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Miso is a cooked fermented soy bean paste you can buy at an Asian grocery store. You don't normally make it. Buy the higher grade/more expensive for better flavor and finer consistency. We like the one flavored with bonito (type of fish).

Ramen was introduced into Japan in 1958, from China and has stayed a popular dish in Japan. Ramen is Chinese noodles made mainly of wheat flour. The noodles are eaten with a broth seasoned with soy sauce or miso and garnished with thin slices of roast pork, bean sprouts, bamboo shoots and other ingredients. Ramen shops (restaurants) are found EVERYWHERE in Japan, and nowadays you can buy cup-ramen or instant ramen, where you just have to pour boiling water on it and its is ready in 3 minutes!

(extrapolated from here)

Basically, ramen is Chinese egg noodles. But you can use soba noodles or udon noodles as well. We like ramen better because it is thinner and softer than soba and udon.

Also check out the Japanese movie Tampopo (rated "R" for sexual content) which is (partly) about making the perfect bowl of noodles.


Our Simple Miso Ramen Recipe

Cook noodles separately as per package directions. Rinse with cold water and allow to drain.  Add a little (1/2 teaspoon) sesame oil to the noodles to keep them from sticking and for extra flavor.  Boil 1 quart of water. Add miso by the tablespoonful until it's just salty enough. You'll be adding other ingredients that will make it saltier, but you can just adjust with more water. Add strips of toasted Nori (ready-to-eat-seaweed). If you buy it in sheets, just rip it into small pieces (about 1" x 2" is good, up to you). For 1 quart, 2 sheets is good. This is the basic miso soup recipe we use. Then we like to added cubed tofu, cut-up fishballs, leftovers, whatever we need to use up!