korean ramen – this is not instant noodles

Korean ramen. It has to happen. Japanese ramen with big, bold, spicy Korean flavours. There’s nothing here not to love. Someday this is going to be everywhere.

It had to happen on this blog anyway. I love ramen. I really love ramen. And I love Korean food.

It was just a matter of time. I had to try it. And I’m glad I did. I could open a food truck on this alone.

Think spicy gochujang spiked broth. Medium boiled egg. Tender chicken. Korean chili flake garnish. And those wonderful chewy ramen noodles.

This is not dressed up instant noodles

There’s a whole ramen hack movement these days. Strangely addictive hacks. Like some sort of noodle drug. It’s huge for a reason. But this is not that.

Has nothing to do with how they do it in Korea either. Korea is the OG of ramen hacks.

And they are really good at it. So good they have Ramyeon restaurants that specialize in it.

This has nothing to do with instant noodles. This is more like Japanese style traditional ramen done with Korean flavours.

Not full-bore Japanese tonkotsu ramen though. That takes a day to make. At least. It’s epic. This is simplified. You can make Korean ramen in an hour.

That’s the great thing about adding big Korean tastes. It takes away the need to create those subtle Japanese flavours.

Those nuances take real work. Not weeknight dinner material.

One thing I’m pondering though. What would happen if I took my tonkatsu ramen broth and jacked it with gochujang?

It would be off the scale. Pretty sure about that. But it would cost me some of my precious tonkatsu ramen broth. My all day broth.  

This Korean ramen is already really good. So I haven’t pulled the trigger. Not yet.

Bowls of Korean ramen from above.

Korean ramen – it’s a food trend waiting to happen

This style Korean ramen doesn’t exist in Korea. There’s no such thing as traditional Korean ramen.

Korean ramyeon is all about the instant. The Japanese invented instant ramen. But the Koreans picked up the ball and ran with it.

Today they eat more instant ramen per capita than any other country in the world. And they export a lot of it.

I can buy it at any grocery store. Halfway around the world. And I can find 14.7 million instant ramen hacks to turn it into my dinner.

This is a little different. It’s a more traditional take slammed into Korean flavours. In my head it’s the next great thing. A mashup of two great noodle dishes.

If it does happen remember – you read it here first.

It is time to embrace Korean ingredients

If you’ve been living under a rock you probably haven’t heard of gochujang.

Gochujang is spicy Korean fermented soybean and rice paste. That doesn’t do it justice though.

Think something like miso with a bunch of chili. Umami. Heat. Complex flavours. It’s magical stuff. It comes in red tubs and you can find it on the shelves.

Doenjang is pretty much gochujang without the chili. It comes in brown tubs and is always right next to the gochujang.

Gochugaru are Korean chili flakes. They come in huge bags. Can’t get even a large bag where I am. Huge or nothing. Maybe split a bag with a friend or six.

These ingredients figure highly in Korean cooking. If you get into it you need them.

They are not expensive. If you like Korean, you will use them up. And you will be happy doing it.

Chopstick full of Korean ramen noodles.

Ramen noodles are a little different

Ramen noodles are not like other noodles. They contain alkaline salts. That makes them special.

The flavour is a little different. But the big difference is the texture. They are a bit chewy.

Not the same as a plain wheat noodle. Ramen is not spaghetti with marketing. It is its own thing.

If you’re an inquisitive foodie type search ramen and kansui. It’s actually pretty amazing how a small amount of a single ingredient can change everything.

Korean ramen with a twist

This one doesn’t exist anywhere except right here and in your kitchen. But it should. It’s like your favourite ramen hack. Except better.

I know that’s bold. I like ramen hacks. But I like this better. A lot better. It’s like ramen hacks for people who have finally graduated university.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t keep making the ramen hacks. They are fun. I do it too. Between I want the grown up version this is what I make.

Korean ramen. Spicy. Savoury. Bold. Delicious. If you like ramen. If you like Korean. Then you will like this. Maybe you’ll even love it. I do.

Korean ramen in a bowl from above.
Korean ramen noodle soup. Not your usual ramyeon or ramyan...
Korean ramen with chopsticks.
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4.85 from 32 votes

korean ramen

This Korean ramen is an upscaled version of traditional Korean ramyeon. Big, bold Korean flavours and decent ramen noodles. This is not dressed up instant ramyeon. 
Course Main
Cuisine Korean
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 2
Calories 761kcal
Author romain | glebekitchen

Ingredients

Korean ramen broth

  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 4 tsp gochujang
  • 1 tsp doenjang (optional)
  • 2 tsp shiro miso
  • 1 tsp coarse gochugaru (not the fine powdered type)
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 4 skinless chicken thighs

Korean ramen

  • 2 large eggs
  • green onions, enoki mushrooms, kimchi – whatever you like really
  • the reserved chicken
  • the Korean ramen broth
  • 4-5 oz Japanese ramen noodles – not the instant kind

Instructions

The broth

  • Bring the chicken stock to a simmer over medium low heat in a pot that is large enough to hold the stock, chicken and ultimately noodles.
  • Poach the chicken thighs until they reach an internal temperature of 175F. Use an instant read thermometer. Always use an instant read thermometer. This should take about 25 minutes.
  • Remove the chicken thighs. Set aside to cool enough to handle. Pull the chicken off the bones. You want bite size chunks. Reserve.
  • Strain the stock if you are worried about little bits floating around in it. Not a big deal, though. Nothing wrong with little bits. Return the stock to the pot.
  • Combine the gochujang, doenjang if using, miso and gochugaru in a small bowl. Add a bit of hot chicken stock to the bowl and stir to combine. You want to do it this way. If you just add the flavouring to the big pot you are going to be chasing bits of gochujang around the pot for an hour. Trust me. 
  • Add the gochujang stock mixture to the remaining stock in the pot. Stir in the fish sauce. Taste. Adjust salt if needed. Your broth is ready.

Medium boiled eggs

  • In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil. Boil large eggs for 6 minutes 30 seconds. If using extra large eggs boil them for 7 minutes 30 seconds. You may have to adjust your times slightly depending on the exact size of your eggs but this should get you pretty close.
  • Submerge the eggs in really cold or ice water to chill. This stops the egg yolks from continuing to set up. Peel and set aside. They will warm up in the broth.
  • Carefully cut the eggs in half lengthwise right before you serve. The yolk is still a bit runny so use a sharp knife.

Korean ramen

  • Bring the Korean ramen broth to a boil. Add the noodles and cook until done. Follow the instructions on the noodle package. Return the chicken to the broth to warm through. Slice the eggs lengthwise. 
  • Ladle the broth, noodles and chicken into a bowl. Top with the eggs, green onions, enoki mushrooms and kimchi. Serve a bit of extra gochugaru alongside for the serious chili-heads.

Nutrition

Serving: 2servings | Calories: 761kcal | Carbohydrates: 65g | Protein: 71g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 440mg | Sodium: 1449mg | Potassium: 1318mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 655IU | Vitamin C: 2.6mg | Calcium: 78mg | Iron: 4.9mg

32 thoughts on “korean ramen – this is not instant noodles”

  1. Thank-you!!
    I used All the ingredients you suggested, then added:
    1 TB. Mirin, to temper and “marry the wonderful complex of flavors.
    2tsp. Grateded, Fresh Ginger, for a fragrant “bite”
    1C cooked shrimp, added at a minute before serving,
    1C fresh Snap Peas, also tossed in, just before serving.
    You have provided a neat base recipe, to launch further
    Explorations. I will use it often!
    Cheers!
    Elizabeth F.

    Reply
  2. 5 stars
    Hello, Romain. This is the second or third time that I found this recipe after googling around for non-instant Korean ramen. I believe last time was when I spent a couple of months in Seoul in 2019 and was trying to find a Korean ramyeon place. It’s a mystery to me that there aren’t (non-instant) ramyeon places all over Seoul, Busan and Daegu. Having Shin-Ramyeon every now and then definitely made me want to try a non-instant version so badly. And the spicy and sour flavors in many Korean dishes seem so perfect for noodle soup. It just seems so obvious. I will try to make this for dinner for my girlfriend, my sister and myself. We all love Korean food, so unless I slaughter your recipe, it should be a big hit. Thank you for making this!

    Reply
    • I’ve been to Korea quite a few times and I was so busy eating everything in sight this one didn’t occur to me until I got home. Hope you enjoy it!

  3. This recipe looks amazing and I am wanting to try it…. However if I’m not used to super Spicey how would you rate this? I’m thinking about maybe leaving the chili flakes out since the paste is spicy already? I love kimici but don’t know how much spicier this is?

    Reply
    • It’s a tricky thing trying to guess what people will find spicy. I don’t think this is particularly spicy at all but I can only compare it what I know. I just went to the fridge to taste some gochujang straight from the container to calibrate. To my palate it is tingly but not all that hot. If you can take the taste of gochujang straight up then this dish will not be too anywhere as hot as that.

      Kimchi varies in heat here but I’d say it is spicier than kimchi but not a lot spicier.

      Not the best answer I’m afraid. Apologies for that…

  4. 5 stars
    This is a genius marriage of two of my favourite cuisines. I threw some roasted sweet potato wedges & bok choy into the mix to up the veggie factor. Delicious!

    Reply
  5. 5 stars
    Making this for my sister and I’s school lunches. I happened to live in Korea for two years and it was the best experience ever, hoping that this will bring back the food and memories of that amazing place.

    Reply
    • Hope you enjoy. It’s not authentic Korean though. This is my love of Korean flavours and my love of ramen coming together.

  6. 5 stars
    I couldn’t believe how good this was. And especially surprising was how much better I felt after eating it. Soooo incredible that I had some for breakfast the next morning. What better way to fight the winter chill? Thank you so much for this recipe!!

    Reply
    • Maybe somebody in Korea has thought about it. Never say never. You heard it first in Canada though – glebekitchen is a Canadian blog.

    • Struggled to enjoy reading. Small sentences. Fragmented. Absolutely everywhere. See the annoyance? Maybe not. That’s okay. Finding another blog. And recipe.

    • Haha. Try subvocalizing to see if that helps. I know this blog is not for everyone…

      I don’t think you quite have the style down though. How about this?

      I cannot get my head around the writing style. It’s just too staccato. So I’m going to get my recipes elsewhere. Doesn’t matter if the recipe isn’t as good because I’m happy to bite my nose off. Just to spite my face.

      All kidding aside – I hope you find what you are looking for!

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