Unless you have been living under the rock, or don’t use facebook (Who doesn’t? Even Frank got hooked after calling it FaceSuck for how many years…), you must have heard of the latest Food Craze in New York right now: The Ramen Burger. Created by Chef Keizo Shimamoto (who’s a certified ramen addict), the craze kickstarted on the 3rd of August, with hundreds of people standing in line to get a bite at Brooklyn’s Smorgasburg on Saturdays.
What’s a Ramen burger, you might ask. If you have tried the Rice Burger made famous by MOS Burger, this is a similar concept by shaping Ramen noodles into “Buns”. The original Brooklyn version has Arugula at the bottom, followed by a fresh USDA Prime ground beef chuck patty, accompanied by a special shoyu sauce (said to have been cooked down for hours), and some chopped spring onions (scallions). And here’s what a Ramen Burger look like:
Well, since New York is a little far away from me, and so far noone in KL is selling it yet (the geeks at myburgerlab have been experimenting so you might want to keep your eyes firmly on their updates), so I have decided to make it in my own kitchen. There are quite a few YouTube videos with clear instructions on shaping the Ramen buns, and my favourite would be the one by Popsugar, followed closely by the Sorted Food. Since this is my first attempt, I wanted to make it as close to the original as possible.
The focus here obviously, is on the Ramen buns. To shape them, you will need to use decent ramen noodles. The best is obviously freshly made Ramen noodles like the ones used by Shimamoto. Failing that, a good ramen brand like Nissin (that’s what I used) would work well. In fact most of the YouTube chef used this brand too. You’ll need something to bind the noodles after they are cooked (to packet’s instructions) and drained. So that’s when the humble egg comes into the picture. Ok, I shall let the pictures do the talking this time.
Mix it well, mix it good. Add a pinch of salt for good measure, as noone wants bland noodles, right? Then find something that’s the side of your desired ramen buns. My ramekins are small, so I use these small bowls.
Line the bowls with Cling wrap and divide the noodles in half. Wrap them up and press them down with something heavy enough to shape the buns. Leave them in the fridge for an hour or two to set.
Now we are ready to fry the Ramen ‘buns’.
Leave them untouched for 2-3 minutes. Then flip!
Once they are sufficiently browned on both sides, remove and drain on absorbent paper. I don’t know about you but I certainly don’t want a greasy burger.
For the meat, I’ve used a 110g Beef Patty (minced chuck, 80/20 ratio), added some panko breadcrumbs as binder, seasoned with a touch of soy sauce, 5 spice powder and a dash of sesame oil for that oriental twist. And fry them on both size. The pro tip is to salt the side just before you grill (fry) it, which is what I did. Salt the other side just before you are ready to flip. Tada! Perfectly cooked burger patty!
For the rest of the toppings, I’ve used some fresh Arugula, chopped spring onions and some fried shallots for that extra aromatic kick. I read somewhere that the Shoyu sauce contains shallots so I thought this might help me to complete the picture. And now…. it’s time to build our Ramen Burger.
Start with the bun, add some arugula…. well, that’s obvious, so I’m going to fast forward a bit.
Followed by the Beef Patty, slice of Irish White Cheddar (not in the original burger but I like my burgers with cheese), spring onion, fried shallots, and a squeeze of Okomoni sauce… That’s what you’d use for Okonomiyaki usually, it’s sweet, savoury and a little tangy, a bit like Tonkatsu sauce. Teriyaki sauce should work well too (but you might need to add something acidic to balance it up), and you can add some Kewpie Mayo if you swing that way… Finish with the top bun, and there you have it!
Would you like to see a cross section? Well I’m sure you do.
I’m really pleased with my first attempt. I am also pleasantly surprised that the Ramen buns do hold very well together. The layer of arugula stops the burger patty from soaking the bottom buns, but you do need to eat quite fast. FYI, I was actually holding half of this burger bun and walking around the apartment while eating it (to recreate that street side eating, you see) and apart from a couple of poor spring onion, nothing else fell off. What about the flavours, you ask? I love the eggy ramen buns that are slightly crispy on the outside but soft with enough bite. The toppings work fabulously with the beef patty and the buns. I would probably add some hot sauce if I wasn’t trying to stay away from spicy food this week. The only thing though, is that the whole burger is rather big, so just as well I divided it into two. I had the second half as my dinner instead. Still quite delicious and no soggy bottom! Wait, that doesn’t sound very good. Never mind. Just for your viewing pleasure, here’s another one after I’ve taken a couple of bites. Haha.
So, I guess it would be nice to add one fried egg on top of the patty, and you might want to add some bacon. Just like the regular burger, the possibilities are endless. For our vegetarian friends: perhaps a tofu or a quinoa patty? Smashed chickpeas with curry spices would be fantastic too.
So what’s your thought about the Ramen burger and would you try it?