My friend described Tsukemen is a Ramen noodle dipped into a hot gravy.”Dipping into a hot gravy”, sounds perfect for the cold rainy weather, doesn’t it?
This Tsukemen noodle recipe is my husband’s favorite. He is craving for this rich and hearty dipping soup. It is easy to make and nothing special ingredients needed.
The secret ingredients of this recipe are ketchup and Parmigiano Reggiano. Both of them may sound weird for Japanese noodle dish, however it is something I like to do every day in kitchen—adding SMALL amounts of umami rich ingredients to add the complexity and body to a dish.
When I make a new dish, I often think “Hmmm, it’s good, but needs something. I want a deliciousness with a PUNCH!”
That’s why I add a dash of Asian fish sauce to my marinara sauce, a dash of soy sauce to Carbonara pasta, or a teaspoon of ketchup to fried rice. All of things I add such as fish sauce, soy sauce, ketchup, anchovy, bonito flakes, and Parmesan cheese or blue cheese are world known umami rich ingredients, and combining those ingredients well makes your dish even more DELICIOUS with a great depth of flavor.
This is an easy technique anyone can do. Only tip I want to emphasize is Don’t not add too much. I don’t want fishy marinara sauce or my Carbonara pasta taste like soy sauce (I made this mistake in the past!) The goal is to add just enough depth to a dish, so SMALL amounts should be good and those umami ingredients should not be the dominant flavor.
With my Tsukemen recipe, both of ketchup and Parmesan cheese are hidden flavors to enhance flavor of other major ingredients such as bonito flakes, chicken stock, soy sauce, and oyster sauce, and anchovy. Ketchup adds sweetness with tangy touch and Parmesan cheese makes the broth pleasantly rich taste.
Making dipping soup is easy! In a pot, heat sesame oil and garlic. When garlic releases own aroma, add onion and anchovy. Sautee until onion gets soft.
Add chicken stock, bonito flakes, soy sauce, mirin, oyster sauce, ketchup, and peanut butter. Simmer for 5 minutes.
Blend the soup until smooth with a blender. Put it back to the pot, and heat. Add grated Parmesan cheese and cayenne pepper. Adjust a seasoning with salt. (This is a dipping type sauce, not a noodle soup, so you want slightly saltier than a regular soup broth.)
Toppings for my Tsukemen are classic: marinated egg and quick soy braised pork.
Matinate boiled eggs in a mixture of equal parts soy sauce and mirin at least 30 minutes up to over night.
Slice pork shoulder into ¼ inch thick sprinkle salt and black pepper.
Mix soy sauce, mirin, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Heat canola oil in a flying pan, sear the one side of pork until nicely browned. Flip the pork, and pour mixed seasonings and braise the pork over medium heat.
In a Tsukemen restaurant, you can choose how a noodle is served, “Atsumori (hot)” or “Hiyamori (cold)” I like “Hiyamori (cold)” in summer, because dipping a chilled noodle into a hot soup is very refreshing in summer, but on the contrary, I like “Atsumori (hot)” in winter. If you want “Hiyamori (cold)”, rinse a noodle in ice water.
Speaking of noodle, there are many types of Ramen noodle just like pasta. You can choose shapes of noodle: thin, straight, wavy, or flat based on how rich the soup is, what kind of stock is used, or which region is that Ramen from.
For Tsukemen, I would recommend you to buy the FRESH noodle (or fresh-frozen), preferably thicker noodle to enjoy firmer texture of noodle.
I keep three kinds of fresh noodle in my freezer: thick, medium, and thin (from left to right). I like the thick or medium one for Tsukemen, the thin one for pork stock base, and the medium one for spicy Miso Ramen.
For Tsukemen, you want to avoid the instant Ramen noodle (top-right). Mostly it has been deep fried and dried, that’s why or you can eat it just 3 minutes after pouring boiling water or you can cook it in a just few minutes . I love the instant Ramen, because it is quick and yummy, but this noodle is not good for the dipping noodle like Tsukemen, because of the soft texture of the noodle. It is the best in the soup.
Also, you don’t wanna use Yakisoba noodle (bottom-right). It is a steamed noodle for stir-frying.
Warm up with Tsukemen noodle!
- -Marinated Egg
- 2ea eggs
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons mirin
- -Quick Soy Braised Pork
- 12 oz pork shoulder, cut into ¼ inch slice
- salt and black pepper, to taste
- 2 teaspoons canola oil
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons mirin
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- -Dipping Sauce
- 4 teaspoons sesame oil
- 6 ea garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 8 oz onion, cut into small dice
- 6 fillets anchovy, minced
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 0.4 oz (about 1 cup) bonito flakes
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons mirin
- 2 teaspoons oyster sauce
- 2 teaspoons ketchup
- 2 teaspoons peanut butter (unsweetened)
- 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
- ¼ teaspoon (or more if you like extra spicy) cayenne pepper
- salt, to taste
- 2 portions fresh Ramen noodle
- 2 ea green onion, thinly sliced (for topping)
- Cook and marinade eggs. Bring water to a boil in a pot, place an egg gently and turn the heat down to medium and cook for 8 minutes. Take out an egg immediately and put in an ice water. Peel and put eggs in a ziploc bag with 2 tablespoons of soy sauce and mirin to marinade. Place the bag in a small bowl.
- Make soy sauce braised pork. Slice pork shoulder into ¼ inch thick sprinkle salt and black pepper. Mix soy sauce, mirin, sugar, and salt. Heat canola oil in a flying pan, sear the one side of pork until nicely browned. Flip and pour mixed seasoning and braise the pork.
- Make a dipping soup. In a pot, heat sesame oil and garlics. When garlic releases own aroma, add onion and anchovy. Sautee until onion gets soft. Add chicken stock, bonito flakes, soy sauce, mirin, oyster sauce, ketchup, and peanut butter. Simmer for 5 minutes. Blend the soup until smooth with a blender. Put it back to the pot, and heat. Add grated parmesan cheese and cayenne pepper. Adjust a seasoning with salt. (This is a dipping type sauce, not a noodle soup, so you want slightly saltier than a regular soup broth.)
- Cook 2 portions of noodle according to the instruction. Drain well. Rinse with ice water if you want noodle chilled. Platter noodle along with topping: marinated eggs, green onion, and soy braised pork. Serve with hot dipping sauce!