This chicken ramen dish has a lot of ingredients in it, but it can be simplified pretty easily. Just a little less over the top and it’s still soooo good to slurp on. It really uses dry ramen noodles and store bought dumplings, so that in itself takes a load off!
We like making this with our homemade chicken bone broth. Mastering a bowl of good chicken bone broth is not hard. You just have to have a little patience. Lots of people are skipping this long simmer process that I use and turning to insta-pots for home-made broths. Great way to get it done quickly and I understand from my friends who are insta-pot fans, the results are the same. So you choose. Making your own broth gives this ramen dish so much more depth. But honestly, with all the aromatics that go in the second stage of this recipe, you could have a really nice bowl of soup with a good store bought chicken broth. I will tell you though, it will go noticed if you make your own broth. Worthy of standing ovation in my book! Again, you choose.
FOR THE CHICKEN BROTH
Makes approximately 4 quarts of broth. Make a day ahead so broth completely cools and you can scoop off the fat.
- 1 whole fresh organic chicken – 4-1/2 to 5-1/2 pounds
- 10 organic chicken wings (or 6 organic chicken feet)
- 2 T extra virgin olive oil (or rendered organic chicken fat)
- 2 medium onions, peeled & quartered
- 1 large head of garlic, cut in half with skin on
- 4 stalks of organic celery
- 2 large organic organic carrots, cut in thirds (skin on)
- 4 whole organic bay leaves
- 3-1/2 Quarts of water
- 1 tsp raw apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp whole black peppercorns
When I make broth, I remove the chicken breasts from the whole chicken and save them for another dish. In this recipe, the chicken breasts will be cooked and added to the ramen soup, so it works out perfectly. Simply cut the meat from the bone in two whole pieces with the skin. Refrigerate until ready to use. In a large stock pot (6 quarts), add in olive oil, quartered onion, garlic, celery, carrots, bay leaves and then the chicken and chicken wings. (I highly recommend trying chicken feet for bone broth and getting them from a store like New Seasons, Sheridan or Market of Choice. You may have to plan ahead for this because chicken feet are in high demand during the winter months. Lots of soupers cooking at home! If you can’t find them, use wings. Wings or feet are an important element to achieve the rich collagenic/gelatinous aspect to homemade broth) Pour in your water. Add vinegar and peppercorns. On medium low heat, cover your stock pot. When broth begins to simmer, skim off the foam from the top and discard. Cover pot, reduce heat to low and let broth simmer for 5 – 6 hours. When done, remove carcass and set aside until cool. Remove wings (or feet) and all other ingredients and toss. Pour liquid through a strainer and into another stock pot or stainless bowl. Set aside to cool a bit, then transfer to quart jars, cover and put into the fridge. You should get close to 4 quarts. You’ll use 2-1/2 quarts for your seasoned ramen broth. The other 1-1/2 quarts can go in the freezer for another day. As for the meat on the chicken carcass, you can save this and use in other soups. Pull all that you want to reserve from bones. If using within a day or two, put in container and into the fridge for up to 4 days. If using later, put in freezer safe container for up to one month. We use this meat for chicken rice soups, curries, bbq chicken sandwiches, tacos and burritos.
FOR THE SEASONED RAMEN BROTH
Makes 2-1/2 quarts for 6 large servings
- 2 T good dark sesame oil
- 2 onions, peel, cut in have and slice moon shaped slices
- 3 whole cloves of garlic, minced
- (1) 3 inch finger of fresh organic garlic
- 1-1/2 T grated organic ginger, use a planer to get ginger really fine
- 2-1/2 quarts of organic chicken broth
- 3 whole anise
- 2 T organic tamari
- 1 small dried red chili or 1 tsp chili flakes or 3-4 slices of jalapeño (omit or use less for a less spicy version)
In a medium stock pot on medium heat, add sesame oil and onions and cook for 4-5 minutes, add garlic, ginger slices and grated ginger. Cook for another 3-4 minutes. Add chicken broth, anise, tamari and chili. Bring to a low boil for a couple of minutes then reduce heat, cover and low simmer for about 15 minutes.
FOR THE RAMEN SOUP INGREDIENTS
- 6 packages of ramen, cooked al dente WITHOUT seasoning packet. Set aside to cool
- 12 pork and vegetable dumplings of choice, cooked according to directions (you’ll need two per bowl)**
- 2 chicken breasts with skin, seasoned, and fried to acheive crisp, golden brow skin
- 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil, plus more for frying and sautéing (see instructions)
- 1/2 tsp each garlic powder, chili flakes, five spice, salt
- 1 bunch Chinese spinach or baby bok choy, cut into 2 ” lengths
- 2 purple carrots, cut into thin 3 to 4 inch lengths (orange carrots are totally fine)
- 12 whole cloves of garlic, sliced and fried
- 3 large shallots, sliced and fried
- 6 organic green onions, cut in 1″ lengths
- Hoison and chili sauce of choice (optional)
- 6 large soup bowls, chop sticks, soup spoons
Drizzle your chicken breasts with sesame oil and season with garlic powder, chili flakes, five spice and salt. In a saute pan add 1 teaspoon each olive oil and sesame oil. On medium heat, place chicken skin side down in pan and cook for 8-9 minutes. Careful not to burn. Skin should be golden brown when you flip it over. Flip chicken over and continue to cook for another 7-8 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest until slicing. With a sharp knife, slice thin fork-size pieces. Set aside until ready to assemble. In a saute pan add one tablespoon of sesame oil and saute Chinese spinach for 4-5 minutes until stems are tender and leaves are wilted. Season with 1/2 teaspoon of tamari. Remove from pan and into a small bowl until assembly. In the same pan add in one tablespoon of sesame oil and saute carrots for 4-5 minutes until fork tender. Remove from pan and place into a small bowl until assembly. Wipe pan down, add more oil and begin frying your sliced garlic for about 5 minutes. Careful not to burn. Garlic should be golden brown when done. Remove and drain on paper towel. Next fry sliced shallots in same pan with a little additional oil. Shallots will take about 5 minutes and have a slight caramelization to them. Drain on paper towel until ready to assemble.
Arrange all your prepared ingredients in mixing bowls for easy assembly. Begin by putting equal amounts of cooked noodles in each soup bowl. Add two dumplings per bowl. Decoratively add equal amounts of fried chicken, spinach, carrots. Ladel 1-1/2 cups hot broth into each bowl and top with fried garlic & shallot, green onions, hoison and hot sauce.
**We have often used shu mai or potstickers for our dumplings. There are so many good ones on the market, so for this ingredient, please feel free to use store-bought fresh or frozen dumplings.
Other ingredients to consider for your ramen bowls : boiled eggs, fried eggs with runny yolk, mushrooms, green beans, bean sprouts, squash, pork belly, shredded pork, grilled shrimp, crispy wonton skins, curried fish, seaweed, kale, chard, tempura vegetables or meats.
Using fresh udon noodles in this dish is also FANTASTIC! Using fresh egg noodles or rice noodles ALSO FANTASTIC! Just cook according to directions and assemble in the same way.