Birria Ramen: Where Mexico Meets Japan in a Bowl of Absolute Bliss!
Get ready for something awesome: We’re combining the rich, spicy flavors of Mexican Birria with the cozy, slurpable goodness of Japanese Ramen.
It’s like two of your favorite comfort foods got together and made something even better!
This recipe masterfully unites these two iconic dishes into a single bowl of irresistible goodness. You’ll get juicy, spiced, tender beef and a clear, tasty broth, all rounded off with colorful toppings like fresh cilantro, radishes, and soft-boiled eggs.
Trust us, this is the kind of meal that turns a regular night into something special!
Whether you’re a Ramen aficionado or a Birria devotee, this dish offers the best of both worlds. So why settle for just one favorite dish when you can enjoy the best of both?
Try our birria ramen. Why? Because we proudly say our Birria stew, the base of this dish, is quite unbeatable in taste and flavor.
Most of the times we go the Birria Taco way when we cook a big pot, as they are simply irresistible when dunked in that bold yet perfectly seasoned consommé.
Today though, we decided to try Birria Ramen, which has been on our radar for quite some time. And, oh boy…
We Absolutely Love Birria Ramen For Many Reasons
- Flavor Explosion: Imagine the spiciness of Mexican Birria mingling with the comforting, savory notes of Ramen Noodles. These flavors are as exciting as they are comforting.
- Texture Heaven: Between the tender, shredded beef that’s seared to perfection, the soft ramen noodles, and the crunchy fresh toppings, every bite is a new experience.
- Broth for the Soul: The clarified Birria broth is no ordinary soup, it’s a clear, flavorful liquid that warms you from the inside out. You’ll be scraping the bottom of the bowl for sure.
- Two-in-One: Love Birria? Love Ramen? Get the best of both worlds without having to choose one over the other.
- Visually Stunning: The colorful toppings make this dish as beautiful to look at as it is delicious to eat, making it Instagram-worthy.
- Totally Customizable: You can tailor the toppings to suit your own taste preferences, making each bowl uniquely yours.
- Kitchen Adventure: Though it takes some time to prepare, the process is deeply rewarding. You’ll feel like a master chef, blending culinary traditions from across the globe.
What is Birria?
Birria is a traditional Mexican dish that originates from the state of Jalisco, although it has different variations across other regions of Mexico.
It’s primarily a spicy stew made from goat meat or beef, which is marinated in a rich sauce made from a variety of chilies, spices, and herbs. The meat is then slow-cooked until it becomes incredibly tender and flavorful.
Birria is often served during festive occasions and is a popular choice for celebrations like weddings and birthdays. It’s also a staple in many Mexican restaurants and food stalls.
Over time, the dish has evolved and you’ll now find variations like Birria Tacos, where the stewed meat is placed in a tortilla and fried until crispy, often served with a side of the consommé for dipping.
What is Birria Ramen?
Birria Ramen is a relatively new culinary phenomenon, an innovative dish that gained widespread attention primarily through social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok.
While traditional Birria hails from Mexico and Ramen from Japan, the fusion of the two started popping up in food trucks, pop-up kitchens, and restaurants across the United States in the last few years.
The idea was sparked by the growing popularity of Birria Tacos. From there, it wasn’t a big leap to think, “Why not combine this rich, flavorful Birria broth with Ramen noodles?” Thus, Birria Ramen was born – a perfect marriage of Mexican spices and Japanese comfort food.
Birria Ramen embodies the essence of modern, multicultural cuisine, taking the best elements from two different culinary traditions to create something entirely new and utterly irresistible.
And the best part? It’s captured the hearts and palates of foodies globally, becoming a trending dish that people can’t seem to get enough of!
- Dried Chilis: Ancho, guajillo, and chilis de árbol bring distinct flavors. Ancho is sweet and smoky, guajillo adds tanginess, and chilis de árbol bring the heat. Feel free to adjust the types and amounts to suit your heat tolerance.
- Onion, Garlics, Ginger and Fresh Tomatoes: These are your aromatics and they add body and base to the sauce. Use ripe, juicy tomatoes for the best flavor. If you’re in a pinch, canned tomatoes can also work.
- Tomato Paste: This brings a concentrated tomatoey sweetness that balances out the heat of the chilies.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: This gives a subtle tartness, balancing the rich flavors. You could also use white vinegar as a substitute.
- Spices and Herbs: Cumin, cinnamon, oregano, thyme, cloves, salt and pepper bring aromatic complexity.
- Beef Stock: Opt for low-sodium stock so you can control the salt level. For an even richer flavor, you can use homemade beef bone broth.
- Beef: Either Short Ribs or Chuck Roast. These are fatty and flavorful cuts, making them perfect for a rich stew.
- Ramen Noodles: Fresh noodles are ideal, but quality store-bought ones work great too. Don’t overcook them, you want that perfect, slightly chewy texture. Instant ramen noodles work well too. You can make this in cup-o-noodle type ramen too. Simply discard any seasoning packets, as you don’t need them with all the flavors going on here.
- Toppings: Fresh cilantro, radishes, and lime add brightness and crunch. A soft-boiled egg provides creamy richness that’s just heavenly when mixed into the broth.
Birria Ramen Recipe
For instructions on how to cook the beef birria in a slow cooker, see further down the post, as well as in the recipe card. Here is how to make this recipe completely on stovetop:
1. Prep the Chilis: Cut off the stems from all the chilis, make a slit to open them up, and discard the seeds. Toast them in a hot pan for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Soak them in hot water for 20 minutes.
2. Sauté Aromatics: Heat 1 Tbsp of oil in a Dutch oven or a large pot. Add the diced onion, chopped garlic, and roughly chopped tomatoes. Sauté until softened. Transfer the mixture to a blender.
3. Prepare Birria Sauce: In the blender, combine the soaked chilies, sautéed aromatics, and the additional ingredients for the sauce (tomato paste, ginger, apple cider vinegar, beef stock, and all the spices). Blend until smooth.
4. Brown the Beef: Generously season the beef with salt and pepper. In the same Dutch oven, heat the remaining 2 Tbsp of oil. Add beef and brown them on all sides. Remove and set aside.
5. Simmer the Birria: Pour the blended sauce back into the Dutch oven, along with 4 cups of beef stock. Add the browned meat. Cover and simmer for 3-4 hours, until the meat is tender.
6. Shred the Meat: After the stew has finished cooking, remove and shred the meat.
7. Strain and Skim: Strain the remaining sauce through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean pot to get a refined broth.
8. Optional Sear: In a lightly greased skillet, sear the shredded beef for a few minutes until the edges become a bit crispy.
9. Cook Ramen Noodles: Prepare the ramen noodles according to the package instructions.
10. Assemble: Place cooked ramen noodles in a bowl. Ladle the clear, strained Birria broth over the noodles. Top with the shredded beef, cilantro, radishes, and soft-boiled eggs. Serve with slices of lime.
Alpana’s Tips and Tricks
- Timing is Everything: Soaking the dried chilis for at least 20 minutes helps to soften them, making it easier to blend into a smooth sauce. Don’t rush this step.
- Meat Matters: Use bone-in short ribs if possible. The bones add extra flavor and richness to the broth. That being said, chuck roast cut into large chunks works well too.
- Searing Secrets: Don’t overcrowd the pan when you’re browning the short ribs. This ensures that the meat sears properly instead of steaming.
- Spice it Up: If you love your food spicy, you can add more Chiles de árbol, or even include a serrano or habanero pepper into the sauce blend.
- Low and Slow: Cook the Birria on a low simmer for 3-4 hours to maximize flavor. It’s worth the wait!
- Taste Test: Always taste the Birria sauce after blending. It’s your chance to adjust the seasoning before it all comes together in the pot.
- The Magic of Fat: Skim the fat, but save it! You can use this aromatic fat to cook the ramen noodles or sear the shredded beef. And its a MUST for frying Birria Tacos. (We always save this in a container and refrigerate it. Simply pop it in a microwave before using it.)
- Egg-cellent Idea: Soft-boiling eggs? Start with room-temperature eggs and cook for 6-7 minutes, then transfer to an ice water bath for that perfect oozy yolk.
- Garnish Generously: Don’t skimp on the toppings like cilantro, radish, and lime. They add fresh bursts of flavor and make the dish visually stunning.
- Noodle Notes: You can use any ramen noodle of your preference. This recipe works well in cup-o-noodles type ramen too. Simply use Birria broth instead of water. We love to add a little cheese in the noodle cup so it’s nicely gooey and melty.
1. Protein Swap: Not a fan of beef? You can use lamb, goat, or even chicken for a different take on this dish.
2. Smoky Twist: Add a touch of smoked paprika or a smoky chipotle pepper to the Birria sauce for an extra layer of complexity. Some people also add chipotle peppers in adobo sauce in the mix.
3. Noodle Varieties: If ramen noodles aren’t your thing, udon or soba noodles work wonderfully too.
4. Extra Heat: For a spicier kick, add a dollop of chili oil, hot sauce or a sprinkle of red pepper flakes just before serving.
5. Cheesy Love: Some people love adding some grated melty cheese. Gives a great taste to the dish. Lots of food trucks sell Birria ramen with cheese thrown in it.
Make-Ahead and Leftover Ideas
The magic of Birria extends to its flexibility for make-ahead plans and leftover creativity. Here’s how to make the most out of your cooking effort.
You can store cooked Birria in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days. Just make sure to use an airtight container to keep it fresh. This way, you can enjoy it over several meals without worrying about it going bad.
It’s a great option for meal prep or for those days when you want something hearty and satisfying without the cooking time!
Make-Ahead Birria: Prepare the Birria a day or two in advance. The flavors meld over time, making it even more delicious when you’re ready to make ramen bowls. With the Birria already made, you can easily throw this ramen together for a quick Weeknight Dinner.
Freeze for Later: Once the Birria is cooked, you can freeze individual portions for up to 3 months. Make sure to store it in an airtight container to prevent freezer burn and preserve its rich, delicious qualities. Just defrost and reheat on stovetop over medium heat whenever you’re ready for a comforting meal.
Ramen Prep: You can also pre-cook ramen noodles and keep them separate, tossing them with a little oil to prevent sticking. When ready to eat, simply reheat and assemble.
Beefy Snacks: Any leftover shredded beef can be used for quick Birria tacos, nachos, tostadas, burritos, or even as a protein-packed topping for a hearty salad.
Repurpose the Broth: The broth alone can be used as a base for other soups or stews. Store it in the fridge for up to a week, or freeze for longer storage.
Breakfast Hash: Use the shredded beef and some of the broth to make a breakfast hash. Add some potatoes, bell peppers, and top with a fried egg.
Instant Pot Shortcut: If you’re planning to make this dish regularly, consider adapting the recipe for an Instant Pot to cut down on cooking time.
Can I Make Birria in Crockpot?
Making Birria in a crockpot is a fantastic idea! It’s a great way to let those flavors meld together while you go about your day. Simply prepare your Birria sauce as usual, brown your meat on the stovetop, and then transfer everything into your crockpot.
Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. By the time it’s done, you’ll have incredibly tender meat and a broth that’s packed with flavor. This is convenience and deliciousness rolled into one, what’s not to love?
Birria Ramen… You’re creating moments and memories here. There’s something special about this bowl that makes everything else fade away. It’s not just about the incredible flavors, but also the warmth and comfort that come with every spoonful.
Let’s savor the beauty of food and cooking. In a world that often moves too fast, cooking a dish like Birria Ramen is a reminder to slow down, savor the process, and relish the delicious results. So here’s to good food, and even better times ahead!
Birria Ramen, on our Gypsy Plate… enjoy!
- 5 dried ancho chilis
- 5 dried guajillo chilis
- 2-3 Chiles de árbol
- 1 Tbsp oil
- 1 large onion, peeled and diced
- 4 large tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 8 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste
- 1 inch ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup beef stock
- 1.5 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 Tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp thyme
- 2 tsp coriander powder
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 2 cloves, ground into powder
- 3.5 pounds short ribs (or chuck roast cut into large chunks)
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
- 3 Tbsp oil, divided
- 4 cups beef stock
Birria Ramen & Toppings
- 4 packets of Instant ramen noodles packets, seasoning discarded
- Soft boiled eggs
- Cilantro, chopped
- Scallion, chopped
- Radishes, sliced
- Lime, cut into wedges
- Cut the stems off of the chilis and make a slit along the side to open them, and discard the seeds. Dry toast them in a hot pan for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant (don’t burn them, as they can turn bitter). Put them in a bowl, cover with hot water, and let sit for 20 minutes.
- Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a dutch oven or other large pot. Sauté the onion, garlic and tomato until softened. Then transfer the veggies to the blender.
- In the blender, blend above veggie mixture along with rehydrated chilis, spices and herbs (oregano, cumin, cinnamon, coriander powder, ground clove, thyme, salt and pepper), apple cider vinegar, ginger, tomato paste, and 1 cup of beef stock. Blend it until the mixture in completely smooth.
- Generously season short ribs with salt and pepper. Heat remaining 2 Tbsp oil in the same pot and brown the meat on all sides. Remove to a plate.
- Stovetop: Add the Birria sauce into the pot, along with 4 cups of beef stock. Stir well, making sure to scrape up all the browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Add in short ribs. Cover and cook over low heat on the stovetop for 3 to 4 hours, or until the meat is completely tender. Keep an eye on the stew and stir it every 30 minutes or so. Taste and adjust for salt.
Slow Cooker: Mix the sauce and beef broth together in a crock pot. Add in beef. Cover and cook for 7-8 hours on low, or 4-5 hours on high.
- When the stew has finished cooking, skim fat off of the top into a bowl. Do not discard the fat if you are planning to make birria tacos.
- After cooking the Birria stew and the meat is tender, carefully remove the short ribs from the pot, remove the bones, and shred the meat. Strain the remaining birria consommé through a fine-meshed sieve into a clean pot or bowl to achieve a clear, refined broth consistency.
- Optional step: In a lightly greased skillet, sear the shredded beef for a few minutes until the edges become a little crispy and caramelized.
- Cook the ramen noodles to your preferred doneness according to packet instructions (about 2-3 minutes).
- Assemble Birria Ramen: Place the noodles in a wide, large bowl. Ladle the clear birria consommé broth on to the noodles. Top with shredded birria beef, cilantro, scallions, radishes, and soft boiled eggs (see note for how to cook eggs).
- To make perfect soft-boiled eggs: Cook for 6-7 minutes in boiling water and immediately place them in a ice water bath to stop them from cooking further.
- If you are adverse to spiciness, simply omit the arbol chilis.
- Leftover birria can be refrigerated for 3-4 days, or frozen for 2-3 months. If freezing, thaw overnight in the fridge the day before eating. Reheat the stew on stovetop over medium heat until warmed through.
- The recipe for the birria stew makes much more than is needed for this ramen dish. The remainder can be enjoyed on its own as a stew, or made into birria tacos.
Welcome to GypsyPlate! I'm Alpana, former wordwide tour manager and professional caterer, now full time blogger. I love exploring cuisines from around the world, and my recipes have been featured on sites such as MSN, Parade, Brit + Co, CNET and AOL. You can explore my entire collection of sortable recipes in my Recipe Index or learn more about me here.
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