This savory Shoyu Ramen Recipe is super easy to whip up at home, but is loaded with the deeply nuanced flavor you’d expect from your favorite ramen shop. Learn about the best ramen toppings – and which noodles to use in your own homemade ramen creations!
Shoyu Ramen – 醤油ラメーン
Ramen has always just sorta been there on big days in my life.
I’ll never forget booking my first modeling job in Tokyo. I was on cloud nine!
Accordingly, I celebrated with a steaming bowl of shoyu ramen, slurping noodles at a simple stand-up dining counter in Shimbashi station.
Same on the day we moved to our Brooklyn brownstone. As soon as the last hernia inducing box was stacked in the dining room, we set off to devour rich and sour sura tanmen at the ramen joint down the block from our new abode.
Ramen is just good for the soul.
And whether it’s a celebratory meal, a delicious reward for a job well done, or an infusion of comfort food when life just seems kinda terrible – a big bowl of noodles in savory broth can seem like just what the doctor ordered, regardless of the situation.
I’m always a little shocked by how many of my memories are directly tied to food.
My mom used to make the whole family shoyu ramen after my figure skating competitions as a little girl.
So, in victory – and in the agony of defeat, I grew to associate that specific taste with accomplishment on the ice.
I guess it stands to reason that every time I lace up my ice skates for a zip around the rink in Prospect Park these days, I get a little hungry for shoyu ramen.
I’m so excited that I get to share the steps for making one of the easiest ramen recipes in existence with you today, friends!
Perfectly easy. Perfectly delicious
There are a TON of so-called easy ramen recipes.
I’d venture that some are a little too easy (like boil the noodles – and then add your spice packet, easy). Delicious drunk food – but not dinner.
And some are bordering on waaay too time consuming to execute at home. For example, there’s a reason people just go to Ichiran for tonkotsu ramen instead of boiling pork bones for, like, a fortnight to achieve that perfectly savory, thick, collagen-loaded broth.
Well, ramen lovers, rejoice…
This shoyu ramen recipe is super easy to make at home!
You may just be able to relegate the instant ramen to one of those 4AM-and-one-too-many-bottles-of-wine kind of cooking experiences from now on!
However, there are enough flavor elements at play when developing this proper shoyu ramen broth that you’ll also be proud to put it on the dinner table and say, “Yep… I made this!”
What is Shoyu Ramen?
Shōyu (醤油) is Japanese for soy sauce.
And, while there are intentional variances in flavor and consistency from brand to brand, soy sauce is a fermented brew of roasted wheat and soybeans.
Ramen (ラメーン) is one form or another of noodles served in a soupy broth. But you knew that already, right 😉
Therefore, shoyu ramen is a noodle soup with a savory broth that utilizes soy sauce as its flavor blueprint.
Pretty simple, huh?
Now, just because soy sauce is the base of the flavor, doesn’t mean you simply heat up soy sauce and water and you’re good to go.
Shoyu ramen broth gets some of the more nuanced flavor elements from using things like sake, mirin and dashi to deliver dry sweetness and more developed saline notes.
Also, it’s quite common that many ramen chefs will round out their shoyu ramen broth with seafood, chicken, beef or pork stock.
Toppings typically differ by region, and can be anything from a simple affair of chopped scallions and nori (dried seaweed) – all the way to… well, the sky’s the limit.
If you’re inclined, some of the common additions to shoyu ramen are: chashu pork, togarashi, fish cakes, seafood, corn, bamboo shoots, garlic, ajitsuke tamago (ramen egg), stir fried veggies, bean sprouts, mushrooms, kimchi, yuzukosho, raw shredded cabbage …
The list could go on and on – but you get the idea.
Aside from being absolutely delicious, shoyu ramen is a fun food project, perfect for all skill levels – from the novice to the pro chef.
Some of the different types of Ramen
OK – while the origins of ramen are distinctly Chinese, it’s fair to say that it has been prepared, perfected and served in Japan for long enough to count as Japanese food.
One of the more interesting aspects of ramen in Japan is that different flavors and preparations hail from different regions of the country.
Now, there are a bazillion overlapping executions of ramen in play when eating out – but three primary styles.
- Starting in the north of the country, Hokkaido serves as the birthplace of Sapporo ramen – or miso ramen.
- Coming down to the middle of the country, you’ll find Tokyo ramen, typically having a concentrated flavor essence based on soy sauce.
- Then, in the south of the country (Kyushu – where my mother is from!) is the land of Hakata ramen – or tonkotsu ramen. This is the deeply flavored, super porky, milky white soup that is the result of boiling pork bones for days to leech the essence of the marrow into a luxurious concentration of epic flavor.
A note: some might throw shio ramen (or salt flavored ramen) into that list and make it the fourth primary style.
While those three (or four!) main styles are the basis for most ramen – there are tons of ramen applications that pull from these different styles and introduce their own swagger into the mix.
Of course there are the myriad different types of ramen creations like: curry ramen, sutamina ramen, champon, tsukemen, a cold hiyashi chuka, the soupless abura soba, and…
… well you get the idea.
Seriously, this list could go on forever – but today we’re here to whip up a simple shoyu ramen!
What kind of noodles can I use when making homemade Ramen?
Ramen noodles will run the gamut from fresh to dried to instant.
And while there’s nothing better than eating freshly made – and professionally fussed over – noodles at a delicious hole-in-the wall ramen-ya (or ramen restaurant), fresh isn’t always necessary.
In a professional setting the idea of the perfect noodle stems from which noodle will be the best vehicle to slurp up your soup with.
The ubiquitous wavy, curvy noodles tend to be seen in miso ramen. Straight and thin noodles usually come in the more rustic, thick tonkotsu soups.
My take is slightly less professional and way less steeped in tradition.
Q: What are the perfect noodles to use in your own shoyu ramen at home?
A: Whatever you like. (And sometimes, whatever you’ve got handy)
Seriously, I LOVE fresh noodles. And, these days, some of the packaged dried ramen noodles are totally delicious.
However, in a pinch, a par-fried, dehydrated block of noodles you salvage from a 25¢ packet of Top Ramen will do just fine.
We’re making our soup from scratch for this shoyu ramen recipe, but we’re not reinventing the wheel.
There’s absolutely no shame in keeping things cheap and cheerful when it comes to making dinner – and that logic applies to homemade ramen as well.
Just keep in mind that the noodle blocks you find in the ramen packets at the supermarket or bodega are usually loaded with fat.
Fresh and dried packaged ramen is just pasta – and is, therefore, much better for you.
I’m obviously not a traditionalist – but I love ramen!
How to make this easy shoyu ramen recipe
For those of you just hoping to get to the ‘how to make ramen’ section and whip up some darn noodles, this part is for you!
Also, I think it’s important to see how easy it can be to make restaurant quality ramen in your home kitchen.
Thankfully, this should have a very low intimidation factor!
To start, I like to get some garlic and ginger going in a small pot with a bit of sesame oil. This releases a fragrance that is out of this world!
Next, I add my broth flavoring elements: soy sauce, sake, dashi, etc. Once it’s boiling, lower the heat, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes or so.
In a separate pot, boil your noodles according to the instructions on the package – but make sure to reserve a bit of your noodle water. Don’t throw all of it out!
We’re going to add a cup of the noodle water to our shoyu soup base. Why?
The noodle water is going to cut our concentrated soup base down to a perfect strength.
Added bonus: it’s already piping hot and carrying some of the essence of the alkaline ramen noodles we just cooked.
Now, if you like your noodles on the al dente side, pull them off the heat a minute before you think they’ll be perfectly cooked.
Much like spaghetti, they’ll keep cooking a bit after being taken out of the boiling water. Plus, we’re putting them back into hot soup before serving!
Now, divide your noodles into two bowls, add your soup and toppings and slurp away!
Shoyu Ramen is amazing with a Ramen Egg
Of all the ramen toppings and accompaniments out there, my all time favorite has got to be the ramen egg – or ajitsuke tamago.
These hard boiled eggs that just happen to have an impossibly soft, custardy yolk that elevates any ramen recipe to pro status.
After being boiled just right, these Japanese tamago are left to marinate in a savory brew for anywhere from two-hours to two-days.
The idea is to have the soft yolk stand up to the savory soy sauce based ramen broth, but still melt in your mouth.
It’s a bit of delicious sorcery to be sure!
Be sure to check the recipe for these ramen eggs here.
You can make a batch in advance and keep them in the fridge for any homemade ramen adventures that arise.
When you cut them in half and add them to your steaming bowl of shoyu ramen, you’ll be in seventh heaven!
I’m excited for you to try this easy ramen recipe!
It’s just easy enough that home chefs of all skill levels should be able to step in and crush it. The deep and developed flavors you’ll get with this simple shoyu ramen recipe are totally at odds with the easy factor though!
This recipe also approximates a taste that I hold near and dear to my heart.
I think watching the figure skating at the Olympics this past week really brought out my desire to share this nostalgic recipe with you, friends.
Anytime I slurp my noodles from this shoyu based soup, I can hear my blades on the ice. It’s a recipe that brings me back home.
How about you? What’s something you eat that transports you to a time or place in your life? I’d love to hear about it in the comments section below!
Other simple, delicious Japanese recipes:
- Japanese Fried Rice – チャーハン
- Yaki Udon – やき うどん
- Tamagoyaki – Japanese Omelette オムレツ
- Omurice – オムライス
- Nasu Dengaku – Miso Glazed Eggplant
Did you like this Shoyu Ramen Recipe? Are there changes you made that you would like to share? Share your tips and recommendations in the comments section below!