About a month ago, news of a seductive new culinary sensation hit the internet. Chef Keizo Shimamoto debuted the ramen burger: a hamburger between two buns made of cooked, pressed, and fried ramen.
Naturally, the internet went crazy. Myself included. So last week, after some searching for recipes, I decided to make my own.
Ramen Burger, Mk. 1
Yield: 1 large burger
My first attempt at Keizo Shimamoto’s ramen burger. Adapted from Claire Lower.
Ramen noodle buns
- 2 packages of instant ramen (seasoning packets set aside)
- 2 eggs
- sesame oil or butter
- ground beef
- soy sauce
- brown sugar
- cider vinegar
- green onions
Making the buns
- Boil water. Cook up your ramen in that water. Do not add the seasoning packets.
- When noodles are al dente, remove them from the heat. (Seriously, you don’t want them to be totally soft.) Leave the noodles slightly wet.
- In a bowl, thoroughly combine noodles, eggs, and seasoning packets. Well, the contents of the seasoning packets. Leave the foil out.
- Place half of the noodles in a bowl roughly the desired size of your bun.
- Press plastic wrap over the noodles in the bowl, then flip the noodles out onto the plastic wrap and finish wrapping them.
- Repeat steps 4 and 5 for other bun(s).
- Place wrapped buns in the refrigerator, under heavy weights. I used a 29oz. can of pumpkin puree. Pressing each bun separately is ideal.
- Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.
- While buns are refrigerating, heat oil or butter over medium heat.
- Once buns are chilled and oil is hot, remove buns from refrigerator. Carefully unwrap one side and slide it into the skillet. Reshape with spatula if needed.
- When one side has reached desired crispness, flip the bun.
- When other side has reached desired crispness, remove bun from skillet and set on paper towels to drain.
- Repeat steps 10-12 for other bun(s).
- Congratulations, you’ve made ramen buns! (Speaking of, is it cool if I call you Ramen Buns from now on?)
Making the burgers
- Aw, hell, I dunno. Mix the ground beef with things like soy sauce, brown sugar, orange zest. Whatever sounds good.
- Top with sliced green onions. Or, y’know, whatever you want. I’m not the boss of you.
This recipe is pretty awesome, but not perfect. Check out my commentary below.
So how did it turn out?
R and I joke that I’ve got a black-hole stomach. I have a fairly legendary ability to pack food away. I couldn’t eat more than half of this burger. Between the buns–which are made of an egg and a packet of ramen each–and the beef, I was full by the fourth bite. These things are filling.
And… they’re tasty. They’re delicious, actually. The noodles aren’t overpoweringly seasoned, but provide just enough flavor to keep the buns from being boring. The burger–however I did it–turned out tasty too, with a nice mix of soy sauce and ginger and all those pan-Asian flavors.
That said, this recipe isn’t perfect.
One packet of ramen per bun is just too much. Unfortunately, I’m not sure if a half-packet per bun is enough, which makes the math kinda tricky. Still, for average appetites, you just can’t do one noodle brick per bun, unless you want to explode.
It’s also crucial to not overcook the ramen. Normally, I don’t give a shit about how “done” my instant ramen is–after all, it’s instant ramen–but for ramen burgers, if you let the noodles get too soft, the buns suffer. The noodles fall apart, becoming a starchy glob rather than a beautiful bun of distinct ramen noodles.
Finally, fry hotter and faster. I wanted the outer noodles to be downright crispy. They turned out mildly crunchy. The buns held together, which was a huge accomplishment, but I fried them as long as I could without burning them and they still hardly had the textural dynamic I hoped for. I think frying ’em hotter and faster will get the outside much crispier than the inside, without scorching the noodles or turning the inside to mush.
Still, make no mistake: This is a delicious way to enjoy burgers. I’m looking forward to trying it again and making those changes so as to make an even tastier ramen burger.
Here’s a gallery of pictures from the process. Enjoy: