The ultimate guide to eating this delectable condiment.
Traditional Japanese Ramen―the broth-y noodle soup loaded with umami flavours and often times topped with a soft boiled egg―can take a long time to perfect.
Ramen masters spend years honing their craft. But most of us living stateside don’t have years to wait on a good bowl of ramen; we have an hour, tops. Plus, we don’t need the calorie bomb that is found in a traditional bowl you’d order at a restaurant.
The broth is the key to everything, so we’re going to show you how it’s done!
- 1.5kg pig trotters (split lengthwise or cut crosswise into 1-inch disks—ask your butcher to do this for you) or pork bones)
- 1kg chicken bones (skin and excess fat removed)
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 large onion (skin on, roughly chopped)
- 12 garlic cloves
- One 8cm knob ginger (roughly chopped)
- 2 whole leeks (washed and roughly chopped)
- 2 dozen spring onions, white parts only (reserve greens and light green parts for garnishing finished soup)
- 200g mushrooms
- 500g slab pork fat
- Additional toppings: hard-boiled eggs, sliced pork roast, black and white sesame.
- Place pork and chicken bones in a large pot and cover with cold water. Place on a burner over high heat and bring to a boil. Remove from heat once boiling.
- While pot is heating, heat vegetable oil in a medium pan over high heat until lightly smoking. Add onions, garlic, and ginger. Cook, tossing occasionally until deeply charred on most sides, about 15 mins total. Set aside.
- Once pot has come to a boil, dump water down the drain. Carefully wash all bones under cold running water, removing any bits of dark marrow or coagulated blood. Bones should be uniform grey/white after you’ve scrubbed them. Use a chopstick to help remove small bits of dark marrow from inside the trotters or near the chickens’ spines.
- Return bones to pot along with charred vegetables, leeks, spring onion whites, mushrooms, and pork fat. Top up with cold water. Bring to a rolling boil over high heat, skimming off any scum that appears (this should stop appearing within the first 20 minutes or so). Use a clean sponge or moist paper towels to wipe any black or grey scum off from around the rim of the pot. Reduce heat to low and place a heavy lid on top.
- Once the lid is on, check the pot after 15 minutes. It should be at a slow rolling boil. If not, increase or decrease heat slightly to adjust boiling speed. Boil broth until pork fat is completely tender, about 4 hours. Carefully remove pork fat with a slotted spatula. Transfer fat back to a sealed container and refrigerate. Return lid to pot and continue cooking until broth is opaque with the texture of light cream, about 6 to 8 hours longer, topping up as necessary to keep bones submerged at all times.
- Once broth is ready, cook over high heat until reduced to around 3 litres. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a clean pot. Discard solids. For an even cleaner soup, strain again through a chinois or a fine mesh strainer lined with several layers of cheese cloth. Skim liquid fat from top with a ladle and discard.
- Finely chop cooked pork fat and whisk into finished broth. To serve, season broth with condiments of your choice (salt, soy sauce, miso, sesame paste, grated fresh garlic, chilli oil, etc.) and serve with cooked ramen noodles and toppings as desired.