Japanese ramen is wonderful, but it has nothing to do with the dried package of noodles and the accompanying seasoning package that you find in grocery stores.
In Japan, ramen noodles are freshly prepared, not dried. What can be served with ramen is a world unto itself, and includes an array of vegetables, pickles, cooked meats, even a soft cooked egg.
Chef John Currence of Oxford has a nice take on ramen in his cookbook, “Pickles, Pigs & Whiskey: Recipes from My Three Favorite Food Groups and Then Some,” see it on page 146.
I like the ham stock that he uses, and the quality of the stock is what makes or breaks ramen, just like in Vietnamese pho, ramen’s cousin.
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Another interesting take Currence offers is using buckwheat noodles instead of the traditional ramen noodle. Fresh ramen is just not available in this part of the world, but a dried variety can be found at most Asian markets (try Lee’s International Market in Biloxi).
Here is my take on John's recipe. If you want to see exactly how he does it, buy the book.
SOUTH MISSISSIPPI RAMEN
4 cups homemade ham stock (made with smoked ham)
1 dash fish sauce
1 dash good quality soy sauce
1 good pinch red pepper flakes
2 cups roughly cut roasted pork shoulder
2 cups ramen or buckwheat noodles
1 small bunch cilantro
1 duck egg per bowl (find in Lee Market)
Combine the ingredients and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the noodles and cook in the simmering stock just until done. Serve in warmed bowls, add 1 egg per bowl, cover and allow to cook with residual heat until firm. Serve at once.