Here is the last flavour of my ramen series using my Home-made Ramen Broth Recipe. One of the three basic ramen flavourings, Shio Ramen is made with a salty flavouring base that is packed with umami. You will need to soak some ingredients overnight but after that, it does not take long to make the flavouring base.
Home-made Shio Ramen has perhaps the lightest and plainest of the three flavours of my ramen, Shio Ramen, Miso Ramen and Shōyu Ramen. Just like the other two ramen recipes, all you need is to learn how to make the shio (salt) flavouring base and just add the Home-made Ramen Broth that I posted in October.
It is often true that making the simplest looking dish involves the most complex process. The flavouring base of Shio Ramen is one of them.
But don’t be afraid. What I mean is that the Shio Ramen flavouring involves more steps than the Shōyu Ramen and Miso Ramen flavourings despite it being the most plain flavouring. And it’s quite easy to follow.
Shio Ramen is ranked 3rd in favourite flavourings of ramen in Japan behind Shōyu and Miso flavours. If you prefer a plain and lighter flavour, Shio Ramen is the one to pick.
My favourite Ramen is ‘Tanmen’, which is a Shio Ramen with stir fried vegetables and meat/seafood on top.
What’s in The Shio Ramen Flavouring Base?
As mentioned in my Home-made Ramen Broth Recipe, the flavouring base is called tare (タレ, pronounce as ‘/tare/’, not ‘/teː/’ or’ /teə/’). The tare for the Shio Ramen Soup is naturally made with salt but to give umami to the tare, I use dried scallops, konbu (dried kelp) and bonito flakes.
Soak the dried scallops and konbu overnight, then boil them to extract great flavour from them. Add bonito flakes and cook for a while, then add salt, sake, mirin and light soy sauce.
It takes longer to make the salt flavouring than miso or soy sauce flavouring, but it is worth the effort.
About Dried Scallops
I must say that dried scallops can be very expensive, especially when the size of each scallop is large. But to make the salt flavouring base, you don’t need expensive scallops.
I bought a small pack of the smallest dried scallops I could find at an Asian grocery store. The size of each scallop was only 1cm/⅜” in diameter. The pack below was about $15 and you only need 10g/0.4oz to make 4 servings of Shio Ramen.
Dried scallops are very hard, but people sometimes eat them as nibbles. Simply pop one scallop into your mouth and chew it. It takes a while to soften in your mouth and the flavour you get from the dried scallop as you chew it is amazing. They are also used in various dishes, particularly in Chinese dishes.
When buying dried scallops, try to find a pack that contains even-coloured scallops. Don’t buy a pack if the surface of the scallops has white tiny specks.
SHIO RAMEN SOUP
Like other ramen flavouring base/tare, the tare for Home-made Shio Ramen is very salty and condensed, and is meant to be diluted with Home-made Ramen Broth.
You will need 2 tablespoons of salt flavouring base/tare to make 400ml of Home-made Ramen Broth. But again, the ratio of salt flavouring base and Ramen Broth depends on how salty you want the soup to be.
People who are very sensitive to saltiness might want to reduce the amount of flavouring base slightly and similarly, people who like stronger flavouring may want to increase the salt flavouring base a bit. It’s trial and error to find the right balance for your palate.
Toppings for Shio Ramen
You can make a simple Shio Ramen with minimal toppings such as a slice of pork, boiled egg, and chopped shallots/scallions, or you can cook stir fried toppings similar to Happosai (Combination Stir Fry) – my favourite.
Whatever toppings you use, just make sure that the flavours of the topping do not spoil the clear salty soup. For example, I would not use the topping for Moyashi Ramen, which I included in my Home-made Miso Ramen post.
I had a few slices of Yakibuta (Braised pork) in the freezer so I made Shio Ramen with simple toppings as you can see in the photo above. I think that corn goes very well with Shio Ramen.
It would also be great to drop a small amount of butter into your Shio Ramen to make the soup a bit richer. You could even place a small block of butter on top of the topping for you to mix before eating.
More to come – I will one day post a Tonkotsu Ramen as well as Tai (snapper) Ramen.
P.S. Don’t forget to see the section ‘MEAL IDEAS’ below the recipe card! It gives you a list of dishes that I have already posted and the new recipe in this post that can make up a complete meal. I hope it is of help to you.
One of the three basic ramen flavourings, Shio Ramen is made with a salty flavour base that is packed with umami. You will need to soak some ingredients overnight, but the process of making the flavouring base is quite simple. Also see Home-made Ramen Broth Recipe which includes how to make Shōyu Ramen and Home-made Miso Ramen.
Prep Time and Cook Time includes time to make the Salt Flavouring Base and a Shio Ramen.
Total Time does not include the time to soak kelp and dried scallops in water overnight, nor time to make ramen broth.
- 80-100g/2.8-3.5oz fresh egg noodles (note 1)
- 400ml/13.5oz Home-made Ramen Broth (boiling hot, note 2)
- 2 tbsp Salt Flavouring Base
- 2 slices Yakibuta (Braised Pork)
- 1 boiled egg cut in half
- A handful of beansprouts , blanched
- 3 tbsp sweet corn kernels (fresh corn - boiled, canned or frozen - defrosted)
- 2 tbsp finely chopped shallots/scallions
Soak konbu and scallops in 250ml/8.5oz water overnight.
Transfer the water with konbu and scallops to a saucepan. Heat over medium heat and bring it to a boil.
Remove the konbu, reduce heat to low to gently simmer and cook the scallops until the water reduces to half.
Add bonito flakes and simmer for 2 minutes.
Turn the heat off and strain through a sieve. Transfer the liquid to a saucepan.
Add the remaining ingredients of Salt Flavouring Base to the pan and cook over low heat.
Once the salt is diluted, turn the heat off.
Place Salt Flavouring Base in a serving bowl.
Boil water in a saucepan and cook noodles as per the instructions (note 1) and drain well.
Add Ramen Broth keeping about 50ml/1.7oz aside, and taste test. Adjust the saltiness with remaining Ramen Broth.
Add the noodles. Place Yakibuta slices, beansprouts, 2 halved eggs, and sweet corn, topped with chopped shallots.
1. Time to cook the noodles varies depending on the type of noodles as well as your preference for the firmness. Follow the instructions on the pack as a guideline.
Please also refer to Easy Japanese Ramen Noodles where I talked about different types of egg noodles suitable for Ramen.
2. Please visit my post, Home-made Ramen Broth Recipe.
3. You don’t need expensive large dried scallops. You can buy a pack of tiny dried scallops at Asian grocery stores, it is not very expensive (see the photo of the pack in the post).
4. If you don't have light soy sauce, you can substitute it with normal soy sauce like Kikkoman soy sauce. The colour of the broth becomes marginally darker.