The ramen burger first became popular in 2013 at an outdoor, weekend food bizarre called Smorgasburg in New York. Blogger and Japanese ramen enthusiast, Keizo Shimamoto created it. How he gets the ramen to stick together is a trade secret, but I’ve figured it out! I’ve tried egg, and it just doesn’t work very well. Learn how to make a traditional, gluten free ramen burger, including the sauce!
Note: Smorgasburg Los Angeles opens June 19, 2016, and will be open every Sunday.
Since I was recently sent a bunch of gluten free ramen from King Soba, experimenting with ramen burgers couldn’t have come at a better time. I not only discovered how to get the ramen to stick together, but how to develop a nice crunch on the outside. I hope you enjoy this unique recipe as much as I did when I created it.
Keizo Shimamoto’s Version:
The original ramen burger is made of 25% fat certified Angus beef cooked with Kosher salt, which provides a nice char, as well as pepper. The beef patty is topped with optional cheese or fried egg, or go for it and have both! Keizo makes homemade Shoyu sauce (pronounced “show you”), which he uses as a salty Asian BBQ sauce. Then it’s all topped with arugula, as it tastes a bit peppery compared to plain lettuce, and sliced scallions (green onions) for a bit of crunch.
How to Make the Ramen Stick Together:
As soon as Keizo explained in his interview that he spent five years in Japan, I knew his trade secret for holding the ramen together had to be tapioca! Tapioca is used to make their famous dessert, mochi.
Every copycat ramen bun recipe I found online calls for whole eggs. Believe me; eggs do not hold it together well enough. A mixture of tapioca and water works super! You can even hold the buns and fry them on their edges if desired.
Gluten Free Ramen Burger + The Secret to the Glue – It’s not egg!
Whether you're gluten-free or not, you have to learn the secret to holding the ramen together to make the famous ramen burger! It's incredible and must at least be experienced once. Also learn how to make the bun super crunchy!
For the Ramen Buns:
- 1 cake King Soba Gluten Free Brown Rice Ramen, boiled until tender and drained
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon tapioca flour/starch
- Black Cumin Seeds*, for garnish (optional)
For the Burgers:
- 1/4 pound ground beef (use one-third bulk pork or turkey, if desired)
- Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
For the Sauce:
- 1 tablespoon gluten-free sweet and sour sauce (Sweet Baby Ray's) (or Plum Sauce for corn-free)
- 1 teaspoon gluten-free soy sauce or tamari sauce (San-J)
- 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon red hot chili oil (optional, for heat)
- 1/4 teaspoon tapioca flour
- 1/4 teaspoon water (optional)
For the Toppings:
- Slices of white cheese (Monterey Jack, Provolone, etc.) (optional)
- Fried eggs (one per burger) (optional)
- Greens of choice (or arugula)
- Thinly sliced green onion, for crunch
To Make the Ramen Buns:
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (optional). Lay two English Muffin Rings on the top of the paper. Using gluten-free olive oil spray, oil the rings and the paper inside of the rings; set aside.
- Place the ramen in plenty of boiling water for about 3 minutes, Separate noodles with a fork. Then boil an additional 4 minutes; drain the water from the pan and place back in saucepan.
- In a small bowl, add 2 tablespoons of water. Add tapioca flour on top and combine.
- Pour the tapioca mixture over the warm ramen and toss gently to coat evenly.
- Divide the ramen between the prepared English muffin Rings. Add enough ramen mixture to form half a burger bun. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or until completely chilled.
- Preheat a large skillet with oil. Fry the cold ramen buns until crispy on the outside, on both sides. (Keep the buns refrigerated until ready to cook. The colder they are, the crispier they will become.)
To Make the Burger:
- Form a round patty from the 1/4 pound of ground beef about 1-inch wider than the bun. Depress the meat patty from the center to about 1/2-inch from the edges. (The center usually swells when cooked.) Cook over medium-high heat until charred, about 4 - 5 minutes on each side or until it reaches your desired temperature.
- If using, add a slice of cheese and cover until it melts.
To Make the Sauce:
- While the burger cooks, make the sauce: Whisk together the sweet & sour sauce, soy/tarmari sauce, and the hot chili oil (if using). Add tapioca flour and whisk until smooth. Warm in the microwave until you hear it sizzle; or heat on the stovetop until slightly thickened. When it cools, it thickens more. Thin with 1/4 teaspoon of water if needed.
- Add sauce to one of the buns. Top with the cooked burger and some sauce. If using, lay a fried egg on top of the burger. Top with arugula, and scallions for crunch. (Thinly sliced yellow onion works, too.) Serve immediately, wrapped in parchment paper.
*How to Make Extra-Crispy Buns:
If you desire a super crispy outside on the bun, after frying each side, place in freezer for about 45 minutes or more and fry again in a preheated, pre-oiled skillet over medium-high heat until heated through.
Black Cumin Seeds:
*Black cumin seeds are very tart and hard on the digestive tract if not roasted long enough. Place in a skillet and roast over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Test one to ensure that it is no longer bitter.
Read this article on the Benefits of Black Cumin Seeds and Oil. There is mention on how it may help autoimmune diseases. I'm not sure if it works, but I'm willing to try just about anything for my MS. I've had a lot of success so far with another natural protocol.
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