Friday, January 8, 2016

Pressure Cooker Shoyu Ramen [Zack]

I’ve always wanted to cook a bowl of Japanese ramen from scratch, but I’ve been overwhelmed by the task.  Despite the fact that I’m willing to spend the large amount of time in the kitchen to make the soup base, the sheer number of conflicting recipes and techniques made my head spin.  There are many different types of ramen soups (Kenji explains here), and each classification of soup has many different recipes (just like Italian grandmas and their red sauce).

I was watching “A Mind of a Chef” with David Chang and he seemed really laid back about the whole process.  After re-watching the ramen scene many times and searching the internet, I gave it my first try.  The result was amazing and the process was actually pretty simple!  I’m going to attempt to explain below:

I made Shoyu Ramen based on a Momofuku recipe I found online.  You make a base stock using kombu (Japanese seaweed), dried shiitake mushrooms, veggie aromatics, chicken bones, and pork bones.  You then make a bacon and chicken-flavored soy sauce “Tare” to mix into the base stock.  Add in noodles, an egg, scallions, roasted pork, and mushrooms and whamo!  It’s ramen.

Since the stock base takes so long to simmer, I ran a side-by-side experiment with a pressure cooker version and a stove top-simmered version.  I wanted to see if I could speed the recipe up.  Both stock bases were full-bodied and delicious, but the pressure cooker took only 3 hours, while the simmering stock pot took ~10 hours.  Below you can find my “fast” version of Ramen using the pressure cooker.  Disclaimer:  this is not meant to be the ultimate authentic recipe, but a good beginner’s bowl of ramen.


This pressure cooker recipe will produce around 10 bowls of ramen.  If you want to make a lot more since you’re going through all of the work to make the stock, you can double the recipe and use multiple stock pots.  Simmering on the stove gets the same results, it just takes longer.

Start by making the ramen stock base:
Fill your pressure cooker (or multiple pots) ½ way with water.  Set on the stove and bring the temperature up to 150F.  Add the 1.5 oz kombu and 2 oz dried shiitake mushrooms and remove from the heat.  Let it steep like a tea for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

While the stock is steeping, roast the chicken bones and pork bones in the oven at 425F until browned – about 45 minutes.  No need to salt or season them.  Reserve the pans after roasting so you can scrape the delicious fond into the stock pot.

Remove the kombu and shiitake mushrooms from the pot and reserve the shiitake.  You can pickle them and use them in your ramen.  

Add the roasted chicken and pork to the pot.  Throw in 1 medium carrot and the roots and white parts of 1 bunch of green onions.  Add a bit of water to the roasting pans and scrape the brown bits into the stock pot.  It’s free flavor!! 

Add more water until the bones are covered, but don’t over-fill the pressure cooker per the manufacturer instructions (leave 1/3 empty).  

Close the lid and let the pressure cooker work for 3 hours on low heat.  This will produce a super-concentrated stock.

Remove the bones and vegetables and strain the stock through a cheesecloth.  Skim the fat off of the top - you’ll get enough fat in the soup from the bacon tare.

The soy sauce Tare: 
In an oven-proof pan, roast parts of a chicken (I used 1 back, 1 thigh, and 1 leg) at 425F until browned.  Deglaze the pan with the 1C sake, 1C mirin, and 2C light soy sauce, scraping up the brown bits on the bottom.  Add the ½ lb of smokey bacon and simmer over very low heat for 1 hour.  You don’t want to evaporate and reduce the volume of the tare, you just want to infuse it with the chicken and bacon flavor.

After 1 hour, remove the chicken and bacon from the tare and strain out anything left.  You can pick the chicken meat and put it in a soup if you’d like.

Pickle the re-hydrated shiitake mushrooms:

Cut off the tough stems from the rehydrated shiitake mushrooms.  Slice the mushrooms and toss them in minced ginger and the different liquids.  I did 1T soy sauce, 1/2T fish sauce, 1/2T vinegar, 1 tsp sesame oil, 1T minced ginger, and 1T sugar.

Assemble the ramen:

Decide what you want in your soup.  I included:
  • smoked pulled pork shoulder (from another meal)
  • a sous vide egg at 63C for 1 hour - but you can just soft-boil an egg in a pot for 7.5 minutes
  • chopped scallions
  • pickled shiitake mushrooms
  • fresh noodles
Add 1 parts water to 1 part ramen broth and bring to a heavy simmer. 

In the bottom of each serving bowl, mix ~¼ cup of tare (to taste) with the hot broth.  Drop cooked fresh noodles in and arrange the rest of the ingredients around the bowl.

Ingredients (for about 10 bowls of ramen):
Adapted from David Chang's recipe:

Ramen broth:
1.5 oz dried kombu seaweed
2 oz dried shiitake mushrooms
2 lbs chicken bones with some meat left on them
2.5 lbs pork bones with some meat left on them
1 medium coarsely-chopped carrot
1 bunch of green onions (white part and roots only)

Soy Tare:
1 lb chicken parts (1 chicken back, 1 chicken thigh, 1 chicken leg)
1/2 lb smokey bacon
1 cup sake
1 cup mirin
2 cups light soy sauce

Pickled shiitake mushrooms:
Reserved rehydrated shiitake mushrooms from ramen broth
1T soy sauce
1/2T fish sauce
1/2T vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
1T minced ginger
1T sugar

Ramen garnish:
fresh noodles
pickled shiitake
smoked pork shoulder
soft-boiled egg (or sous vide)
chopped green onions

Song:  James Blake & Bon Iver - Fall Creek Boys Choir


  1. Hi! Giving this a try today. How many pounds did you hold your pressure cooker at? I have 5-10-15 lb options.

  2. Hi James, I used mine on high at 15 lbs. Please let me know how it goes! Good luck :)

  3. If turned out great! Had to make a couple tweaks. I had mine at 10lbs and I think 15 would have made a difference. My broth ended up being good as is and not concentrated. You can check out some photos and notes here:


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