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Making Ramen from Trader Joe’s Ingredients



A bowl of Tonkotsu ramen made from ingredients bought only from Trader's Joe


Walking into Trader Joe's store

Many believe that crafting an authentic bowl of ramen from scratch is nearly impossible due to the challenge of sourcing traditional Japanese ingredients. In reality, ramen is a versatile dish that can be adapted to whatever ingredients you have on hand. Whether you’re missing a few traditional components or want to experiment with new flavors, improvising ramen can be a fun and rewarding culinary adventure. It’s one of the reasons ramen is such a worldwide phenomenon. In this post, we’ll show you how to make a delicious bowl of ramen using only ingredients we gathered from Trader Joe’s.


Broth


While Trader Joe’s doesn't carry traditional, ready-made Tonkotsu or pork bone broth, their clear, lighter chicken broth makes an excellent alternative. Opt for a low-sodium variety to allow room for adding authentic flavors. For the “tare” seasoning, combine Trader Joe’s soy sauce with their yuzu hot sauce. The trendy, citrusy notes of yuzu perfectly complement the lighter chicken broth, creating a deliciously unique ramen experience.


Noodles


Ramen noodles are traditionally made from high protein (bread) flour, water and lye water. As two of these ingredients are unavailable at Trader’s Joe’s, we opted to make our noodles from scratch using just all-purpose flour which has about 11% gluten (just short of our 12.5% goal for traditional ramen). The ideal ratio per serving is 100 grams of flour to 39 grams of water.


Toppings


Authentic Japanese ramen toppings like negi, chashu (sliced pork belly), and menma (marinated bamboo shoots) are unavailable at Trader Joe’s. Now’s your chance to interpret what you find in your local store, to a fantastic and unique bowl of ramen. We improvised with green onions, kimchi, corn, and Mexican carnitas. Surprisingly, the sliced carnitas closely resemble the tender, juicy taste of our chashu. The vegetables provided a nice burst of flavor and color to the bowl!




Trader Joe's ingredients make a surprising great bowl of ramen

Shopping List


  • Trader Joe’s Reduced Sodium Soy Sauce

  • Trader Joe’s Yuzu Hot Sauce

  • Trader Joe’s Unbleached Enriched All-purpose Flour

  • Trader Joe’s Low Sodium Chicken Broth

  • Trader Joe’s Kimchi Spicy Fermented Napa Cabbage

  • Trader Joe’s Green Onion

  • Trader Joe’s Cage Free Grade A Eggs

  • Trader Joe’s Whole Kernel Corn

  • Trader Joe’s Traditional Carnitas (Mexican style oven roasted pork)


How we did it?


  1. Measure precisely 100 grams of flour and 39 grams of water in a bowl. Using a pair of chopsticks, mix the ingredients for 3-4 minutes. Transfer the mixture onto a large cutting board. Knead the dough for a few minutes. Using a rolling pin, roll the noodle dough into thin sheets about 4” by 12”. Lightly dust both sides of the dough with flour. Fold the sheet and use a sharp knife to cut into noodles.

  2. For a delicious and quick egg, drop an egg into boiling water using a noodle strainer or a spice bag. Cook for 7 minutes, then drop into cold or ice water bath. Peel the shells and marinate the egg in a small bowl with 1/2 teaspoon of soy sauce.

  3. Put 1 tablespoon of soy sauce and 1 tablespoon of yuzu hot sauce into a noodle soup bowl.

  4. Chop green onions and slice “chashu” carnitas.

  5. Bring 300 grams of chicken broth to a boil.

  6. Cook the noodles in boiling water for 2 minutes in a noodle strainer. While cooking, add hot chicken broth into the noodle soup bowl with the flavor already in the bowl.

  7. When the noodles are cooked, shake off excess water. Add noodles into the bowl and garnish with chashu, eggs, kimchi, corn and green onions.


Conclusion


While sourcing authentic ramen ingredients can sometimes be a challenge, your convenient neighbor Trader Joe’s provides perfect substitutions, giving you a chance to mix tradition with experimentation. Embrace the journey of discovery and enjoy the process of bringing a taste of Japan to your kitchen. Happy cooking!


 

Manville Chan

Manville Chan is the Founder and Chief Experience Officer at The Story of Ramen.






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