All About Japan

Spike Your Instant Ramen with Some Sweet Sake

Food & Drink Ramen Sake

Ramen fans have been passing around a newly discovered technique for sprucing up instant ramen, with satisfied experimenters claiming that adding sake to the broth dramatically improves the flavor. Some have gone so far as to say the special ingredient makes the meal doubly delicious.

It’s actually not such a crazy notion, given that sake, especially in its sweetened form, called mirin, is a fairly common ingredient in traditional Japanese recipes. The initial steps of making sake ramen are just like those for normal ramen. Add whatever seasonings come with the specific brand you’re using, pour in your hot water, and wait until the noodles are cooked.

Next, pour in a measure of sake. Most online recommendations say to add a sake cup’s full, but that means the exact volume varies by the particular drinking vessel being used. In the interest of keeping our experiment’s results repeatable, we decided to be a bit more precise, and so we added one tablespoon of sake to our cooked noodles, then gave the contents of the cup a few good stirs to help the rice wine mix throughout the broth.

While we were swirling our chopsticks, the unmistakable aroma of sake drifted up from the cup. Taking a sip of the broth, we were surprised by how much we could taste the sake. Instead of a strong alcoholic kick, though, mixing with the ramen broth brought out more of the sweetness in its flavor profile, and also imparted a bit of pleasant creaminess to the broth’s mouth feel.

We were thoroughly impressed, though if you’re not an experienced sake drinker, you might want to start off with a smaller amount of sake than we did, such as a teaspoon. Really, though, we could see ourselves eating sake ramen again, since the results are much, much more pleasant than the last time we tried Cup Noodles with an unorthodox addition.

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