I can say is wow… just wow!
I grew up with American ramen, as in the processed version that bears little resemblance to the real thing. But I’m not too snobby to say that I adored it, and my favorite flavor was about as American as you can get, yep that’s right chicken! My cousin and I used to have contests to see who could eat their bowl of ramen noodles the fastest, and my record time I’m embarrassed to say was 45 seconds. Real ramen on the other hand is so good, you want to savor every bite, not inhale it!
Apparently the Top Ramen I grew up with is called Mr. Noodles in Canada. My Canadian husband didn’t know what Top Ramen was, but as I was explaining it, all of a sudden a light bulb went on and he said, ‘oh you mean Mr. Noodles’ to which I responded ‘what?’. This happens all the time with us, we’re both full of sayings and things the other one has never heard of. For instance, before we got together I’d never heard of ketchup chips (they have pickle chips too) both of which are apparently very common chip flavors in Canada.
But anyways… the whole Top Ramen/Mr. Noodles got me thinking about making a real food version of my childhood favorite that would be transportable. I haven’t gotten the bouillon part down yet, but hopefully by next winter I’ll have a good version of this chicken ramen that can go in mason jars for the fridge. My end goal would be to just add hot water like the individual noodles cups you can buy. I’ll keep you updated on how the experimenting goes. But for now I have a killer version of chicken ramen that will have you happily eating ramen for days in a row!
The broth is the biggest part of any soup, especially when you start from scratch with Homemade Chicken Stock. Once you have the broth made, it doesn’t take much time to assemble a bowl of ramen. I like making double and triple batches of broth and freezing the extra portioned out so that I can have an easy bowl of ramen in the weeks to come.
Once the broth is finished, I like to add some sliced mushrooms to simmer while I assemble the rest of the ingredients.
The chicken, greens, and zucchini noodles can all be done in the same pan, I used a 9″ cast iron pan. After the chicken has finished cooking, set it aside to cool a bit (this makes it easier to cut up) then sauté the greens just until wilted and set them aside as well. And finally give the zucchini noodles a quick sauté to barely soften them.
Then layer all the ingredients into bowls before pouring the hot broth over the top. For the traditional soft boiled egg, I finally gave up and just poached mine. I wrecked a lot of eggs trying to get it just right but the eggs were either under or overcooked, and then there was the matter of peeling them which was a total disaster because the shells just wouldn’t come off (you have to have old eggs for them to peel easily).
Poaching them seems like the best option to me because it’s so easy. You just bring a pan of water to a boil, and then lower the water to a simmer. Then you add 1-2 teaspoons vinegar to help the egg white stay nice and put together, and crack the eggs 1 at a time into a shallow dish before gently lowering them into the water. And finally, simmer to your desired doneness – I like mine with the yolks quite runny which mixes in with the broth in the final dish.
You can garnish with a little bit of shredded nori for an authentic touch, or leave it out for a more American flavor. If you’re ever passing through Calgary, the place I mentioned earlier is called Shikiji, and I can’t wait to go back to try some more of their noodle bowls, (you know… as on the ground research for more recipes)!
- 8 cups Homemade Chicken Stockor good quality stock
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tablespoon ginger, minced
- 2 Tablespoon gluten free soy sauce or coconut aminos
- Sea salt to taste
- 8 crimini mushrooms, washed and sliced, 5 ounces
- 1 Tablespoon avocado oil
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, 1 pound
- 4 cups spinach/beet greens/baby kale mixture or use 1 type of green
- 4 large zucchini, spiralized into noodles with the small blade, 2 pounds
- 4 eggs + 2 Teaspoons vinegar for poaching
- 1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
- Toasted sesame oil for drizzling
- Torn nori for garnish
- Whether you're using homemade of store bought stock, bring it to a simmer and add the garlic and ginger. Simmer on low for 10-15 minutes before straining the stock.
- Add the soy sauce or coconut aminos and season the broth to taste with sea salt, this will vary greatly depending on what kind of chicken stock you're using. Add the sliced mushrooms to the seasoned broth and simmer over very low heat while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
- Heat a 9" cast iron skillet over medium high heat, when the pan is hot add the tablespoon of avocado oil along with the chicken breasts. Partially cover the pan and cook the chicken for about 8 minutes before turning it over. Cook for another 8-10 minutes or until it's no longer pink, remover the chicken from the pan and set aside to cool. Cut the chicken into slices or bite sized pieces.
- Add about 1 Tablespoon of water to the pan you cooked the chicken in to loosen the browned bits along with the greens, and sauté until just wilted. Remove the greens from the pan and set them aside. Sauté the zucchini noodles in the same pan until just softened, and then portion the noodles, greens, and chicken into bowls.
- Bring a couple quarts of water to a boil in a frying pan with high sides. After it comes to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and add 1-2 Teaspoons vinegar. Crack the eggs 1 at a time into a shallow dish and gently lower them into the simmering water. Cook until your desired doneness is reached, I like mine at about 3-5 minutes with runny yolks. The timing varies depending on the size of your eggs.
- When the eggs are done, remove them from the water with a slotted spoon and place 1 each in the bowls with the rest of the ingredients. Pour the boiling hot broth over the top (the extra hot temperature is important to help warm up the ingredients that have cooled a bit). Garnish with green onions, sesame oil, and nori - serve immediately.
I like to make large batches of everything but the eggs so that I can put together a bowl of soup quickly throughout the week.
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