Most of us view ramen either as instant noodles or as a rich Japanese dish. But ramen can also be a delicious and healthy easy snack or small meal. This recipe has a ton of flavor because it’s topped with izakaya-style Japanese meatballs (chicken tsukune) and a rich tare sauce.
Rice ramen noodles can be found in most Asian food aisles or through your online grocery provider. By substituting them for regular wheat noodles the dish becomes gluten-free. A note to not overcook your rice noodles! They have a fantastic light texture but can be easily overcooked while reheating. To keep the recipe gluten-free, be sure to use gluten-free soy sauce or tamari.
The additional toppings of mushrooms and spinach are cooked alongside the other ingredients to minimize dishes and keep the recipe simple to prepare. Feel free to sub in your favorite mushroom or leafy green to your taste. And if you want to take it up a notch, ramen always benefits from the addition of a hard boiled egg, nori strips, and chili flakes.
Sometimes you need an easy, low-calorie option to help you reset the body. This Chicken Tsukune Ramen recipe is heart healthy, gluten-free, digestive supportive, and most importantly, delicious!
Japanese chicken meatballs are seasoned with fresh ginger, garlic, scallions, and sesame oil, while egg and panko breadcrumbs bind the meat to allow it to cling to a skewer and stay together on the grill. A brushing of a tare sauce at the end of cooking gives the meatballs a glistening sweet and salty glaze.
For the chicken meatballs:
1 lb lean ground chicken breast
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup finely chopped scallions
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger (+1 tsp reserved)
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh garlic (+1 tsp reserved) (about 5 medium cloves)
2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1 teaspoon neutral vegetable oil, for cooking
6 eggs, hard boiled and shelled
2 32 oz box of low sodium chicken broth
4 cups fresh spinach leaves
16 Shiitake mushroom caps, stems removed
9 oz rice ramen noodles, approximately 3 packages
For the tare:
½ cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp. dry sake
1 Tbsp. mirin
2 pieces dried kombu seaweed (*optional)
Preheat the oven to 400 and lightly oil a baking sheet with ¼ teaspoon neutral oil.
Using a food processor, rough chop ginger and garlic. Set aside 2 teaspoons of the mixture to use later in the broth. Then add ground turkey, panko, sesame oil, salt, pepper, and egg. Mix to combine. Make a small finger bowl with water and a splash of neutral oil. Dip your hands in the water bowl before hand-rolling meatballs. Aim for 16 meatballs, approximately the size of a golf ball and set them on the baking sheet.
Place full shiitake mushroom on the baking sheet alongside meatballs, with a drizzle of neutral oil and sprinkle of salt.
Bake meatballs and mushrooms in the oven for 15 minutes. Then using tongs, carefully flip meatballs and cook for another 5 minutes. Meat balls should be browned on each side and firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
Hard boil eggs by placing them in a small sauce pan covered in cool water. Bring to a boil, then turn off and remove from heat. Let them sit for 10 minutes before plunging in cool water and peeling. Set aside.
While the meatballs are baking make the tare. In a small sauce pot, combine soy sauce, sake, mirin, and kombu. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the sauce has reduced by half and thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon evenly, 15 to 20 minutes.
When the chicken meatballs come out of the oven, roll them in the tare sauce and set back on the pan to cool. Add your hardboiled eggs to the remaining tare to marinate.
To make your stock, heat remaining ¼ tsp neutral oil in a large stock pot and add the reserved chopped garlic and ginger. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring often until fragrant and golden. Pour in low-sodium chicken broth and bring to a low simmer.
When ready to serve, divide the noodles between 6 bowls and cover with 1.5 cups of broth in each. Arrange three meatballs, 1 hard boiled egg sliced lengthwise, ½ cup fresh spinach leaves, and 3 shiitake mushroom caps in each bowl. Brush the meatballs with tare, and serve immediately.
For an optional garnish, sprinkle with chopped green onions, chili flakes and squeeze of lemon.
Makes 6 servings.
CHICKEN MEATBALLS & NOODLES NUTRITION FACTS (PER SERVING):
Protein: 35 g
Total fat: 12 g
Saturated fat: 5 g
Cholesterol: 260 mg
Carbs: 25 g
Fiber: 3 g
Total sugars: 3 g
Added sugars: 0 g
Sodium 460 mg
TARE NUTRITION FACTS (PER SERVING):
Protein: 1 g
Total fat: 0 g
Saturated fat: 0 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Carbs: 1 g
Fiber: 0 g
Total sugars: 0 g
Added sugars: 0 g
Sodium: 410 mg (18% DV)
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.