Food mashups are all the rage lately, with creative chefs combining cuisines for exciting new flavor combos. One of the tastiest blends I’ve come across is birria ramen – a genius mix of Japanese ramen with deeply seasoned Mexican birria beef.
This dish truly brings together the best of both worlds. You’ve got tender birria meat, the complex concentrated broth, and signature accompaniments like fresh lime and cilantro. Then it’s all layered over springy Japanese ramen noodles instead of rice. The flavors work so incredibly well together!
Table of Contents for Birria Ramen Recipe
In this post, we’ll delve into everything you need to know to make birria ramen at home. I’ll explain exactly what birria and ramen both are, then share my recipe for combining them into the ultimate satisfying soup. Let’s dive in!
What is Birria?
First, let’s talk about birria, the Mexican meat that forms the foundation of this dish. Birria is a specialty goat or beef stew from the state of Jalisco. Here’s an overview:
Birria dates back hundreds of years to colonial Mexico. It was likely invented as a way to make use of less desirable meat cuts.
Traditionally made with goat meat or beef. Also pork, chicken, even turkey! Chili peppers, spices, and tomatoes or vinegar feature prominently.
Long simmered as a stew until ultra tender. Sometimes prepared in underground pits.
The meat is fall-apart tender after prolonged braising. Shreddable but still juicy.
Intensely savory with layers of spice flavor. Prominent chile, cumin, garlic, cloves.
So in a nutshell, birria is all about ultra-tender, well seasoned meat. Now let’s cover ramen!
What is Ramen?
Ramen is a traditional Japanese noodle soup made of 4 key components:
Broth – Made from meat, fish, or vegetables. Tonkotsu (pork) and shoyu (soy sauce) broths are most common.
Noodles – Curly, elastic wheat noodles made with an alkaline solution called kansui. This gives them their texture.
Protein – Sliced pork belly, chicken, fish cakes etc.
Toppings – Scallions, soft-boiled egg, seaweed, kamaboko, chili paste.
The broth brings huge savory umami flavor, while the noodles and toppings provide satisfying textures.
How Birria Ramen Came To Be
Food bloggers and chefs started experimenting with birria ramen in the early 2010s. Two factors contributed to its surge in popularity:
Birria Tacos Go Mainstream
Birria tacos with consumé became a social media sensation, introducing Americans to the flavors of birria.
Ramen mania was already in full swing. Creative hybrids like ramen burgers inspired experiments with other meats atop ramen.
It made perfect sense to sub spiced, tender birria for the traditional pork or chicken in ramen. The rest is viral food history!
Flavors and Textures in Birria Ramen
So what exactly does birria ramen taste and feel like? Here are the defining characteristics:
Made from the chili- and spice-infused juices leftover from cooking the meat. So deeply flavored.
Tender Shredded Meat
Choice of beef, goat, lamb or pork that shreds easily after prolonged braising.
Fresh lime juice, cilantro, salsa, etc. help cut through the richness.
Dried chiles add subtle heat and fruitiness.
Ramen noodles offer the perfect slurp texture and starch to balance the dish.
Now let’s get into the fun part – actually making it!
Birria Ramen Recipe
Birria Ramen Recipe – An Irresistible Mashup of Japanese Noodles and Mexican BeefCourse: CookbookCuisine: Mexican, Japanese FusionDifficulty: Easy
Here’s what you’ll need to serve 4 bowls of this exotic noodle soup:
- For the Birria:
2 lbs beef chuck roast or goat meat
2 dried ancho chilies
1 onion, sliced
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 tbsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
1 tbsp chili powder
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
2 cups beef broth
- For the Ramen:
4 pkgs ramen noodles
Toppings: cilantro, lime wedges, diced onion
- Optional garnishes:
- Make the Birria – In a pressure cooker or dutch oven, combine meat, chilies, onion, garlic, and all spices. Add broth. Cook on high pressure 40 mins or simmer 2 hours until meat shreds easily.
- Shred the Meat – Once ultra tender, remove meat from the broth. Shred with two forks into stringy pieces.
- Cook the Ramen – Prepare ramen noodles per package instructions. Drain and set aside.
- Assemble the Bowls – To serve, place ramen noodles into large bowls. Top with shredded birria meat, then ladle over hot broth. Finish with desired toppings.
The combo of slurpable noodles, spiced meat and bright garnishes is incredible. Now let’s talk birria ramen toppings and extras!
Topping Ideas for Birria Ramen
- Sliced radish, cucumber, or cabbage for crunch
- Avocado, queso fresco, crema for richness
- Hot sauce, chili crisp oil, or salsa for heat
- Lime and cilantro for acidity and freshness
- Thinly sliced jalapeños or onions for bite
- Quesabirria – cheese melted into the broth
4 servings per container
- Amount Per Serving% Daily Value *
- Total Fat
- Saturated Fat 5g 25%
- Cholesterol 75mg 25%
- Sodium 1500mg 63%
- Amount Per Serving% Daily Value *
- Potassium 25mg 1%
- Protein 20g 40%
* The % Daily Value tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Tips for Birria Ramen Success
Follow these tips for the very best homemade birria ramen:
- Use a fatty cut of meat like chuck roast or shoulder
- Simmer the birria at least 2 hours until fall-off-the-bone tender
- Skim the fat from the broth for cleaner flavor
- Shred meat against the grain into long thin strands
- Serve the broth very hot to melt the cheese garnish if using
- Let guests customize their bowl with preferred toppings
- Provide lots of lime wedges and fresh cilantro
The more tender the meat and hotter the broth, the better this noodle soup!
What to Serve Alongside Birria Ramen
While a bowl of birria ramen is a meal itself, you can make it a feast with:
- Traditional birria tacos with all the fixings
- Esquites – Mexican street corn with mayo, cheese, chili powder
- Chips and guacamole
- Horchata or jamaica agua frescas to drink
Take your birria ramen party over the top by turning it into a theme! Serve up more delicious foods from Jalisco.
Storing and Freezing Leftovers
To save leftovers:
- Refrigerate birria meat and broth separately up to 4 days
- The broth keeps longer than the shredded meat
- Frozen leftover birria meat can be added to soups or stews
- Freeze leftover broth in ice cube trays for flavoring future dishes
With proper storage, enjoy birria ramen all week long!
FAQs About Birria Ramen
Still have some questions? Here I’ll cover some of the most frequently asked birria ramen queries:
What is birria ramen made of?
It contains birria meat, the flavorful broth from cooking the meat, ramen noodles, and toppings like cilantro and lime.
What meat is traditionally used in birria?
Goat or beef is traditional, but birria can also be made with lamb, pork, chicken, turkey, or a mix.
Is birria spicy?
It has moderate spice from chili peppers. Adjust the level by using less dried chilies and chili powder.
Why is the birria broth red?
The deep red-orange color comes from the dried chilies like guajillo, ancho, and cascabel used to flavor it.
Can you drink the birria broth?
Absolutely! The flavorful broth is meant to be consumed alongside the meat in tacos and ramen.
Is birria unhealthy?
It can be high in sodium and fat since it’s a long-cooked stew. Enjoy in moderation as part of a balanced diet!
Ready for Ramen and Birria Magic?
I hope this guide has demystified birria ramen so you can try crafting this mashup of Japanese and Mexican flavors at home. Truly the best of both cuisine worlds!
If you’re looking for another Japanese classic to try, consider making a Refreshing Ika Salad. It’s a delightful dish that complements the bold flavors of birria ramen.
Let me know if you give the recipe a try or have any other favorite birria dishes. Now who’s ready to get their rich, spicy, slurpy noodle soup on?