Shoyu Ramen Soup Base

With this recipe, I’ve slow-cooked oxtail sections within my broth in a good slow cooker, which helps render the fat from the bones without having to constantly stir. You could also make this in a crock pot, large Dutch oven, or heavy-duty pot. The oxtail adds a meaty goodness and complexity to the fat component that complements the soy sauce. You’ll have to go to an Asian market to find dashi, or Japanese stock, which comes in granular form—there are many varieties to choose from, so just make sure to pick one that has bonito sh as the primary ingredient. It’s also important to have dried shiitake mushrooms, as they’ll give a more intense avor to the soup than fresh ones. The nal soup will taste overly salty, but when the noodles are added in, they will soak up the sauce and balance it out.

4 tbsp bacon fat (optional but recommended)
2 medium-sized carrots, peeled and cut into large dice
12 onion, peeled and cut into large dice
3 green onions, cut into thirds
1 apple, cored and quartered (with skin on)
2 celery stalks, cut into thirds
5 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
5 dried shiitake mushrooms, broken up into small pieces
                                                                                                                           1 whole organic chicken
4 medium oxtail sections, roughly 2 inches (5 cm) long
1 lemon, quartered
2 qts (2.2 L) low-sodium chicken stock

34 cup (175 ml) high-grade soy sauce
4 tsp dashi granules (Japanese stock)
2 tbsp salt

12 tsp white pepper
1 bay leaf

  1. In a crock pot, slow cooker, large Dutch oven or heavy-duty pot, combine the bacon fat, carrots, onion, green onions, apple, celery, garlic, and dried shiitake mushrooms.

  2. Add the whole chicken, oxtails, and lemon, then pour over the chicken stock, followed by the soy sauce, dashi, salt, pepper, and bay leaf—the stock should almost cover the chicken.

  3. Set the crock pot or slow cooker to high and let cook for 10 hours. If using a large Dutch oven or pot, bring to a boil over a high heat and set in an oven preheated to 200F (90C) for 8–10 hours. When the oxtail meat easily falls off the bone, your soup is done.

  4. With a slotted spoon, remove all of the larger solids and discard. Strain the remaining solids with a finer sieve into a large pot. You should have a light brown, glossy, and fat-rich soup. At this point the stock can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks or frozen for 1 month.

  5. In a separate saucepan, bring the Shoyu Base to a boil, then lower the heat and let simmer until it’s ready to serve. Right before serving, crank it back up to a boil.

  6. Pour 2 cups soup (475 ml) over each bowl of noodles. Top each bowl with desired toppings.

Shoyu Ramen Soup Base

Ramen Tour of Tokyo

Ramen Tour of Tokyo

Want to try the real deal in Tokyo, Japan?  My colleague Brian MacDuckston from ramenadventures chaperoned us to these six ramenya’s.  I’d highly recommend them for a nice well-rounded tour to experience the different types of ramen available in Tokyo. 

Most Tokyo ramenyas have very minimal seating, with seats at a bar and no waiting area. The chef is always present and is typically only accompanied by one or two apprentices, depending on the size of the shop. It’s quiet. The Japanese like to face the chef and eat without talking or socializing. It is the same at sporting or concert events in Japan, people stand side-by-side but there isn’t much interaction as they enjoy the show. It is their way of showing respect to the performer, and at a ramenya, to the master and his expertise. 

Customers respect the line and wait without complaining, no looking at their phones or talking too much. They place their order and pay at a small ticket machine at the front of the shop, make a line outside and sometimes line up along the wall in the back of the restaurant as their turn draws closer. When a seat opens up, they are prompted. You sit down quickly, hand over your ticket, and wait for your ramen. Within minutes, the bowl is presented on a raised bar in front of you. They dig into their ramen, and finish within 15 minutes. With a polite “gochisosama”, they exit and the next person sits. This efficient system keeps the line moving quickly. 

Some ramenyas are set up in more of a restaurant style with a waiter, a menu, and proper drink service. You are welcome to stay longer at these establishments but my advice is to show respect and do as others do. Eat, enjoy and get out. You can talk later.  

1.    Japanese Soba Noodles Tsuta, Master Onishi-san


Tokyo, Toshima-ku, Sugamo 1-14-1

Closest station: Sugamo

Open 11:00-16:00

Closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays

Don't let the name confuse you.  "Soba" translates to noodles, so this is a ramen shop, not the traditional "soba" noodles you are thinking of. This was our first ramen stop in Tokyo and probably the most formal of all of the ramenya’s we went to.  It had a long line at 11AM, it was the first time we used the ticket machine to place an order, and everyone was quiet as a mouse, except for the slurping of course.  We were advised by Brian to only take pictures of the ramen but to do this very quickly.  Our bowls were placed on the raised bar and it was as if we were paying homage by reaching for it with both hands and placing it in front of us to consume. My traveling partner and photographer for the trip, Andi and I each shared the Shoyu and Shio varieties and thought they were divine.  The soup wasn’t too heavy so we were able to finish them both, the egg filled with liquid gold and just enough negi (green onion) and chashu. The Shio version had a delicious green pesto type topping that I think was made with anoriko, a powdered seaweed.

2. LaShowHan, Master Okada-san

東京都千代田区神田錦町 1-4-8

Tokyo, Chioda-ku, Kanda Nishikicho 1-4-8

Closest station: Ogawamachi

Open 11:00-15:00, 17:30-20:00

Saturdays 11:00-14:00, 17:30-20:00

Closed Sundays

This was my first taste of tantanmen, a Japanese adaptation of a Szechwan style spicy noodle dish known as Dan Dan noodles. I don’t tend to like super spicy food, but the Premium Si Chuan Style bowl was not too overpowering and the sansho chili pepper gave it a earthy, lemon taste that just slightly numbed my tongue. I loved that it was served mazemen style (or without soup) so that the spices and the sauce were folded into every bite. I was just as fond of the owner, Master Okada-san. It’s also not a strict sit, eat and get out establishment, which was refreshing! 

3. Mensho Tokyo, Master Shono-san

Address: Yubinbango112-0003 Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo Kasuga 1-15-9 1F Closest Station: Kasuga

Hours 11AM – 3PM and 5PM -11PM

Closed Tuesdays


I ordered the Shoyu-Niboshitare Tonkotsu Ramen with a side of tender lamb.  The tonkotsu is cooked with pork and lamb bones with a lamb chashu and the most interesting prep of menma in long strips to top it off.  My favorite part was Master Shono-san’s signature spice mix of ground cinnamon, cumin, and fennel seeds that was provided in a shaker at the table. The décor and ambience are cool and casual - he has a chandelier made out of Niboshi or dried infant sardines in the front of the restaurant. He also has 5 other ramen shops in Tokyo with one US location in San Francisco

4. Fuunji, Master Miyake-san

Address: Hokuto first 2-14-3 1F, Yoyogi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo Closest station: Shinjuku

Hours 11AM – 3PM and 5PM – 9PM

Open Monday - Saturday

I read about this place on before my trip and was so excited to taste their tsukemen, or dipping noodles with Brian himself.  Unfortunately, he had another appt to go to but he made sure we purchased the right ticket at the machine in the back and ushered us in. It was worth the wait - a complex and layered chicken-bone soup with deep fish flavors and an intensity that made every noodle laden bite satisfying. Brian would later tell me that the soup is actually a tori paitan, with chicken bones cooked in the same way you would pork bones for a similar soup. It is then added to a 2nd fish soup to give it that smoky flavor.  This was the first place we’d been to where the line continued to the back of the bar where everyone watched over the customers in anticipation as seats would free up and our line would slowly move ahead.  The master was super serious, very concentrated and intently involved in his preparation for us.  I was mesmerized.

5. Tsukomo, Master Takahashi-san

Address: Hongoku Build. 1F, 1-1-36

Hiroo, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo Closest station: Ebisu

Hours 11AM – 5AM

Open everyday

This ramenya is famous for its Cheese Miso Tonkotsu Ramen. A special type of local artisan cheese called Golden Gouda is incorporated into the soup and also piled high on top. It’s shaved to almost a powder form right at the bar so it sinks and melts into the soup to give you a rich, thick satisfying meal. You won’t be hungry an hour or five later. 

6. Usagi Shokudo, Master Mori-san

Address: Aobadai 1-30-12 Meguro-ku,Tokyo Closest station: Naka-Meguro

Open 11:30AM to 10PM

Closed Mondays

They serve tori paitan here which is ramen with a creamy chicken soup. There are only two menu items and they were out of one so we ordered the torishiroramen - their signature creamy chicken soup with a shiodare.  There were delicate pieces of perfectly tender chicken and thin fried onions and shredded negi (Japanese green onion) on top with a crispy piece of garlic toast and some sweet minced garlic on the side.  It was a graceful dish and very well orchestrated.  The restaurant is more upscale in a seated restaurant style space.  The line here took a little longer because of this but it was well worth the wait. They were voted best rookie tori paitan by Tokyo Ramen of the Year magazine in 2014, deservedly so.  

Roasted Nori

Roasted Nori (Seaweed) Makes as much as you need

Prep time: 2 minutes

These days you can find roasted and flavored seaweed in grocery stores, coffee shops, even vending machines. I prefer to roast my own because I feel like some of the varieties out there are too oily or don’t stay crispy when you eat it with steamed rice. If you purchase a package of seaweed made for sushi in big sheets, you can roast these over an open gas flame in seconds. I promise you'll never go back to those instant packs. These are crispier, tastier and you can make much more for the cost.


Japanese nori (seaweed) in sheets

cooking spray or sesame oil


  1. Spray both sides of each sheet of seaweed with cooking spray or take a folded paper towel with some sesame oil on it to apply.
  2. Over a low flame on a gas stove, gently waft the seaweed back and forth on both sides until the seaweed crisps up.
  3. Set the finished roasted seaweed sheets on a paper towel and repeat with additional sheets.
  4. Sprinkle each sheet with sea salt and stack them about 4 or 5 high.
  5. Cut into fourths with a sharp chef's knife or with kitchen shears.

Here's a short tutorial video on how it's done!

Menma, Seasoned Bamboo Shoots

This is a pretty standard topping for ramen but I think there is a world of difference between eating fresh bamboo and canned. If you can’t find fresh bamboo, then I would recommend forgo using this topping. For the dashi stock, you can find packets of dashi at Asian markets. Most come in packets where you would use one packet for every 2 cups of water  

Menma (Seasoned Bamboo Shoots) 


1 lb fresh bamboo shoots

1 tablespoon sesame oil

2 cups dashi stock

1 tablespoon shoyu (soy sauce)

1 tablespoon sake

2 teapoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt


  1. Cut bamboo shoots in half lengthwise and julienne into thin strips.
  2. In a large sauté pan heat sesame oil, stock, shoyu, sake, sugar, and salt and combine. Set to medium high.
  3. Add bamboo shoots.
  4. Heat uncovered until bamboo soaks up most of the liquid, about 20 minutes.

Miso Ramen Soup Base - みそラーメン

I'm so excited to share my Miso Ramen recipe with you! Just so you know, there are four main types of ramen soup bases - Miso (Fermented Soybean Based), Shio (Salt Based), Shoyu (Soy Sauce Based) and Tonkotsu (Pork Bone Based). The first recipe I'd like to share is for my Miso Ramen - but I want us to do this gradually so that you don't get intimidated by the ramen process. The recipe itself is pretty easy but in order to make a complete bowl of ramen, you'll have to do it in stages instead of tackling this all in one day.  So, I'm having you start with a basic soup base, then I'll give you the recipe for fresh ramen noodles, then we can move on to some toppings.  At the end of our ramen introduction, it won't seem so difficult if we take it step by step.  You will be rewarded when we put it all together for a super-duper-delicious-awesome bowl of ramen! After that we can move on to the other soup bases and lots more variations of ramen to turn you into a ramen fanatic!

Before you do anything - your going to need bacon fat or grease - so fry up some bacon for breakfast and save that fat in a jar. You'll only need 4 tbsp so you should have plenty. Save the rest for later.

Here we go....

Miso Ramen Soup Base

Serves 1-10 portions

Prep time: 45 minutes only for making Miso Base, time to make noodles and toppings is additional

Miso Ramen originates from Hokkaido in Northern Japan. Winter’s are severe there, so it’s no wonder that the comfort and warmth of a good Miso Ramen is a daily staple.

I developed my variation of miso ramen with the idea of creating a super flavorful base that you can have anytime by just adding a cup of vegetable or chicken stock to. The result is the convenience of having a one-person portion or a meal for many – all according to the base to stock ratio. Whether you're taking it to work for yourself or preparing a family meal, it will be worth the labor because once you make it, it’s practically instant. The ramen base can be saved for up to a week in the refrigerator or frozen for a month.

Miso Base Ingredients:

1 medium carrot, peeled, large dice

½ onion, peeled, large dice

½ apple, stemmed, seeded, peeled and large dice

1 celery stalk, large dice

3 garlic cloves

½ cup bacon fat*

2  tablespoons sesame oil, split – use separately

1 ½ cups ground pork

2 teaspoons fresh ground ginger **

1 teaspoon Sriracha

2 tablespoon shoyu (soy sauce)

1 teaspoon kelp granules

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon ground sesame seed paste (if you do not have this, then omit) 

¾ cup Shiro miso (white miso which is lighter and sweeter)

¾ cup Akamiso miso (red miso is darker and saltier)

Chicken stock or Vegetable Stock – store bought or homemade *** 2 cups per serving based on the number of servings. 

* you can omit the bacon fat if you don’t have any but we wouldn’t recommend it. Next time you are cooking bacon in the morning, simply save your fat in a container and refrigerate it!  

** a trick to grating ginger: freeze your ginger in pieces with the skin on and take it out of the freezer right before you are ready to grate it.  No need to peel the skin off, it is edible. You can find a Japanese ginger grater online or in any Asian cooking store.

*** I recommend using a low-sodium chicken stock. If you are making your stock from scratch, do not add excessive salt as the miso base is very salty.

These components need to be made ahead of time:

Ramen Noodles – See Homemade Ramen Noodles recipe

Chashu and Marinated Half-Cooked Egg - See Chashu and Marinated-Half Cooked Egg recipe

Recommended Toppings:

Negi (green onions), sweet corn, chashu (pork belly), butter, half-cooked egg, garnish with nori (seaweed) square.


1. It is recommended to use a food processor but if you don’t have one, you can finely chop. Add carrot, onion, apple, and celery to a food processor. Pulse into a fine chop.

2. Add bacon fat and 1 tbsp of sesame oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the finely chopped mixture above and cook until onions are translucent and apple is tender, stirring occasionally, about 10-12 minutes.  When done, turn down to simmer until you are ready to add pork. 


3. Turn heat to medium-low. Next add your ground pork to the cooked vegetable mixture and cook the pork, about 5 minutes until no longer pink. Stir in the ginger, sriracha, soy sauce, kelp granules, apple-cider vinegar, and salt. Incorporate well.

4.  Return the entire mixture to the food processor and pulse until pork is finely ground.  Return to your skillet. 

5. Add your miso to the ground pork mixture and mix well.  It should have the consistency of a thick paste. Your base is done, remove from heat and set aside.


6. Place a pot of water to boil for your noodles. In a separate saucepan, bring Miso Base and broth to a boil, then lower heat and let simmer until it’s ready to serve. Note: It’s 3 tablespoons base to every 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth. Use about 2 cups soup per serving. Right before serving, crank it back up to boil. 

7. Boil the noodles—if fresh, boil for about 1 minute; if packaged, boil for about 2 minutes. As soon as they’re done, drain well and separate into serving bowls.

8. Pour 2 cups soup over each bowl of noodles. Top each bowl with desired toppings. 

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