A New Instant Ramen Hack
I absolutely love an instant ramen hack! This shrimp ramen recipe is a new fave and it deserves its own post. I’ve dubbed it shrimp “tonkatsu” ramen because the broth mimics the rich broth you get with a traditional pork tonkatsu ramen. It’s the surf answer to a traditionally turf-based dish. But instead of requiring a days worth of hours to make pork stock, this recipe comes together in an hour (and most of that time is waiting for the stock to steep.)
The Keys to this Recipe
The first key ingredient here is shrimp–and more specifically shrimp heads and shells. The shrimp heads themselves add a ton of richness and flavor to a fairly quick shrimp stock. It can be slightly tricky to find head-on shrimp, but I have had very good luck finding them regularly at Costco. Or if you have access to an H-Mart, head-on shrimp are plentiful there, too.
One note: you can buy head-on shrimp when you find them, process the heads and shells, and freeze them so you have the start of a batch of shrimp stock whenever you need it.
The second key ingredient is a can of full fat coconut milk. This adds the creamy richness that imitates tonkatsu broth. This recipe calls for just half a can, but you can easily save the rest to whip up a batch of Thai curry later in the week.
- Explore: Veggie Thai Green Curry
This recipe suits my tastes well. I love the deep seafood flavor; the creaminess of the dish reminds me of bisque. And I rarely meet a ramen noodle that I don’t love. This soup is such a snap to pull together which means I’ll be making this regularly moving forward. It’s an awesome addition to my arsenal of instant ramen upgrades.
Shrimp “Tonkatsu” Ramen
- 4 cups shrimp heads & shells from ~2 lbs of head-on shrimp
- 1 ½ tbsp unflavored gelatin powder see note
- 20 shrimp medium-sized; raw, shelled, and cleaned
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp instant dashi granules see note
- 2 packs shrimp-flavored instant ramen your fave–this works well with even the cheapest of options!
- 7 oz full-fat coconut milk canned
- scallions chopped for garnish
- cilantro chopped for garnish
- lime wedges for garnish
- fish sauce to taste
- Combine the shrimp heads and shells with 2 quarts of water to a 4-6 quart Dutch oven or soup pot. Bring to a boil and then simmer until the stock reduces by half. This will take about 45-mintues to an hour.
- While the shrimp stock is cooking, bloom the gelatin. Combine the gelatin and ¼ cup water in a small bowl. Let sit until needed.
- When the stock is nearly reduced, sear the shrimp on each side over medium high heat in 1 tbsp of butter until cooked and they are starting to lightly brown in places. This shouldn't take longer than a couple of minutes on each side. Set aside.
- When the shrimp stock is cooked and reduced by half, strain through a fine mesh sieve into another soup pot. Set over medium high heat.
- Add the gelatin, dashi granules, and the seasoning packet(s) from ONE ramen pouch to the stock. Stir to combine and let these ingredients dissolve. Add the coconut milk and stir to combine. Then add the noodles from BOTH ramen pouches. Simmer for about three minutes or until cooked through. Times may depend on the brand of ramen you choose. Split noodles amongst bowls and distribute broth and cooked shrimp evenly. Garnish with scallions, cilantro, a squeeze of lime juice, and fish sauce to taste.
- This makes 4 smaller sized, but still satisfying, bowls of soup; 2 two dinner sized bowls. You can easily double this recipe if necessary.
- This stock smells VERY shrimpy when it’s cooking. I enjoy this a lot because I’m a huge fan of seafood, but some folks in your household might not like it…just being real here!
- The gelatin is a trick I got from Serious Eats. The gelatin adds extra richness to the mouthfeel in lieu of the collagen and gelatin you’d get from bone broth.
- The dashi granules add extra seafood-y flavor to this dish. You can probably leave it out if you don’t have it, but consider buying some because having this ingredient on hand makes it very easy to whip up a quick batch of miso soup!
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