Where to get the best Ramen and the not so secret Ozuké ingredient

As you know, ramen is all the rage. It has been for a while now. Ask anyone where to get the best ramen and they will likely have a very passionate response. In fact, finding the best ramen has almost become an urban sport, the winner gaining social status, emphatic pride, and maybe even a few dates.

Unfortunately, when something becomes insanely popular, it can also become insanely expensive. Not all ramen spots are pricey, but there are certainly a lot of pricey options out there. What if you are just as obsessed with ramen as everybody else, but are shackled by your budget?

We are here to tell you that making ramen does not require alchemy—especially with the super power of delicious kimchi. So why not make your own?

Like an embedded reporter, I photographed as a friend made ramen for dinner. I pretended to be experimenting with a new camera as I lined up the ingredients and snapped away. Herein these photos lies the secret to making delicious, easy and inexpensive ramen that doesn’t come in a microwavable cup.

When I walked in the house I noticed two things immediately: An amazing aroma and my growling stomach. The broth had been simmering for some time before my arrival.

This particular cook was rather secretive about his broth, I think because his strategy was to add a little of this, and add a little of that, until the flavor reached its zenith. He did however excitedly use some juice from Ozuke’s Kale & Collards Kim Chi. He poured it right into the broth, right in front of my camera.

Ozuke in Broth

Not pictured: How incredible the house smelled as the broth was simmering.

As I arranged the ingredients that were set out for the meal to “try out my new camera,” there were hints of what the broth contained. Beside the kimchi you’ll notice Bragg’s Liquid Aminos, Sriracha, natural rice vinegar, white pepper, turmeric, black sesame oil, and even Jamaican Jerk seasoning.


We can also see almost everything else that the ramen will include once it is plated: ramen noodles, ginger root, garlic cloves, shallots, carrots, radishes, a lime, a jalapeno, green opinions, cilantro, and shitake mushrooms. Not pictured: four eggs and one cucumber.


Isn’t there something so dangerously fun about jalapenos?

Mushroom Close

I confess I didn’t see what role the ginger played in the meal, but I suspect it was used in the amazing broth.


While the broth continued to simmer, our chef of the evening grabbed a knife. He cut up the green onions, the carrots, the radishes, the mushrooms, the cucumber, the jalapeno, the shallots, and pulled the leaves from the cilantro.

Green Onion Carrots

After that, there was some cooking to do. Four eggs were cracked and scrambled with black pepper.


After that, there was some cooking to do. Four eggs were cracked and scrambled with black pepper.

RamenCooked Shrooms Egg Onion

After all the prep was done, the stage was set like this. Everything is fresh and simple, the signature of a good, healthy meal.

Prepped Ingredients

As our chef for the evening began to plate the food, it was confirmed that he was an artist. He took his time laying each ingredient on each plate at a time so that the patterns matched from plate to plate.

Close up Plated No Broth

And after everything was arranged just so, he poured in the broth we’d been salivating over, making each dish almost complete. The cherry-on-top to this ramen dish was our Kale & Collards Kim Chi—a grand finale indeed.

Plated Above

Yes, it was delicious.

Now let’s review. Making a delicious ramen meal at home is something all of us can do. There is very little cooking involved, there is ample room for creativity, the ingredients are simple and few, and as long as kimchi is involved, you’re going to love it

The Kimchi Crowd

There it sits in your fridge staring straight back at you. And it’s alive! Your head is spinning…how am I supposed to eat Ozuké’s Kale and Collards kimchi? Is this too gourmet for someone like me? Too health-nutty? Will people scoff at me if I ask them what to do, because I should already know? You find following a recipe to be surprisingly difficult. Where can you turn?


While social media definitely has its problems, it does make it possible for us to ask a large group of people a question at the same time. They call it “crowd sourcing,” we call it “asking for help.”


That said, if you’re feeling unsure about how to eat your Ozuké’s Kale and Collards Kimchi, ask your friends on the social media platform of your choice. You may be surprised at all the ideas (and genuine enthusiasm) you will receive.


We decided to try this theory out and wrangled a person to post this very question on Facebook. Better still, she was admittedly clueless about kimchi. She wrote:


“Hi friends who cook. I have some kale and collards kimchi. What should I make with it? What should I eat it on? I’d love some ideas. (Remember, I don’t eat meat aside from fish)”


The responses that she got were from all over the map. Both men and women were excited to share their favorite way to eat kale and collards kimchi. Here is a snapshot of what we’re calling the Kimchi Crowd:


1.Amber Russell, Lyons, Colorado

“Black bean and sweet potato soft shell tacos topped with avocado and kimchi. It’s a huge hit with our kiddos.”

Kimchi Amber

The Russells are a family of 5 from Lyons, Colorado who have been meat free for over ten years. They adore the outdoors and are self-proclaimed tree and dog huggers.

2.Cate Peebles, Brooklyn, NY

“Yum. I would serve it with a grilled, meaty fish, like Halibut or Sea Bass. If you went straight veg, maybe smoky black beans and rice…all of that together would be magical.”

kimchi cate peebles

Cate is a poet who is currently the copywriter/editor at Murray’s Cheese in New York City.

3.Joshua Hedges, Nashville, TN

“Homemade ramen. Throw all of that in there! Especially the kimchi juices. Poach an egg in it too if you do eggs. Just don’t use whatever flavor packet comes with your noodles and make your own broth with soy sauce, Sriracha, kimchi juice, ginger, black pepper, and lime. I actually make these quite often.”

Kimchi Josh Hedges

Josh is the owner-operator at Raveyard Records, and cooks vegan meals for Khan’s Desserts in Nashville.

4.Kristel Anne Allen, San Francisco, CA

“With black or brown rice and the kimchi as is, I’d be a happy camper:)”

Kimchi Kristel Anne Allen

Kristel is a Psychotherapist Intern at Grateful Heart Holistic Therapy Center in San Francisco and the East Bay, CA.

5.Evan Creem, Brooklyn, New York

I make everything into tacos…so…. TACOS! Or Garlic and Nappa Kimchi with kale cooked in lemon juice over a bed of quinoa and sage butter salmon filet. Or Citrus and Ginger Kimchi on spicy vegan hot dogs for snacky time.”

Kimchi Evan Creem

Evan is a freelance video producer and a legal administrative assistant at Marsh & McLennan Companies is New York City.

6.Jeanie Kirk, Portland, Oregon

This might sound crazy, but kimchi of all kinds is delicious on top of peanut butter toast.”

kimchi jeanie kirk

Jeanie is a researcher currently preparing for doctoral studies focused on environmental anthropology, specifically the human impacts of climate change manifesting in migrations due to sea level rise.

Needless to say, our guinea pig was happy with her results. Now she has at least six different ideas about how to enjoy her Kale and Collards Kimchi. Are you part of the Kimchi Crowd? We’d love to hear your ideas too. Tell us your favorite way to eat Ozuké’s Kale and Collards Kimchi in the comment section below—you just might be saving someone who is too nervous to ask.



Pad Thai w/Kale & Collards Kimchi

I’ve heard that Pad Thai (stir-fried rice noodles Thai-style), the sweet and savory dish many Americans think of as a Thai staple, is not easily found in restaurants in Thailand. It is commonly prepared by street vendors (video), and is apparently rather ubiquitous in touristy areas. Well, I hope some day to be able to find out for myself. In the meantime, I prepare it at home, and can make a pretty good version thanks to Robert Danhi.  Robert is a talented American chef who specializes in southeast Asian cooking. His book, ‘Southeast Asian Flavors‘ has won several awards. I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to watch Robert prepare Pad Thai, and was careful to take lots of notes.

Pad Thai Ingredients:
1/2 lb Dried flat Thai noodles
1/4 Cup Red Boat fish sauce
2 TBS Tamarind pulp
1/4 Cup palm sugar
2-3 Dried roasted chilies, ground
2 TBS vegetable oil
1 TBS shallots, minced
1 TBS garlic, diced
2 Eggs, lightly beaten
1 TBS dried shrimp, chopped
3/4 Cup pressed tofu or chicken or protein, sliced into strips
1 TBS Pickled radish (daikon), chopped
1 Cup scallions (greens only), sliced diagonally
2 Cups mung bean sprouts
1/2 Cup dry roasted peanuts, chopped
Ozuké Kale & Collards Kimchi
Water as needed
Instruction #1
– Purchase excellent ingredients
Each ingredient is essential, and most important are those in the special sauce! They create the tasty balance between sweet and sour, and are the foundation of Pad Thai. Where does the sour flavor come from? It comes from the tamarind fruit.  I was able to find pure tamarind pulp (nothing added), and “seedless”. When I opened the bag, I found delicious pulp AND a gazillion seeds. Because of those seeds, preparing the tamarind pulp for the recipe took a bit more time than I had thought it would, but it was well worth it!

Where does the sweet come from? It comes from thick, rich palm sugar. Palm sugar is available in different forms. Because the paste dissolves more easily than discs, I prefer the paste.

Instruction #2 – Prepare all your ingredients before cooking
Begin by making tamarind paste for special sauce. Pad Thai1-001To prepare the paste, break off a piece of the gooey tamarind, and mix with water. Use fingers to massage the pulp, removing seeds and any other plant material. Add more water if needed. Place tamarind pulp through a fine mesh strainer. Using a spoon, push through strainer, and scrape the bottom to collect the tamarind paste.
Pad Thai2Add the palm sugar to the prepared tamarind paste, blend thoroughly. Then add fish sauce and chili flakes, whisk. Set sauce aside, and prepare other ingredients for deliciousness! making tamarind tamarind chiliNoodles next – soak noodles in room temp water for 25 minutes. Drain noodles, and set aside. DSC_0124While noodles are soaking prepare other ingredients – pan roasted peanuts (chopped), lightly roasted Thai chilies (ground), scallions (sliced), radish (chopped), shrimp (chopped), tofu (sliced), eggs (lightly beaten). Set up your cooking station – mise en place. prepped ingredientsInstruction #3 – Cook Pad Thai
Heat pan on medium-high, once hot, add oil & garlic. Cook until edges are lightly brown. Push garlic to side of pan, add beaten eggs, and scramble. Keep garlic off to side. Add tofu, shrimp and radish. Mix it all together.   Pad Thaieggs ingredientsOnce mixed, add noodles, 2/3 of the special sauce, and some water. Toss well. Noodles mixedpouring sauceContinue tossing until noodles are soft, but not mushy. Add water (for cooking) and more sauce (for flavor) as needed. Be sure to add water in small amounts to prevent noodles from getting soggy. Continue tossing.  Once noodles are cooked, chewy NOT soggy, add most of the scallions, peanuts, and bean sprouts, reserving some for garnish. Mix well.  above pad thai-001Instruction #4 – Eat
Serve and garnish with more peanuts, bean sprouts, scallions, and Ozuké Kale & Collards Kimchi – Voilậ! Pad Thai that is great tasting and good for your gut, too! And perhaps the best part, you too can watch Robert prepare this recipe in his Thai Cooking Essentials class available at Craftsy.com.

gin hâi à-ròi (Enjoy your meal)!