This Tonkotsu Shoyu Ramen Recipe is made with pork belly, ramen, shiitake mushrooms, kombu, bonito flakes, soft boiled eggs and scallions.
Shoyu Ramen is a classic Japanese noodle soup known for its savory soy sauce-based broth. This popular dish originated in Tokyo and has since gained international recognition for its rich flavors and comforting appeal. The word "shoyu" refers to soy sauce, which is the key ingredient that gives this ramen its distinctive taste.
Traditionally, Shoyu Ramen consists of a flavorful broth made from a combination of chicken or vegetable broth, soy sauce, and other seasonings. The broth is simmered with aromatics such as garlic and ginger, creating a fragrant and umami-packed base. The noodles used in Shoyu Ramen are typically thin, curly, and made from wheat flour, providing a satisfying chewy texture.
What is Shoyu Ramen?
Shoyu Ramen is a traditional Japanese noodle soup dish known for its soy sauce-based broth. It is one of the most popular types of ramen and is widely enjoyed in Japan and around the world. "Shoyu" refers to soy sauce, which is a key ingredient in the flavorful broth.
The broth of Shoyu Ramen is typically made by combining soy sauce with a rich and savory base such as chicken or vegetable broth. The soy sauce provides a deep umami flavor, while other seasonings like mirin (sweet rice wine), sesame oil, garlic, and ginger are added to enhance the taste. The broth is simmered to develop a complex and robust flavor profile.
Why you will love this recipe
- Flavorful Broth: The soy sauce-based broth in Shoyu Ramen is packed with rich, savory flavors. The combination of soy sauce, aromatics, and other seasonings creates a deeply satisfying and well-rounded taste profile that is both comforting and delicious.
- Umami-rich Experience: Shoyu Ramen showcases the umami flavor, known as the fifth basic taste alongside sweet, sour, salty, and bitter. The soy sauce, along with other umami-rich ingredients like mushrooms and seaweed, adds depth and complexity to the broth, making every spoonful a delight to the taste buds.
- Versatile and Customizable: Shoyu Ramen provides a versatile base that can be customized to individual preferences. You can adjust the seasoning levels, add different toppings, and even incorporate additional ingredients like vegetables, meats, or seafood to create a personalized bowl of ramen suited to your taste.
- Noodle and Topping Variety: Shoyu Ramen offers a wide variety of noodles and toppings to choose from. The curly wheat noodles have a pleasant chewiness that complements the broth, while the toppings like chashu pork, soft-boiled eggs, and nori contribute different textures and flavors, adding depth and visual appeal to the dish.
Shoyu Ramen Recipe Ingredients
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make this Shoyu Ramen Recipe. The exact measurements are listed in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
- Pork belly
- Soy sauce
- Brown sugar
- Green onion
- Chicken broth
- Dried shiitake mushrooms
- Dried bonito flakes
See recipe card for quantities.
How to make Shoyu Ramen
Make the Sauce and Pork Belly. Soak the pork belly for 1 hour in cold water before cooking to get rid of dead blood from the bones. Bring the soy sauce, mirin, water, honey, sugar, ginger and green onions to a simmer. Add the pork belly and simmer for about 2 hours, covered, on low heat. When the pork is done, slice it before serving and cut off bone. Set aside. Strain the sauce - this is your Tare.
Make the Dashi. Bring the chicken broth to a light boil and add the shitake mushrooms. Simmer for 2 minutes and remove from heat. Add the Kombu and bonito flakes for 2 more minutes. Immediately strain and return the broth back to the pot.
Serve the ramen. Cook the ramen noodles in another pot. Add the ramen, broth and tare (to taste) in a bowl. Top with a sliced soft boiled egg, shitake mushrooms, pork belly, scallions, and nori.
- Optional: Pour the Tare into the soft boiled eggs and let them marinate for 4 hours before serving.
- For crunchy pork, broil for 2 minutes before slicing.
- Pork Belly: You can substitute pork belly with other cuts of pork such as pork shoulder, pork loin, or even chicken if you prefer a different protein.
- Soy Sauce: Tamari or liquid amino acids can be used as alternatives to soy sauce. These provide a similar salty and savory flavor.
- Mirin: If you don't have mirin, you can use a sweet white wine or sake combined with a small amount of sugar as a substitute. Alternatively, you can use rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar with a touch of honey or brown sugar for a similar sweet and acidic note.
- Honey/Brown Sugar: Maple syrup or agave nectar can be used instead of honey or brown sugar to add sweetness to the broth.
- Ginger: Ground ginger or ginger paste can be used as a substitute for fresh ginger. Adjust the quantity according to your taste preference.
- Green Onion/Scallions: Chopped shallots or leeks can be used as a replacement for green onions in the broth or as a garnish.
- Chicken Broth: Vegetable broth or mushroom broth can be used as a substitute for chicken broth to keep the ramen vegetarian. For a different flavor profile, you can use beef broth or dashi (Japanese fish stock).
- Dried Shiitake Mushrooms: If you don't have dried shiitake mushrooms, you can use fresh shiitake mushrooms or other dried mushrooms like porcini or cremini mushrooms for a similar earthy flavor.
- Kombu: Kelp or seaweed sheets can be used as an alternative to kombu. They add a similar umami-rich taste to the broth.
- Dried Bonito Flakes: Skip this ingredient if you don't have dried bonito flakes. It contributes a smoky and fishy flavor to the broth, but the other ingredients will still provide plenty of taste.
- Eggs: Soft-boiled eggs can be omitted or replaced with other protein options like tofu or seared chicken or beef slices.
- Ramen: If you don't have access to ramen noodles, you can substitute with other types of noodles like udon noodles, soba noodles, or even spaghetti if necessary.
- Nori: Thinly sliced cucumber or blanched bean sprouts can be used as a substitute for nori as a topping for added crunch and freshness.
Shoyu Ramen Recipe Variations
Here are some variations you can try to customize your Shoyu Ramen recipe:
- Spicy Shoyu Ramen: Add a kick of heat to your ramen by incorporating spicy elements such as chili paste, sriracha sauce, or red pepper flakes. Adjust the spice level according to your preference.
- Vegetarian/Vegan Shoyu Ramen: Replace the traditional chicken broth with vegetable broth or mushroom broth to make a vegetarian or vegan version. You can also use tofu or tempeh as a protein substitute instead of pork.
- Seafood Shoyu Ramen: Enhance the flavor by adding seafood such as shrimp, scallops, or fish to the broth. You can use seafood broth as a base or incorporate seafood seasoning like fish sauce or shrimp paste.
- Miso Shoyu Ramen: Combine the flavors of miso and soy sauce by adding a spoonful of miso paste to the broth. This variation adds an extra layer of depth and complexity to the soup.
Check out my Spicy Drunken Noodles Recipe.
To make my Shoyu Ramen Recipe, you will need the following equipment:
- Stockpot or Large Pot: A large pot is essential for making the broth and boiling the noodles. Make sure it's big enough to hold the liquid and accommodate the ingredients.
- Strainer or Spider Skimmer: A strainer or spider skimmer will be useful for removing any impurities from the broth or skimming foam that may develop during the cooking process.
- Mixing Bowls: You'll need mixing bowls to combine and marinate the ingredients like the pork, seasonings, and toppings.
- Chef's Knife and Cutting Board: A sharp chef's knife and a sturdy cutting board are essential for chopping and preparing various ingredients such as onions, carrots, green onions, and other toppings.
- Ladle or Soup Spoon: A ladle or soup spoon is handy for serving the ramen broth into bowls.
- Tongs: Tongs are useful for handling and flipping the meat or other ingredients while cooking.
- Whisk or Fork: A whisk or fork will come in handy for whisking together ingredients like the soy sauce, mirin, and other seasonings.
- Pot or Steamer: If you're making your own chashu pork, you'll need a pot or steamer to cook it until tender and then later slice it for serving.
- Ramen Bowls: Traditional ramen bowls are wide and deep, perfect for holding the broth, noodles, and toppings. However, any large, deep bowls will work if you don't have specific ramen bowls.
- Chopsticks or Soup Spoons: Chopsticks are the traditional utensils used for eating ramen, but you can also provide soup spoons for those who prefer to use them.
- Optional: If you want to make your own noodles from scratch, you may need a pasta machine or a rolling pin and a sharp knife to cut the dough into thin noodle strips. However, pre-packaged ramen noodles are readily available and convenient to use.
How to store Shoyu Ramen
To store Shoyu Ramen, follow these guidelines:
- Refrigeration: If you have leftover Shoyu Ramen, let it cool down to room temperature before refrigerating. Transfer the broth, noodles, and toppings to separate airtight containers. Make sure to strain the broth to remove any solid ingredients. Refrigerate the broth, noodles, and toppings separately to maintain their individual flavors and textures.
- Proper Packaging: Place the strained broth in a sealed container, ensuring it is completely covered. Store the noodles in a separate container, and if necessary, lightly coat them with a little oil to prevent them from sticking together. Toppings like chashu pork, boiled eggs, and vegetables should be stored separately as well.
- Labeling: It's helpful to label each container with the contents and the date of storage to keep track of freshness.
- Refrigerator Storage: Place the containers in the refrigerator and ensure they are tightly sealed to prevent any flavors or odors from mixing. Shoyu Ramen can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 to 4 days.
- Reheating: When ready to enjoy the leftover Shoyu Ramen, reheat the broth separately from the noodles and toppings. You can gently warm the broth on the stovetop over low heat until heated through. Cook the noodles separately according to the package instructions, ensuring not to overcook them. Reheat the toppings separately as needed.
- Assembly: Once each component is reheated, assemble the Shoyu Ramen by placing the noodles in a bowl, adding the hot broth, and arranging the toppings. You can garnish with additional fresh ingredients like green onions, nori, or sesame seeds if desired.
Shoyu Ramen Recipe Top tips
- Use Quality Ingredients: Shoyu Ramen relies on the flavors of the broth, so using high-quality ingredients like good soy sauce, fresh vegetables, and flavorful protein (such as chashu pork or chicken) will greatly enhance the overall taste.
- Marinate the Protein: If you're using chashu pork or any other protein, marinating it overnight in a mixture of soy sauce, mirin, ginger, garlic, and other seasonings will infuse it with flavor and make it more tender and delicious.
- Simmer the Broth: To extract maximum flavor from the ingredients, simmer the broth on low heat for an extended period. This slow cooking process allows the flavors to meld and develop a rich and savory broth.
- Skim the Broth: As the broth simmers, skim off any impurities or foam that rise to the surface. This will result in a cleaner and clearer broth.
- Adjust Seasonings: Taste the broth as it cooks and adjust the seasonings accordingly. Add more soy sauce for saltiness, mirin for sweetness, or other seasonings like ginger or garlic to suit your preference.
- Cook Noodles Al Dente: Cook the ramen noodles until they are al dente, or slightly firm to the bite. Overcooking them can result in a mushy texture.
- Build Layers of Flavor: To enhance the depth of flavor in your ramen, consider adding additional ingredients such as dried shiitake mushrooms, kombu, or bonito flakes during the broth-making process. These ingredients contribute umami notes to the soup.
- Customize Toppings: Get creative with your toppings! Add traditional toppings like soft-boiled eggs, sliced green onions, nori, and bamboo shoots, or experiment with other ingredients like corn, bean sprouts, or sliced mushrooms.
- Serve Hot: Shoyu Ramen is best enjoyed piping hot. Serve the noodles, broth, and toppings immediately after assembling to ensure the dish is at its tastiest.
- Garnish with Fresh Herbs and Condiments: Just before serving, sprinkle some freshly chopped green onions, cilantro, or other herbs on top of the ramen. Add a drizzle of sesame oil, a squeeze of lime juice, or a dollop of chili paste to further enhance the flavors.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove