Secret of a delicious soup : "dashi(soup stock)"
Ramen is a dish in which the balance between noodles and soup is very important, so restaurants are very passionate about making soup, aiming for a full-bodied taste.
A delicious miso and soy sauce-based soup rich in umami complete the work of noodles inside the bowl.
The Secret of a delicious soup is "dashi", or soup stock. At a ramen specialty store, various ingredients are slowly simmered and heated over a long time to make this soup stock.
Some places take even several days to achieve the best "dashi". Then, other ramen stores prepare a delicious soup stock that is rich enough to not necessarily be combined with sauce.
In this blog, we will introduce the main ingredients used for soup stock.
Pork bones are the most commonly used ingredient to make ramen soup broth. There are five types of pork bones: knuckle, rib and spine, leg and head but even within the same pig, the appearance of each bone can differ. With these ingredients a lot of different soups can be made by various combinations.
Pork bones are characterized by their high collagen content compared to chicken bones, and a large amount of gelatinous material, ideal to obtain a firm soup. The oil produced then can be seen over the surface of the sauce. However, if you keep boiling for a long time, the floating oil will disappear and the soup will become cloudy. This is because the gelatinous substance dissolved in the soup acts as an emulsifier, and the oil separated from the soup emulsifies and dissolves in it. When the turbid soup is so well emulsified it is said that this makes the taste smoother and brings another flavor to the soup.
The soup taken from chicken is characterized by a large amount of glutamic acid, a component of umami taste. This ingredient is the basis of the ramen soup flavor. However, compared to pork bones, chicken has less protein called collagen, which is the source of gelatin. So even if it is boiled for a long time, it does not become cloudy, remaining a clear soup. If you use not only chicken bones but also chicken parts with meat, you can get sweet and thick soup without turbidity. This happens because there is a lot of protein, which is the source of umami in the meat as well as a lot of collagen in the bone part near it. In addition, a lot of collagen is also contained in the feet of chicken commonly referred as “maple leaf” (momiji in Japanese) for their resemblance.
Dried fish flakes (for Japanese-style dashi broth)
Dried bonito or mackerel flakes are used to prepare Japanese-style soup stock. To get a Japanese-style soup you should combine kelp with dried fish flakes. This follows the Japanese method of obtaining a taste using different ingredients rather than only one. Scientifically indeed combining the Inosine acid from bonito flakes and glutamate of kelp will make the broth taste more delicious. This kind of stock also has the function of eliminating the smell of pork bones.
Soups that use bones, especially pork bones, need to have their smell reduced. Onion, garlic and ginger are suitable for this. Ginger, in particular, contains ingredients that eliminate the smell of meat and fish, so its deodorizing effect is significant. By simmering vegetables with a pungent taste and a distinctive odor such as garlic and onions, the smell will change into a sweeter one giving the soup a moderate sweetness. In order to produce this natural sweetness, it is best to prepare it simply with vegetables without adding sugar.
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