Ramen gets a bad rap. After all, what’s the first thing many Americans think of when they hear the word "ramen"? Top Ramen and Cup Noodles, of course. But these over-salted, artificially flavored versions that are a staple of college dorm rooms everywhere and the workhorse of hangover prevention are a far cry from the real thing. After all, no one really thinks that the Japanese would be caught dead eating this stuff out of a Styrofoam cup with freeze-dried carrots, corn, and peas.
No, they would be making their own ramen. And going out to a proper Japanese ramen joint is about as close as you could get to homemade — until now. That’s because we’ve put together four approachable ramen recipes for you to try at home, and they’re not just any ordinary ramen recipes. Because anyone can go out for a "typical" pork broth-based ramen, we decided to break out of the ordinary flavors of shio (salt), miso, and shoyu (soy) ramen. So go ahead, we dare you to try this at home, because it’s time to break out of that ramen funk.
Regular old shoyu (soy-flavored) ramen gets a spicy kick from spicy chile bean paste (la doubanjiang) in this recipe from Namiko Chen, author of the blog Just One Cookbook. (Photo courtesy of Namiko Chen)
Here’s a seafood twist on ramen with firm Japanese roots. Meaty tuna steaks get a quick sear on a hot skillet, leaving a perfect, bright red center. Open up a bottle of Sapporo and call it a day. (Photo courtesy of Ian Garlick)
Vegetarians often get left out in the cold at traditional ramen joints, so here’s a delicious homemade version courtesy of chef Tony Messina at Uni Restaurant in Boston. (Photo courtesy of Uni Restaurant)
Tomatillos? Aji amarillo? These aren’t ingredients you’d normally associate with ramen, but if you’re looking for a Latin twist on a traditionally Japanese dish, this one’s the ticket. (Photo courtesy of Wanda Colon)
Will Budiaman is the Recipe Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow him on Twitter @WillBudiaman.