Mushroom & Spinach Miso Ramen with Soft Boiled Eggs & Furikake. A steaming hot bowl of Ramen soup is pretty much the ultimate comfort dinner that takes the edge off those winter nights. This version includes umami-laden mushrooms, silky baby spinach, soft-boiled eggs, and a sprinkle of flavorful furikake seasoning.
History of Ramen soup
People consider Ramen to be a Japanese dish, but there is a historical controversy within local ramen shops about its origins.
What makes Ramen have that chewy texture and yellow color is the mixture of baking soda and water. But where did this combination come from. Some people say Ramen is a Chinese dish called Soba. According to Japanese lore, Ramen showed up between the 17th and 20th centuries. Local “Ramen shops” claim a scholar named Shu Shunsui brought the recipe with him when he escaped Manchu rule in China to serve as an advisor to Japanese feudal lord Tokugawa Mitsukuni.
That would give ramen soup a 300 year history in Japan. But there’s just one problem with that theory. There is no historical record of Shunsui actually cooking Ramen for Mitsukuni.
Another theory credits its origins to Rai-Rai Ken, a ramen shop in Tokyo. Opening its doors in 1910, the restaurant employed Chinese cooks and popularized what was then known as “shina soba”: shina for China. Shina soba caught on with blue-collar workers because it was cheap and filling—a major bonus for diners without much time or money.
World War II all but destroyed Ramen’s first wave of popularity in Japan. At the end of World War II, there were food shortages and famine. The government placed tight regulations on food supplies, and earning a profit via restaurants and pushcarts was strictly prohibited until 1949.
Wheat flour made it onto the black market, and many of the country’s unemployed turned to hawking Ramen on the black market. Its kinda crazy to think that people went to jail for selling ramen.
In 1958, Japan had a Ramen revolution. Instant noodles were invented by Momofuku Ando. He was a Taiwanese-Japanese heritage and the founder and chairman of Nissin Foods. Named greatest Japanese invention of the 20th century in a Japanese poll, instant Ramen allowed anyone to make an approximation of this dish by adding boiling water.
The early ‘70s, the product, advertised as a nutritious meal to nuclear families, was targeted at middle-class women and children.
Beginning in the 1980s, Ramen became a Japanese cultural icon and was a hit around the world. Local varieties of Ramen were hitting the national market and could even be ordered by their regional names. They even opened up a Ramen museum in 1994 in Yokohama.
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Today Ramen is arguably one of Japan’s most popular foods. Tokyo alone has around 5,000 Ramen shops, with more than 24,000 Ramen shops across all of Japan.
Tsuta, a Ramen restaurant in Tokyo’s Sugamo district, received a Michelin star in December 2015.
Mushroom & Spinach Miso Ramen with Soft Boiled Eggs & Furikake
- 1 ⁄2 lb cremini mushrooms
- 1 oz fresh ginger
- garlic use 2 large cloves
- 2 pkts chili garlic sauce
- 5 oz ramen noodles
- 2 oz miso
- ½ lb of ground beef
- 3 oz baby spinach
- 1 Tbsp nori komi furikake
- 2 large eggs
- neutral oil such as vegetable
- or safflower
- coarse kosher salt
- Cook eggs: Fill a medium saucepan with water. Bring to a boil, carefully place eggs inside (the water should cover the eggs by a 1⁄2-inch), and cook, about 6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove eggs from pot and place in a bowl of cold water. Once cool, remove shells and halve eggs. Reserve water and saucepan for step 3.
- Prep veggies & chili oil: Trim stem ends from mushrooms, then thinly slice caps. Peel and finely chop half of the ginger (save rest for own use). Peel and finely chop 2 large garlic cloves. In a small bowl, stir together 1 packet of chili garlic sauce packet (reserve 2nd packet for step 5) and 1 teaspoon oil.
- Cook noodles: Return reserved saucepan of water to a boil. Add noodles, and cook until just tender, 3–5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain, then rinse with warm water.
- Sauté aromatics: Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium pot over medium-high. Add beef and cook until brown. Add mushrooms and Bok choy cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are browned and dry, 6-7 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and cook 1 minute more.
- Simmer broth: Add 4 cups water and 1 teaspoon salt to the saute aromatics and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer 5 minutes to allow flavors to meld. Remove from heat, then whisk in remaining chili garlic sauce and all the miso.
- Finish & serve: Add spinach to soup and stir until wilted. Season to taste with salt. Divide noodles between bowls, then ladle soup and vegetables over top. Garnish with egg halves, and top with as much furikake and chili oil as desired.