My Korean Ramen recipe uses leftovers from my Korean Belly Pork recipe to make a warm but not overly spicy broth, spiked with chewy noodles, greens, a runny boiled egg and soft pork belly. Top tip – do not attempt to eat this while wearing a white shirt!
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My Korean Ramen with Belly Pork is one of my favourite ways to use my Korean Belly Pork in a meal. I also serve its as my Korean Pork with Sticky Rice & Greens. When I am sensible about it, I try to always keep some portions of my Korean Pork in the freezer so I can whip up this ramen on any weeknight.
Is Korean Ramen a Thing?
Firstly lets acknowledge the elephant in the room. I know that “Korean Ramen” is not really a thing, please don’t have a wobbly about it!
But I do think that for the Western world, describing this noodle soup with pork and Korean flavours as “Korean Ramen” makes the most sense. I don’t claim “authenticity”, I merely claim “recognisable description of the dish”.
To be honest you can call it whatever you want for all I care, just don’t deny yourself the glory of this bowl of goodness because of misplaced semantics! This recipe got a 10 out of 10 rating from my father which is no easy feat.
What is Ramen then?
By way of further explanation of the origins, I’ve done some research and in Japan, the word ‘Ramen’ refers to noodles that are both fresh and instant (what we’d think of as “super” noodles).
My favourite dish at Wagamama is their Shirodashi Ramen and I sometimes try to make a version at home although I’ve never quite got it right. Ramen really took off in London a couple of years ago and outlets like Bone Daddies and Tonkotsu have been super successful. The joy has now spread across the UK.
The Japanese take their ramen, like all of their food, very seriously. The film The Ramen Girl is worth a watch for a Hollywood comedy take on the subject.
What I have since learnt is that in Korea, their version of Ramen; called ‘Ramyeon’ only ever refers to the instant variety. This version I have created is therefore neither ‘Ramen’ nor ‘Ramyeon’.
How to Serve Korean Ramen with Belly Pork
This is a fairly all in one dish so the varying ways to serve it are quite minimal. What kind of bowl you use is really the biggest choice that you are going to make!
I know that serving a Japanese inspired soup with Korean flavours in a Chinese bowl might be taking it too far for some folk. But it tastes the same whichever bowl you use!
A sprinkle of sesame seeds and/or chopped fresh coriander leaf would be a nice addition to the presentation and taste of the dish.
Use chopsticks and a large spoon or ramen ladle to eat. In Korea I learnt that they use metal chopsticks rather than the bamboo kind. I picked up a couple of pairs over there but any chopsticks, or even a fork will do.
Make Korean Ramen with Belly Pork into a Feast
I truly believe that you can make any dish into a proper feast! Whether thats a feast for one after work on a Tuesday, a casual feast for four on a Friday evening or a feast for 12 for a special occasion!
I’ve included this recipe in my Alternative Asian Feast collection.
The feast centres around this Ramen with Belly Pork and Satay Chicken. There is a selection of sushi including Prawn Nigiri, Scallop Onigiri, Salmon Maki Rolls and Crab Uramaki to start and Vietnamese Summer Rolls on the side. Everything is rounded off with my Mango Coconut Ice Cream.
Don’t forget to head over to the Big Asian Feast post for all of my tips and tricks to help you host a fun and stress-free feast. Plus remember to check out my other feast collections and all my Asian inspired recipes.
Ingredients for Korean Ramen with Belly Pork
I have provided instructions to create the broth for this dish from scratch. But I usually use the cooking liquor from my Korean Belly Pork as a base instead of water and the chicken stock. There is so much flavour in that porky liquor, I would hate to waste it.
I do try to not refer you to other pages on my site as a matter of course. I know that flicking between two recipe pages can be very annoying. But in this case, it doesn’t make any sense to repeat all of the information given in my Belly Pork recipe here.
If you don’t want to make you own Korean Pork from scratch then you could alternatively use a ready flavoured joint from the supermarket. Many shops have a “cook at home” type range that is ready in about 30 minutes. Do feel free to use this recipe with another flavoured meat.
Also spelt as Doenjang, this is a fermented soybean paste from Korea. It is almost impossible to make any kind of Korean food without this paste. It should just be made from soybeans and salt water but like soy sauce, its often cut with wheat and other grains. What should be a gluten free product therefore often isn’t.
Annoyingly, doengjang isn’t available in the major supermarkets (despite them all selling gochujang!). You can pick up a tub (usually brown coloured) in most Asian grocers and it is available for order on Amazon, if a little pricey
Gochujang is a Korean fermented red chilli paste and is again almost essential to Korean cooking. The Korean chillis are spicy yet sweet and the fermentation gives it a super rich and deep flavour. Gochujang is not naturally gluten free as is it traditionally made with barley.
The good news is that red tubs of gochujang are available in most of the major supermarkets as well as Asian grocers and online.
Fish Sauce (Nam Pla)
This is a pungent Asian sauce made from fermented anchovies. And it stinks. Really badly. But it tastes nothing like it smells so please try it if you are unfamiliar.
It really makes the sauce all it should be. All of the supermarkets sell it but I love to buy massive bottles from the Asian grocers.
I have used “straight to wok” egg noodles in my “ramen”. These noodles are soft and vac packed. It means that they only need to be sat in boiling water for a few minutes to be ready to add to the soup.
My favourite noodles to use are udon which are fat, white and chewy. You can use whichever noodles you prefer. If those are dried noodles, follow the packet instructions to cook. But just under cook them ever so slightly as they will finish cooking a little more in the hot broth.
To find out about more of my favourite Asian Ingredients, check out my guide to the Top 16 Asian Ingredients which I always keep stocked in my pantry.
I’ve also suggested a whole bunch of recipes to try once your cupboard is fully stocked!
Whilst I cook the kale a little to soften it up, I always add my beansprouts to my soup raw. The heat of the broth will soften them slightly but they will still retain some texture and crunch.
Please do try to buy fresh beansprouts, the ones in the cans are just nasty for this sort of thing! Fresh beansprouts are available in all the supermarkets, not to mention Asian grocers.
There are essentially 4 elements to this Korean “Ramen”. The noodles, the broth, the hero topping and the rest of the toppings/veg. And you can mix and match as much as you like.
Think about using the broth from this recipe with some chicken thighs which have been cooked in the glaze from my Belly Pork recipe or even treat Beef Sirloin in the same way. Then think about adding thin rice noodles and garlic fried mushrooms, pak choi and topping it off with a fudgy 7 minute egg.
Or how about using a simple chicken broth gussied up with some miso and ginger with crispy fried king prawns, bean sprouts, sugar snap peas and egg noodles. Perhaps throw in some shredded red pepper for fun. Top with sesame seeds and chopped Chinese chives.
You could even throw in some dumplings like my Fun Guo. Just boil them instead of steaming. Or steam then pan fry them for added crunch.
There really are a million options!
Make it Vegetarian
There are also a million options to make a vegetarian version of my Korean Ramen. I would start by checking out my vegetarian alternative suggestions for my Korean Belly Pork.
Obviously you won’t have or be wanting to use leftover pork broth so simply follow my recipe but use a vegetable stock concentrate instead of the chicken stock. All of the other toppings and veg/noodles are suitable for vegetarians.
Make it Vegan
Build on my vegetarian suggestions above but also don’t add the boiled egg and leave the nam pla out of the broth. You shouldn’t require any other substitutions as the dish is already dairy free.
Make it Allergy Friendly
This recipe is free from nuts and dairy.
Gluten Free: This is an annoyingly gluten heavy recipe due to the flavour pastes used containing gluten. Doengjang paste should be gluten free but that can be extremely hard to obtain. Miso is an alternative which is easier to get hold of, some of which are gluten free. Just check the label carefully.
Gochujang paste will never be gluten free. The best way to substitute this is to use a hot sauce such as sriracha (which is gluten free as the vinegar in the recipe is also gluten free). The flavour won’t be as rich as using the real thing but you will still end up with a fab tasty dish.
Do also check the chicken stock that you are using as some do contain gluten ingredients.
Egg Free: Simple, don’t add the boiled egg!
Please note that this recipe may contain other allergens not referred to above and any variations suggested have not been tested unless otherwise stated. For more information regarding any dietary information provided on this website, please refer to my Nutritional Disclaimer.
Equipment Notes for Korean Ramen with Belly Pork
A regular microwave safe plate would be fine to heat the pork. Just cover the meat with cling film before heating. If you have no microwave, the pork can be heated on the hob in a frying pan.
A comprehensive list of the equipment used to make this recipe is included in the main recipe card below. Click on any item to see an example. There are no hard and fast rules so many items can be sensibly substituted to achieve the same results.
Almost every element of this dish can be prepared ahead of time and then put together at the last minute. The broth can be made and set aside. The pork is designed to use up leftovers. The kale can be blanched and the garnishes cut. The egg can be boiled and set aside.
However, I wouldn’t warm the noodles or peel the eggs in advance.
I also cannot hand on heart suggest freezing the whole soup. It is not going to defrost in any edible way.
Korean Ramen with Belly Pork Tips
Fair warning – the stock didn’t taste that spicy to me when it initially boiled but after it had sat for a while, the spice really developed. So if you prefer a spicier broth, I’d recommend waiting until nearer serving before adding any more chilli paste.
Please make sure that everything in the soup is bitesize (not the noodles though!). It is very difficult to cut a strip of meat with chopsticks and a spoon!
Did I mention that you shouldn’t wear a white top whilst eating this? Please plan to shower after eating.
Don’t forget to let me know in the comments if you try making this recipe – I want to know what you think and if you made any substitutions, how did it turn out?
Still Have Questions?
Simple! Just contact me and I will do my best to help as quickly as I am able. Head over to my Contact Me page, any of my social media channels or post a comment at the bottom of this page and I’ll see what I can do.
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More Meaty Main Meals
Korean Ramen with Belly Pork Recipe
For the Broth
- 2 tbsp Doengjang Paste
- 1 tbsp Gochujang Paste
- 1 tbsp Fish Sauce (Nam Pla) - Fish Sauce
- 1 tbsp Chicken Stock Concentrate
For the Toppings
- 2 Egg
- 50 g Kale
- 200 g Korean Pork Belly
- 2 Spring Onions (Scallions)
- 200 g Udon Noodles - Straight to Wok
- 100 g Fresh Beansprouts (Mung Bean Sprouts)
Make the Broth
- Pop a kettle of water on to boil.
- Meanwhile, measure 2 tbsp Doengjang Paste, 1 tbsp Gochujang Paste, 1 tbsp Fish Sauce and 1 tbsp Chicken Stock Concentrate into the bottom of a medium saucepan.
- Add a little of the boiled water to the pan and dissolve the pastes. Add a further 1 litre of the boiled water and bring to the boil.
- Pop the kettle on again.
Boil The Eggs
- Once boiling, add 2 Eggs to the stock and set a 7 minute timer.
- After 7 minutes, remove the eggs with a slotted spoon. Run under cold water then set aside to cool a little.
- Turn the stock down to a gentle simmer.
Prepare the Toppings
- Prepare the rest of the ingredients by discarding any stalks from 50g Kale and placing in a deepish bowl.
- Cover with boiling water and leave for 2 minutes or so before draining. Set the Kale aside.
- Thinly slice 200g Korean Belly Pork or your meat/protein of choice. Lay the slices out in one layer over a plate. It should now be ready to reheat in the microwave for 1-2 minutes or in a dry frying pan on the hob.
- Peel the boiled eggs and cut in half lengthways.
- Peel off the outer layer and cut 2 Spring Onions into rounds, discarding the darker green parts.
- Pull apart 200g Udon Noodles with your fingers and place in a deep bowl. Cover with boiling water and leave for 5 minutes to soften. If you like them with a little less chew, you can microwave them or boil them on the hob for a couple of minutes. Bear in mind they will soften a little more in the finished soup. Drain the noodles and set them aside.
Assemble the Ramen
- Each bowl can now be put together.
- Put the belly pork into the microwave or frying pan to warm for 1-2 minutes.
- Meanwhile, split the noodles between two serving bowls.
- Cover the noodles with the kale and 100g Fresh Beansprouts.
- Take the belly pork out of the microwave and place half in each bowl.
- Gently pour half of the stock into each bowl.
- Top each bowl with 2 egg halves and garnish with the sliced spring onions.
- Serve. Use chopsticks and a large spoon to eat.