Ramen is getting very popular in India! But do you know there various types of ramen available?
Ramen is a popular Japanese dish that consists of Chinese-style wheat noodles served in a meat- or fish-based broth, often flavouring it with soy sauce or miso, and topped with ingredients such as sliced pork, dried seaweed, and green onions. The word "ramen" is derived from the Mandarin Chinese word "lāmiàn where "la" means "pulled," and "mian," which means "noodles." While one theory holds that the Chinese neo-Confucian scholar Zhu Shunsui brought ramen to Japan in the 1660s after finding asylum in Japan, it is most widely believed that Chinese immigrants who lived in Yokohama Chinatown brought ramen to Japan in the late 19th or early 20th century.
Although ramen originated in China, the Japanese adapted it and made it their own. It is considered a comfort food in Japan and has become a staple in many countries around the world. Ramen noodles were initially considered a cheap, filling food for working-class people but soon became a cultural phenomenon, with various regional styles and ingredients being developed across Japan. Ramen is a versatile dish that can be enjoyed as a quick snack or as a full meal, and its preparation methods can vary greatly depending on the region or personal preference. Despite its evolution and global appeal, the dish has remained a beloved staple of Japanese cuisine and an iconic symbol of Japanese food culture. Today, ramen is enjoyed not only as a traditional dish but also as a gourmet food, with many high-end restaurants serving artisanal versions of the dish.
The term "assari" refers to "light" or "unsaturated" in Japanese. Assari broth is often distinguished by a light and simple flavour profile, as well as a clear and delicate broth. Assari ramen is typically made with a clear chicken or seafood broth and features thin noodles and minimal toppings such as green onions, dried seaweed, and a small amount of sliced meats. This style of ramen is often contrasted with the more robust and flavourful varieties of the dish, such as kotteri ramen, which is less dense than the kotteri variant, which is opaque in colour and has a rich, fatty consistency. Assari is sometimes referred to as "chintan," which encapsulates its own personality. Although this soup also contains pork or chicken bones, it lacks the white colour of kotteri because it is boiled more slowly over low heat to avoid becoming cloudy. Because less fat is extracted from the bones during this process, assari also tends to be less filling.
Miso, a fermented soybean paste that gives any dish a sweet, salty, savoury, and funky flavour, is another well-liked ramen spice. White, yellow, and red miso are the three different varieties. Miso ramen frequently includes white miso because of its nutty flavour. This longer-aged, stronger-flavoured, and significantly funkier miso is referred to as "crimson ramen."
The term "shio" means "salt" in Japanese and refers to the type of broth used in this style of ramen. Shio ramen is typically made with a clear, light-coloured broth seasoned with salt, soy sauce, sake, and seaweed. The broth is usually light in colour, with a clear and clean flavour like assari, that showcases the natural taste of the ingredients. The noodles used in shio ramen are typically thin, firm, and curly, and they are served in flavourful broth along with toppings such as sliced meats, green onions, nori (dried seaweed), and eggs. Shio ramen is considered a lighter and simpler style of ramen compared to other types like tonkotsu (pork bone broth) or miso, and is popular among those who prefer a clean and refreshing flavour profile.
The term "shoyu" refers to soy sauce in Japanese and is used to describe the flavour profile of this style of ramen. While soy sauce has its roots in China, shoyu is distinctive since it describes a 13th-century Japanese method of fermenting soybeans with wheat. This seasoning intensifies the salty undertones and also imparts a rich umami flavour. Shoyu ramen is traditionally made with a clear, amber-coloured broth flavoured with soy sauce and other seasonings such as sake, mirin, and seaweed. The broth is rich and savoury, with a salty and slightly sweet flavour balance.
Wontonmen, Or Wonton Ramen
As the name suggests, wontons are added to the soup; however, this style of ramen can be made with any broth or flavour. Japanese wontons resemble Chinese wontons; however, the ratio of the filling to the wrapper is different. The wrapping functions as an additional noodle in the soup in the Japanese versions because there is less content. Wonton is often served with clear assari broths such as shio or shoyu. Although any type of ingredient could be used for the filling, shrimp and pork seem to be the most popular.