Umami Mart Sake
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Piggybacking on Yamahomo's drunk cooking post, this week's Japanify introduces techniques for making instant ramen that will please drunks. After a long, explosive night of dancing, my husband prepared Sapporo Ichiban instant ramen.

An avid eater of Sapporo Ichiban instant ramen in his native Japan, my husband was ecstatic that Sapporo Ichiban was also available in his new country of residence (America). Upon eating his first pack in California, he was appalled at that the bad noodle quality of American Sapporo Ichiban. To improve the flavor and texture of the almost inedible noodles in American Sapporo Ichiban ramen, he experimented and came to the same conclusion that the late Julia Child would come to time and again: butter. The butter coats the otherwise, low-grade noodles to possess a texture that is less spongy and also helps the noodles to have more umami.

Instant ramen sounds like a trip back to the college years, but the following introduces some additions and techniques to turn the most popular meal in dorm rooms coast-to-coast to an umami-pumped midnight indulgence for us more mature folks...

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Boil water in a large pot.

Add the noodles.

Cut up leftover veggies into small pieces. We had shiitake, green onions and shiso leaves to spare.

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Boil the noodles (see package for boil times).

Throw in the shiitake and green onion for the last minute or two. Add the soup packet.

Turn off the heat and add a pad of butter to the mixture. Mix well.

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Plate the noodles in bowls and serve to your hungry, drunk guests.

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Column: Japanify
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14 comments

  • Also, def must try this butter trick! GENIUS!

    kayoko on

  • i was a little hungover today so had my hangover ramen. The egg is mandatory for me.

    Shiitake? CLASSY!

    kayoko on

  • Ew yeah, Yamahomo, just thinking of that horrible burp makes me want to hurl a little. You might be onto something with cooking the noodles and the broth separate.

    And Kayoko, yes, an egg is an excellent addition too.

    yoko on

  • Does butter trick also get rid of horrible burp for the rest of the day? How about cooking noodle and soup separately, like real ramen? We may be able to get rid of that horrible fried taste by doing this. Then what’s the point of “instant” ramen, I guess.

    Yamahomo on

  • OMG, that is wrong on so many levels. I want to try it too…

    yoko on

  • My sister’s fiance likes to cook spicy Korean ramen with a Kraft singles on top. How’s that for nasty?

    … I want to try it.

    seri on

  • Really guys? Come on, the point of instant ramen is the sheer and utter NASTINESS! Cooking the noodles separately totally defeats the purpose of A) “Instant” and B) The fried taste.

    Burping is so necessary.

    GROOOOOOSSSSSS.

    kayoko on

  • That korean ramen with Kraft singles are actually a legit dish. Just like spam sushi, people in Korea learned this from some military experience. It’s called Budae jjigae. It has ramen, cheese and spam in it.

    yamahomo on

  • OH MY GODDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD

    kayoko on

  • 100% behind the sesame oil! Boiling noodles separately for tonkotsu instant ramen can help take the starch out of the sheer MSG rush! It might be a bit blasphemous, but I’m firmly in the camp of adding fresh coriander (urm,cilantro?) to almost anything can help too!

    Tom Loake on

  • Cheese is a lifesaver when you don’t have an egg. If you don’t even have cheese, a few drops sesame oil makes ramyun magic. I don’t like cooking the noodles and soup separately, makes for bland noodles and thinner soup. Grease is key for delicious ramyun!

    bionicgrrrl on

  • I love sapporo ichiban~

    Nobuko on

  • Nothing is wrong if it’s for the umami cause. I will definitely have to try sesame oil.

    yoko on

  • Ooooo, now this is wrong – but bacon in chicken instant ramen…umami win!

    Tom Loake on

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