Buldak ramen is a perfect mix of rich flavor and fiery heat. While serious spicy food lovers dare to try this emotional item, some curious individuals also take a slurp of this ramen.
Well, I am one of those who dare to try buldak ramen. I pretended it did not hurt my mouth, but it was impossible. So, I recommend having some water, rice, or milk by your side when eating it to manage the heat.
Besides noodles, buldak ramen includes another main ingredient – gochujang. Other ingredients include sesame oil, garlic, soy sauce, and more.
What Pepper Makes Buldak Ramen So Spicy?
Before I tried eating this popular ramen, I wondered, what pepper is used in buldak ramen?
As you probably know, buldak ramen originated in South Korea. This very spicy dish is quite popular not only in Asian countries but also all over the world. If you are a kdrama or kpop fan, you will understand why.
This ramen features thicker noodles than go-cup ramen from your favorite convenience store. This makes the noodles extra “slurpable.”
Aside from the noodles, buldak has another main ingredient – gochujang. It is a thick and sweet-spicy crimson paste made from red chili pepper flakes, fermented soybeans, glutinous or sticky rice, and salt. This chili paste is fundamental in Korean cooking.
Traditionally, the chili paste is fermented in an earthenware pot for years and kept outdoors. The starches in the sticky rice are converted to sugars, which gives its underlying sweetness.
The fermented soybeans serve as the miso-like ingredient, anchoring the chili paste’s umami flavor. As with the red chili peppers, they give a significant amount of lingering heat.
Other buldak ramen ingredients include sesame oil, garlic, and soy sauce. According to my friends, it is best to serve noodles with kimchi. So, I experiment with it. Although kimchi is also marinated in chili paste, it helps offset the heat.
If I do not cook buldak in the microwave, I boil water in a pot or pour boiling water over the noodles. It is not only cheap but also quick and easy to prepare.
What are Buldak Ramen’s Scoville Scale Unit Ratings?
Do not be surprised if you see buldak ramen in different packages; these noodles are not limited to one flavor. I appreciate this fact as it helps me choose which flavor or the Scoville Scale (SHU) rating I want to try.
I will give you an overview of buldak ramen’s different flavors and SHU ratings.
- 3x Spicy Original Flavor – it has 13,000 SHU and tastes like serrano and chipotle pepper
- 2x Spicy Original Flavor – it has 10,000 SHU and tastes like serrano and chipotle pepper
- Original flavor – it has 4,400 SHU and tastes like jalapeno pepper
- Mala Hot Chicken – it has 4,400 SHU and tastes like jalapeno pepper
- Curry Hot Chicken – it has 3,000 SHU and tastes like jalapeno pepper + curry
- Cheese Hot Chicken – it has 2,700 SHU and tastes like jalapeno pepper
- Tomato Paste – it has 2,100 SHU and tastes like poblano pepper
- Carbonara Hot Chicken – it has 2,400 SHU and tastes like jalapeno pepper
- Jjajang Hot Chicken – it has a 1,920 SHU and tastes like poblano pepper + jjajangmyeon
What are the Ways to Make Buldak Ramen Less Spicy?
Honestly, I have never dared try the 3x Spicy Original Flavor. I have even tried different items to make 2x Spicy Original Flavor. But I won’t give up. I plan to eat the spiciest buldak ramen in the future.
Meanwhile, I will share how I usually make buldak ramen and other spicy dishes less spicy.
I dilute the sauce in water to minimize the heat. However, if you dislike your ramen less tasty, you can try other methods.
This method is good news for cheese monsters out there. You can use your favorite cheese in the sauce while it cooks or after. This gives you a juicier and thicker meal.
Milk works similarly to cheese. You can add your preferred milk to the sauce while it cooks or after. However, your ramen is not as thick and juicy as when you add cheese.
Veggies and Other Add-ons
I love veggies on my noodles, and buldak ramen is no exception. I usually add cabbage, corn, and carrots to reduce the spiciness. Adding them also makes the meal slightly more nutritious. I also added some rice and boiled eggs.
Use Half of the Spice Packet
I have another solution if the above methods do not work for you. You can use only half of the spice packet to reduce the heat.
How to Make a Perfect Bowl of Buldak Ramen?
Is it your first-time making buldak ramen? Not a problem! I got your back.
Here are simple steps on how to make buldak ramen with spicy and delicious results:
Step 1: Choose A Buldak Ramen Flavor
As mentioned above, buldak ramen comes in different flavors and SHU ratings. So, choose the one you think can handle the spiciness and love the taste.
If you are clueless about which one to pick, I recommend the Jjajang Hot Chicken, as it has only 1,920 SHU. You may enjoy its Korean black bean paste flavor, and it is an excellent introduction to the world of spicy Korean noodles.
Step 2: Boil the Water to Cook the Noodles
Pour 2 cups of water or just enough to sink the noodles into a medium-sized pot. Bring the water to a boil and add the noodle brick. If you prefer shorter noodles, feel free to break the brick into half or more pieces.
Cook the noodles for about 2 minutes or more until you achieve the desired consistency. I personally like my noodles al dente. I wouldn’t say I like very soft noodles because they are too chewy or soggy.
Another tip, wait for the water to boil before cooking the noodles for the best results.
Step 3: Drain the Noodles
Korean ramens usually come with a packet of hot sauce and a pack of sesame seeds and dried seaweed.
After cooking the noodle base, drain them. Then, you can add the seasoning. If you want to make the meal less spicy, you can leave a little bit of water after draining. Alternatively, you can use less spice or add some cheese or milk to reduce the spiciness.
You can also purchase separate Korean hot sauce to create your own seasoning. Sometimes, I combine it with soy sauce or oyster sauce to get more flavors.
Step 4: Add Other Ingredients
Now, it’s time to add more ingredients to make your buldak ramen nutritious. Food items like eggs, cheese, meat, and vegetables will give the meal more excitement.
When using carrots, I like slicing them into strips. If I use chicken meat, I shred them or fry them in cubes. I use dried seaweed, bonito flakes, sesame seeds, or chopped spring onions for garnish.
I also cook an egg by boiling, scrambling, or poaching it. I slice it in half and make part of the garnish. And that’s it!
Buldak ramen is not only very spicy but also fun to make. It allows you to add veggies, meat, and other items to make it more delicious and nutritious. While red chili peppers and other spices make this ramen spicy, adding water, cheese, or milk to the sauce can make it less spicy.