Citizens – This recipe will test your ultimate limits as a chef, for it IS The ULTIMATE Ramen!
Despite the garbage you’ve seen in an instant noodle cup, true Japanese ramen is transcendently flavorful and anything but instant. You’ll literally be working all day on this, multitasking more pots and pans than you think you probably own.
Have I frightened you?
I know you are still with me, brave citizens – gird your loins and do battle with this recipe just once and know the TRUE meaning of flavor!
Your reward is the ultimate bowl of noodle soup, and the knowledge you have made something previously found only in the finest ramen shops of Japan! A milky broth of pure flavor, the most toothsome of noodles, garnished with fatty pork belly, spicy condiments, a soft-boiled egg like you’ve never had and so many other items that I grow faint from hunger just describing them to you!
There are several recipes that follow – take a deep breath, caffeinate yourself heavily, and BEGIN YOUR TRUE PATH TO CULINARY GLORY!!! Know that I salute both your courage and tenacity in attempting this most formidable set of recipes!
Battle on – The Generalissimo
The Hirshon Tonkatsu Ramen Broth
2.2 kg ham bone
1-1/2 kg pork thigh bone
1.3 kg pork back bone
50 g garlic, cut in half
100 g carrot
25 g Japanese leek (negi)
10 g ginger
1 red pepper
12 l water
30 g Laus kelp
40 g Hidaka kelp (The Food Dictator notes that if you can’t find these 2 types of kelp, just use the best-quality konbu kelp you can get. The more white powder on the kelp, the better!)
10 g dried scallop (available in Chinese
4 l water
1. Wipe the kelps gently with a dry cloth.
2. Soak the kelps and scallops in cold water for 15 hours.
1. Put the bones in boiling water. Boil for 20 minutes, removing anything that floats to the surface.
2. Drain the bones. Wash off/remove any innards, blood, and other impurities under cold running water.
3. Break the bones with a hammer.
4. Put the bones and other ingredients in a pot, add water, and bring to a boil.
5. Skim off foam. Keep at a rolling boil. Add additional water, if necessary.
6. In about 8 hours, add the dashi (but not the kelps and scallops) to the pot.
Keep at a rolling boil again for another 4 hours, to reduce the soup to 5 liters.
Tonkatsu (pork bone) ramen, once local to the Kyushu area of Japan, is now quite popular throughout Japan. Its main feature is its white milky soup. All recipes for tonkotsu ramen soup call for both ‘double boiling’ and ‘rolling boil’ steps.
Double boiling is required to get rid of the odor of the bones, while a rolling boil is required to make sure that water and fat mix together in the pot and the marrow from the bones becomes gelatinous and acts as a fat emulsifier, making the soup nice and milky.
This secret recipe was shared by a professional ramen chef from Kyushu, thus the use of Metric. I have never found a more authentic and delicious recipe than this one, and you’ll only find it here!
The Best Ramen Noodles
For one portion…
measure everything by weight
98.5g King Arthur bread flour (12.7% protein by weight)
1.5 g vital wheat gluten (aprox 77.5% protein by weight)
44 g water
1 g salt
1.5 g baked soda (more info on baked soda at http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/15/dining/15curious.html?_r=0 )
Optional: .1 g Riboflavin (this adds color, I usually estimate it)
Sapporo noodles are designated by a more minerally flavor and extra chew. So I up the protein to around 13.5% by weight, and increase the water content to promote gluten development. I think this also adds that great texture.
Add baked soda and salt (and riboflavin if using) to the water, dissolve completely.
In a bowl, gradually add water to the flour and wheat gluten, pouring on the outside rim and mixing as you do so. You’ll notice the flour turns yellow as this happens.
Mix the flour with the water until the ingredients look ragged but moistened. Smaller pieces work better, but it will be fairly crumbly.
Cover the bowl and let this ragged looking stuff rest for 30 minutes. This gives the flour granules time to fully absorb the water and alkaline salts.
Squeeze the now rested ragged stuff between your fingers. If it feels like wet rice, go forth to the next step. If not, add a little water.
Knead it forever. I currently throw it into a plastic bag and step on it repeatedly, which simulates the kneading process used in an industrial setting. You can instead use a rolling pin and smoosh it or use a dough hook on a mixer. You’ll want to knead until fairly smooth. This is time consuming. Be patient.
When smooth, ball up, cover with plastic, and rest at room temp for an hour. This gives the gluten time to relax, and “ripens” the dough according to Japanese cooks.
Pull out your dough. Portion into workable sizes (around one serving’s worth), and roll out to desired thickness, using potato starch as you go to prevent sticking. If you have a pasta machine, this step is infinitely easier. In the machine I like to run the portion through the thickest setting maybe 5-6 times until smooth, and then gradually run it through each descending setting until I get to my desired thickness. It starts out pretty ragged, but folding and re-passing will eventually smooth it out.
Cut your noodles to your desired thickness. I like mine medium for miso ramen, so about the thickness of spaghetti, but feel free to go larger or smaller. You rule your ramen.
To create “縮れ麺” or wavy noodles, like I’ve made, dust your new noodles with flour and squeeze them between your hands, kind of like making a snowball. After a moment, shimmy them around to loosen them. Repeat this process a few times. This squeezing/detangling action creates a wavy, irregular texture, good for carrying soup and looking awesome.
Let these noodles sit, on the counter, for just 30 minutes to an hour or so, to reduce the moisture content and dry them slightly. This will allow the noodles to cook more gradually, and maintain a better chewy texture.
This superb recipe is from ramen_lord on reddit – I bow to his unmatched knowledge in this area! 🙂
The Hirshon Miso Tare
1 ¼ cups shiro (white) miso
½ cup aji (red) miso
¼ cup hatcho miso
½ tbs. tahini
1 ½ tbs. Yuzukoshō – details on this condiment are here.
3 grated garlic cloves
One 3″ long piece of peeled ginger, pureed in food processor
½ white onion, pureed in food processor
2 tbs soy sauce (use more if needed)
¼ tsp. Kadoya brand sesame oil
The Hirshon Mayu (Black Garlic Oil) for Ramen
1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
10 medium cloves black garlic
1/4 cup Kadoya brand sesame oil
1. Combine canola oil and garlic in a small saucepan and cook over medium-low heat for 5 minutes.
2. Transfer mixture to a heat-proof bowl and add sesame oil. Transfer to a blender and blend on high speed until completely pulverized, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a sealable container and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.
Chashu Pork (Marinated Braised Pork Belly for Tonkotsu Ramen)
prep 1 hour ∙ cook 3 hours (plus time to cool) ∙ makes 6 to 8 ∙ source Seriouseats.com
2 pound slab of boneless pork belly, skin-on
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 cup sake
1 cup mirin
1/2 cup sugar
6 scallions, roughly chopped
6 whole garlic cloves
One 2-inch knob ginger, roughly sliced
1 whole shallot, split in half (skin on)
1. Lay pork belly on cutting board and roll up lengthwise, with skin facing out.
2. Using butchers twine, tightly secure pork belly at 3/4-inch intervals.
3. Preheat oven to 275°F. Heat 1 cup water, soy sauce, sake, mirin, sugar, scallions, garlic, ginger, and shallot in a medium saucepan over high heat until boiling. Add pork belly (it won’t be submerged). Cover with a lid left slightly ajar. Transfer to oven and cook, turning pork occasionally, until pork is fully tender and a cake tester or thin knife inserted into its center meets little resistance, 3 to 4 hours.Transfer contents to a sealed container and refrigerate until completely cool.
4. When ready to serve, remove pork belly and strain broth. Reserve broth for another use (like making ajitsuke tamago). Slice pork belly into thin rounds (it might help to cut it in half lengthwise first).
5. Reheat pork belly slices in soup broth with noodles and other garnishes. Alternatively, heat a small amount of reserved broth in a skillet and heat pork slices in broth until hot or reheat with a blowtorch, charring its surface. Serve.
Japanese Marinated Soft Boiled Egg for Ramen (Ajitsuke Tamago)
prep 10 minutes ∙ cook At least 4 hours to marinate ∙ makes 6 eggs ∙ source Seriouseats.com
1 cup water
1 cup sake
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup mirin
1/2 cup sugar
1. Combine water, sake, soy, mirin, and sugar in a medium bowl and whisk until sugar is dissolved. Set aside
2. Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Pierce fat end of each egg with a thumbtack to make a tiny hole (this prevents them from cracking and eliminates the air bubble at the end). Carefully lower eggs into water with a wire mesh spider or slotted spoon. Reduce heat to maintain a bare simmer. Cook for exactly 6 minutes. Drain hot water and carefully peel eggs under cold running water (the whites will be quite delicate).
3. Transfer eggs to a bowl that just barely fits them all. Pour marinade on top until eggs are covered or just floating. Place a double-layer of paper towels on top and press down until completely saturated in liquid to help keep eggs submerged and marinating evenly. Refrigerate and marinate at least four hours and up to 12. Discard marinade after 12 hours. Store eggs in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in ramen soup to serve.
Congratulations – you’re almost ready to eat! You just have to get everything into a bowl!
To quote the unmatched expert, ramen_lord from Reddit:
Toppings. This bowl is topped with shaved cabbage, sliced green onion, korean nori, chashu, and soft-boiled eggs. (The Food Dictator note – With this style of Ramen, I would also add an appropriate amount of grated daikon radish to the Tare before using – for a spicier sauce use ‘maple-in-snow’ daikon – pierce a daikon with a chopstick, stuff in 1 small dried hot pepper, grate).
Once you have the four parts… assembly time
Get everything ready. Bowls ready, toppings set in a line, stock hot (and combined if doing double soup)
Add tare and black garlic oil to the bottom of the bowl. (maybe 1.5 tbs tare and oil per serving, but it depends on preferences, how big your bowls are, etc. Yes, Miso ramen is fatty. That’s what makes it tasty!)
Drop your noodles into hot water. Stir with chopsticks to avoid sticking, but after the initial stir, let them cook. Total cook time is only around 90 seconds.
Meanwhile, pour the hot stock into the tare-filled bowl, and whisk to combine thoroughly.
Add your noodles to the tare/soup combo.
Top with your favorites.
Slurp. Eat. Quickly. Literally, don’t stop eating this. You won’t want to. I was sad when my noodles were gone.