jamie attempts: tonkotsu ramen
This was a pretty intense undertaking, spanning about 4 hours. After trying this recipe, which called for homemade broth, my miso ramen recipe from two years ago now feels beyond basic. The majority of those hours were spent simmering the broth to perfection. For the recipe, I used the Momofuku ramen broth 2.0 recipe found in the first issue of Lucky Peach: The Ramen Issue (no longer in circulation, now worth way more than $9!).
Momofuku Ramen Broth 2.0 makes a little over 1 1/4 gallons 2 oz konbu 1 1/4 gal water 1 1/2 oz shiitake mushrooms, ground to a powder 5 lbs chicken neck and back trimmings (whites and roots) of a bunch of scallions
As you can see, the ingredient list is quite simple and the recipe itself is essentially: simmer konbu in water for about an hour, take it out, throw everything else in, and simmer for another several hours, strain ingredients out of broth and ta-da! Sounds very straight forward, and it actually was! Despite the fact that it took several hours, making delicious ramen broth is very approachable. You'll also notice that many fatty liberties were taken to take this broth from a light chicken broth to a tonkotsu-based broth.
Ingredient list for tonkotsu broth (quantities are approximate) Big pot of water 4 sheets of konbu A bunch of oxtail Pork fat and pork bones (walked into a butcher shop and asked if they had pork fat/bones, the butcher shrugged and scooped all his remnant pork bits from the table into a bag and sold it for a dollar. SCORE.) Scallion trimmings Dried shiitake Sake Liquid dashi
Ingredients for ramen + toppings Fresh ramen Quail eggs Chopped scallions (for garnish) Roast pork, chopped into slices 2 bundles of enoki mushrooms Sheets of nori
Recipe 1. Bring pot of water to a boil 2. Add in konbu and simmer for 1 hour
3. While simmering, brown oxtail in a skillet and flavor with a splash of sake 4. Bonus: brown some chopped bacon (we wanted to do this but forgot!) to throw into broth
5. Remove konbu, add in shiitake, oxtail, bacon, pork fat, and scallion trimmings to the pot 6. Leave to simmer another couple of hours, pour in splashes of sake and dashi to taste
At this point, the broth will reduce gradually leaving a more intense, porky flavor. So from here, it's up to your personal taste and thus how long you want to keep simmering. A few hours in, we could not stop ourselves from taking spoonfuls of broth to the face so I think that was our sign that we were ready, or else we would have just drank it all. 7. Save about a half hour before taking broth off the heat to prepare the remainder of the ingredients 8. Bring a separate pot of water to a boil and boil quail eggs for 10 minutes 9. Ladle eggs out, peel, and put into bowls (run eggs under cold water to make them easier to peel) 10. Ladle in ramen noodles until cooked al dente
11. In the meantime, brown roast pork in a skillet then set aside
12. Strain ramen and separate into bowls 13. Add enoki mushrooms in boiling water for about 5 minutes 14. Separate mushrooms into bowls, add pork, nori, and scallions 15. Arrange artfully, admire, and consume
I highly recommend trying this recipe. It's a several hours long undertaking but incredibly rewarding. Most of the work is tied up in the prep and concentrated towards the end cooking the remainder of the ingredients when the broth is nearly done. Waiting for the broth to simmer provided ample downtime -- you could catch a movie if you wanted to and come back to a nearly perfect broth.
From here, I think the way to take my ramen making game to the next level is by making the fresh noodles myself. Stay tuned! In the meantime, if you attempt this recipe let me know how it goes.