Ultimate Guide to Black Garlic Oil Ramen: Recipe & Presentation Tips

Diving into the world of ramen, we’ve discovered a gem that elevates this beloved dish to new heights: black garlic oil, or mayu, as it’s known in Japanese. This rich, deeply flavored oil, inspired by the traditional Kumamoto ramen, brings an extra layer of sweetness and complexity to the ramen’s broth. We’re excited to share our recipe for Black Garlic Oil Tonkotsu Ramen, a dish that promises to transform your ramen nights into an unforgettable culinary experience.

Our journey to perfecting this recipe involved crafting a soup base with pork and chicken bones, boiled vigorously to achieve a milky consistency, and then infusing it with homemade black garlic oil. This oil, made by frying garlic chips in pork lard until they’re just right and then blending them into a smooth, aromatic elixir, is the secret to the ramen’s distinctive flavor. We’ve also included sous vide chashu for that tender, slightly charred bite. Join us as we explore how to bring this flavor-packed ramen to your table, ensuring your next ramen night is nothing short of spectacular.

What Is Black Garlic Oil?

Black garlic oil, or mayu, is a transformative ingredient in the world of traditional and modern Japanese ramen. This dark, rich condiment is celebrated for its ability to elevate dishes, especially ramen, with its unique flavor profile.

Taste and Culinary Uses

Black garlic oil boasts a complex taste that is smoky, slightly sweet, and deeply umami, making it an invaluable addition to our culinary arsenal. When we drizzle this oil over a steaming bowl of ramen, it introduces a smoky depth that balances the richness of the broth, enhancing each slurp.

In our kitchens, we’ve discovered that black garlic oil’s uses extend beyond ramen. It’s incredibly versatile; try mixing it into dressings for a savory punch, or drizzle it over grilled vegetables for an unexpected twist. The oil’s robust flavor also pairs well with simple rice dishes, adding a layer of complexity to even the most straightforward meals.

As we explore its applications, we find that black garlic oil can transform everyday dishes into something truly extraordinary. Its unique taste and culinary flexibility make it a must-have in our cooking, promising to captivate our palates and add a gourmet touch to our creations.

Making Black Garlic Oil at Home

Embarking on the journey to make black garlic oil at home can elevate your cooking to gourmet levels. We’re excited to guide you through this simple yet transformative recipe.

Required Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 4 tablespoons)
  • 1/4 cup roasted sesame oil
  • 2 red Thai bird chiles, finely minced (optional for a spicy kick)
  • 6 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Kosher salt to taste
  1. Prepare the Garlic: Combine canola oil and minced garlic in a small saucepan. We recommend using a non-stick pan for ease of cooking and clean-up.
  2. Cook on Medium-Low: Place the pan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. The goal is to brown the garlic slowly without burning, which should take about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir-fry the Garlic: Once the garlic has started browning, reduce the heat to low. Continue stirring frequently for another 10 minutes or until the garlic turns deep black. The garlic will become very sticky during this process, a sign you’re on the right track.
  4. Blend with Sesame Oil: Carefully transfer the mixture to a heatproof bowl, then stir in the roasted sesame oil. For a smoother texture, blend the mixture for about 30 seconds until completely pulverized.
  5. Add Extra Flavors: Return the blended mixture to the saucepan. Now, add the chilies (if using), and remaining garlic. Cook gently over low heat; you should see small bubbles soon. Remove from the heat as soon as you notice the bubbling.
  6. Toast and Grind Sesame Seeds: While waiting for the oil to cool, toast the sesame seeds until golden, then grind them coarsely. You want to achieve a mixture of finely ground and some larger pieces for texture.
  7. Final Touches: Stir the ground sesame seeds and sugar into the cooled oil mixture. Season with kosher salt according to your taste preference.
  8. Storage: Allow the black garlic oil to cool completely before transferring it to an airtight jar. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a month or frozen for longer shelf-life. Frozen black garlic oil can be used directly from the freezer, making it a convenient, ready-to-use condiment.

Crafting the Perfect Bowl of Black Garlic Oil Ramen

With our homemade black garlic oil in hand, let’s dive into crafting a bowl of ramen that hits all the right notes of flavor and texture. This next phase brings together the rich broth and the perfect assembly of noodles and toppings, encapsulating the essence of a culinary masterpiece.

Preparing the Broth

The foundation of any great ramen is its broth, and our black garlic oil ramen is no exception. Start with a base of chicken or pork broth, simmered slowly to draw out depth and richness. For this recipe, we recommend:

  • 4 cups of chicken or pork broth
  • 1 piece of kombu (dried kelp), about 10cm x 10cm
  • 1 slice of ginger, about thumb-sized
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)
  • Salt to taste
  1. Begin by soaking the kombu in the broth at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. This gentle infusion unlocks the seaweed’s umami without any bitterness.
  2. After soaking, slowly bring the broth to just before a boil over medium heat—watch for small bubbles before removing the kombu. This step is crucial as over-boiling can turn the broth bitter.
  3. Add the slice of ginger and simmer for an additional 5 minutes to infuse its warming note.
  4. Stir in the soy sauce and mirin, then season with salt to your preference. The broth should have a rich, complex flavor balanced with a hint of sweetness and the deep umami from the kombu.
  5. Just before serving, stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons of your homemade black garlic oil per bowl, ensuring a luxurious dark swirl that promises an explosion of flavors.

Noodles and Toppings

A bowl of ramen wouldn’t be complete without springy noodles and an array of toppings that add freshness, crunch, and an extra layer of flavor.

For the noodles, you’ll need:

  • 2 servings of ramen noodles
  • Thinly sliced green onions
  • Bamboo shoots, marinated
  • Soft-boiled eggs, halved
  • Nori (dried seaweed)
  • Bean sprouts, blanched
  • Slices of sous vide chashu or pan-fried tofu for a vegetarian option
  1. Cook the ramen noodles according to package instructions until just al dente. Drain and rinse briefly under cold water to stop the cooking process. This ensures they don’t become soggy when added to the hot broth.
  2. Prepare your toppings in advance. For soft-boiled eggs, cook for exactly 6 minutes in boiling water, then cool in ice water before peeling. This creates the perfect gooey yolk.
  3. To assemble, divide the cooked noodles

Special Equipment Needed

To achieve the deep flavors and authenticity of Black Garlic Oil Ramen right at home, there are a few key pieces of kitchen equipment that are essential. Let’s dive into what makes your culinary journey smoother and your ramen more delicious.

  • High-Power Blender or Food Processor: To create the silky-smooth, fragrant black garlic oil that’s the heart of this dish, a high-power blender or food processor is indispensable. It breaks down the black garlic and combines it perfectly with the oil.
  • Fine Mesh Strainer: A fine mesh strainer is crucial for achieving a clear, smooth broth. It helps remove any solids after the broth has simmered, ensuring that every sip is as refined and enjoyable as possible.
  • Japanese Mandoline: For those perfect, paper-thin slices of chashu and other toppings, a Japanese mandoline is your best friend. It allows for precision and uniformity that’s hard to achieve with a knife.
  • Sous Vide Machine: If you’re opting for sous vide chashu, a sous vide machine is a must. It cooks the pork belly to perfection, offering unparalleled tenderness and flavor.
  • Large, Heavy-bottomed Pot: A large, heavy-bottomed pot is essential for simmering the broth and noodles, providing even heat distribution and preventing any scorching.
  • Ramen Bowls: Authentic ramen bowls can significantly enhance your dining experience. These bowls are designed to keep your ramen hot longer and to hold the perfect portion of noodles, broth, and toppings.
  • Ladle and Skimmer: A ladle for serving the broth and a skimmer for removing any impurities during cooking are both invaluable tools in your ramen-making process.
  • Non-stick Skillet or Wok: Ideal for preparing the black garlic oil and any stir-fried toppings, ensuring that your ingredients don’t stick and cook evenly.

With these tools at the ready, we’re all set to embark on a culinary adventure, bringing the rich, complex flavors of Black Garlic Oil Ramen into our kitchens.

Serving and Presentation Tips

When it comes to enjoying the full culinary experience of Black Garlic Oil Ramen, the presentation is nearly as crucial as the flavor. Let’s dive into some tips that will turn your ramen bowl into a feast for the eyes as well as the taste buds.

Plating Your Ramen

To begin, select a bowl that’s wide and deep enough to showcase your ramen’s components without overcrowding. We prefer a traditional ramen bowl, but any large bowl will do. Start by placing your cooked noodles at the bottom. Then, carefully ladle hot broth over the noodles until they are just submerged. This step ensures your noodles remain the star of the dish and don’t get lost under the broth.

Next, arrange your toppings with care. Place slices of sous vide chashu on one side of the bowl, allowing them to fan out elegantly. On the opposite side, add your soft-boiled egg, cut in half to reveal the gooey, golden center. Scatter your green onions and bamboo shoots around the bowl, adding color and texture. For a final touch of freshness, add a handful of bean sprouts and a couple of slices of narutomaki, if available.

Enhancing Flavor and Presentation

Dolloping black garlic oil on top of your ramen adds not only a burst of flavor but also a visually striking contrast against the broth. For an extra pop of color and spice, sprinkle a small amount of finely minced red chilies or a few chili threads over the bowl.

One secret to an unforgettable ramen presentation is layering textures and colors. Think of your bowl as a canvas, and your ingredients as the paint. The vibrant green of the onions, the rich brown of the chashu, the creamy yellow of the egg, and the dark, alluring swirl of black garlic oil come together to create a visually appealing dish that entices the taste buds before the first spoonful.

Finally, always remember to warm your bowls before plating. A warm bowl not only keeps your ramen hot longer but also enhances its aroma, making the dining experience even more enjoyable. With these serving and presentation tips, we’re confident your Black Garlic Oil Ramen will not only taste divine but also look like a masterpiece deserving of the finest ramen houses.


We’ve walked through the journey of creating a bowl of Black Garlic Oil Ramen that’s not just a meal but an experience. From the rich, flavorful broth to the perfectly cooked noodles and the final drizzle of aromatic black garlic oil, every step has been about bringing a piece of Kumamoto into our kitchens. Remember, it’s not just about following a recipe to the letter but about making it your own. So don’t be afraid to play with the toppings or adjust the flavors to suit your taste. With the right presentation, you’ll have a dish that’s as pleasing to the eye as it is to the palate. Here’s to many more bowls of comforting, delicious ramen shared with loved ones. Happy cooking!

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