Shoyu style ramen has a place in every dishworm’s heart. This noodle dish is rapidly becoming an international food phenomenon — a blend of Japanese, Chinese, and Korean ingredients.
But most notably, it’s made with ramen noodles that have been soaked in tonkotsu, a type of white-bean-and-sour-cherry broth.
With that base, the broth becomes the ramen noodle’s starring attraction. The noodle batter envelops the tonkotsu broth like hideously adorable icing — but this ain’t no vanilla cream.
Tonkotsu broth can be quite strong, up to 11 times more robust than an average Japanese chashu. So the trick is finding an alternative tonkotsu base that retains some of that soup’s intensity without overwhelming the ramen noodle.
And that’s what Shoyu technique does so well. The batter is poured over top of the tonkotsu broth, and to create a tender texture without ruining the texture of the noodles.
And the shoyu can really stand alone. You want the texture of the ramen without the taste of the tonkotsu broth.
The all-white ramen is a classic pairing of ramen dough and tonkotsu broth. White shoyu is the very definition of “creamy,” but with none of the umami of the real thing. Plus, white shoyu has a firm texture, similar to cooked spinach. It’s also quite delicious on its own.
To make a stronger broth side dish to your shoyu ramen, you can mimic tonkotsu broth with a white vegetable broth. In China, the white gochujang is the best, but soy sauce often has some umami added.
Of course, tonkotsu is not the only spicy ramen. There are many other variations on the classic recipe, including the king of them all: gochujang-marinated, bone-in, dry noodles.
In the past, ramen lovers have left tonkotsu style ramen behind, turning instead to stir-fry or the hybrid tsukemen noodles made with ramen broth and varying amounts of vegetables. With all the recent buzz surrounding the classic dish, however, it’s safe to say the ramen noodle now has a place in every kitchen.