Living in Tokyo, I would pass ramen stores on a daily basis and the aromas on the street are incredible. Ramen is a style of noodle, served in a broth with various toppings, often including meat. It’s considered an art form, where kitchens spend hours preparing their secret recipes. It’s my favorite kind of food in Japan, but something I’ve stopped eating since starting keto. I’ve often wondered what would happen if I tried ordering it without noodles, but am too afraid of offending a chef!
QUICK AND EASY
To make a proper ramen from scratch takes much patience; hours spent cooking bones to brew the perfect broth and slowly prepare tender meat. However, ramen is also typically a quick meal, a steaming bowl you can grab on the way home and eat while standing at a counter. I wanted to find a way to achieve a similar keto-friendly taste, as quickly as possible at home.
Ramen noodles are a round shape that are yellow in color and made using wheat flour. This is an obvious no-no on keto, so I wanted to try using shirataki noodles (more on shirataki here) as a replacement. I found various brands offering ramen-style shirataki noodles at my local supermarket.
There are four main types of ramen broth: shio (salt), shoyu (soy sauce), miso (miso paste) and tonkotsu (pork bone broth). While these are the main flavors, there are also many regional styles too. This quick alternative is probably closest in flavor to shio.
Weipar (味覇) is a Chinese soup stock base sold in a distinctive red can. Made of salt, animal fats, spices and seasoning, with small amounts of flour, lactose and sugar, it can be added to boiling water to create a broth. Only one teaspoon is needed, which contains 0.85g of carbs. I’m now in love with this flavorful paste and am most surprised to find it available on Amazon!
Toppings can vary wildly, but usually consist of basics such as sliced meat, spring onions and a soft-boiled egg. My cheat version makes use of some pre-prepared ingredients from a Japanese supermarket, which could easily be omitted. I included (clockwise):
- chashu, sliced bbq pork belly
- egg, soft-boiled
- enoki mushrooms
- negi, green onion
- moyashi, bean sprouts
- menma, fermented bamboo shoots
- komatsuna, Japanese mustard spinach, similar to bok choy
- nori, dried seaweed sheets (not pictured)
The final result was a hearty ramen, that had more flavor than I expected! I was also surprised to find it worked out to only 5g net carbs per serving. More protein and veggies could easily be added too. With winter in our midst and a tin of weipar in my fridge, I know I’ll certainly be making this again!
- 1 packet of shirataki noodles
- 2 cups water
- 1 tsp weipar
- 1 packet chashu (sliced BBQ pork)
- 1 egg (soft boiled)
- 20g negi (spring onion)
- 20g komatsuna (or bok choy)
- 20g moyashi (bean sprouts)
- 20g enoki mushrooms
- 20g menma (fermented bamboo shoots)
- 2 pieces nori (dried seaweed)
- Have all ingredients ready to place on top of the noodles while they are steaming hot. Start by soft boiling an egg. Cook it for 4 minutes and then slice in half.
- Meanwhile slice the negi, komatsuna, moyashi and enoki. Place the komatsuna in boiling water for a few seconds until bright green.
- Quickly fry the chashu slices in oil for extra crispiness.
- Drain the shirataki noodles in a colander to remove the liquid they come packaged in. Rinse thoroughly under running water. If the noodles are rather long, cut into shorter pieces with scissors.
- Boil some water and cook the shirataki for 1-2 mins to remove any lingering fragrance. Drain and rinse again.
- Heat a clean dry frying pan and throw in the shirataki. The noodles contain large amounts of water, so this will help dry them out to remove some of their gelatinous texture. Cook for about a minute until they start to make a whistling sound. Remove from heat.
- Put the water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Once boiled, take off the heat and add the weipar, stirring until dissolved.
- Put the shirataki noodles in a serving bowl, fill with weipar broth and arrange the various toppings on top. The broth will cook the added ingredients.
- Eat quickly while it’s still steaming hot and be sure to slurp loudly!
- This serving has 5g net carbs.
- Calories: 306kcal, Net carbs: 5g, Carbs: 8g, Fibre: 3g, Fat: 19g, Protein: 18g, Sugar: 2g