tonkotsu ramen

for my mom’s birthday today, i could think of no better present to get her than a big bowl of japanese tonkotsu ramen, from scratch. my friend, alex w. sent me this “tonkotsu ramen recipe” by marc (no recipes blog), which was so extremely helpful and easy to follow. after this, i probably now owe alex a bowl of ramen. among a list of other people as well.

the entire process–broth, noodles, pork belly, and toppings took 5 hours total. of which, 2 hours was spent resting (non-cleaning, non-prepping). tried to do some yoga in between but failed because bruno thought my downward dog gave him free reign to treat me like a jungle gym.

i didn’t quite follow marc’s recipe completely because i couldn’t find all the ingredients, but overall, the broth was super delicious. here’s how i modified:

tonkatsu base

makes 10-12 cups of stock

  • 2 pig trotters
  • 1.5 pork hock (marc’s recipe calls for pork leg bone, but the asian supermarket i went to didn’t have it–they had pork leg meat, but not pork leg meat with bone)
  • 1.5 pounds chicken bones
  • 2″ knob of ginger, sliced
  • 1 small head of garlic, peel the outer skin, but still leaving garlic whole (not in cloves)
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 large onion, sliced thinly

Fill a stock pot 2/3rd of the way with water and bring to a boil. Add the pig trotters and pork hock to the boiling water and cook until you stop seeing red blood come out of the bones (10-15 minutes). Lots of gross gunk will come out this first batch of water. Remove the trotters and hock into a bowl, rinse under cold water, and scrub all the dark brown scum off all the bones. Repeat this same process with the chicken bones. You can use the same water. Once done, transfer the cleaned bones to a pressure cooker and cover with water (the water should come up to an inch above the top of the bones). Bring the pot to a boil and skim off chunks and foam (the dirty stuff) that floats to the surface. Keep doing this until there is no more foam or scum–this will take about 30 minutes. [Picture 1]

While the bones are going, Heat 1/2″ of oil in a pot over medium heat and add the head of garlic and ginger. Fry this until they are browned and shriveled up. Use a slotted or wire mesh to transfer the ginger and garlic to a bowl. Add the onions to the oil and fry these until caramelized and shriveled. Add the fried onions to the ginger and garlic and set aside.

Once the stock is scum-free, add the caramelized ginger, garlic, and onions to the stock. Affix the pressure cooker lid and cook on high pressure for 1 hour and 45 minutes. [Picture 2]

Once the pressure is released use tongs to remove and discard all the bones. Remove any chunks of pork and set aside for another use. Strain the stock into a bowl and skim off any excess fat. [Picture 3]

Tonkotsu Ramen

makes 2 bowls

  • 3 cups tonkotsu base
  • 1 tablespoon sesame paste (the original recipe calls for tahini, but i couldn’t find it. he also specifically said not to use sesame paste in his later notes. oops)
  • 1 tablespoon strained braising liquid from pork belly (i made pork belly while the broth was cooking)
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon mirin
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper

to serve

  • homemade noodles (see abbreviated noodles recipe, instead set this to setting 3 and use spaghetti cutter)
  • sliced pork belly
  • other toppings: i used dried seaweed (shrivels up when the broth is poured over), scallions, corn, boiled egg, fish cake

Heat the tonkotsu base in a sauce pan. In a bowl whisk together the sesame paste, braised pork belly liquid, salt, mirin and white pepper. Add this to the hot broth and whisk to combine. Taste and adjust salt as needed. Bring to a simmer.

Split the cooked noodles between two bowls. Pour the tonkotsu soup over the noodles. Top with pork belly, scallions, hard-boiled egg, corn, seaweed, fish cake, etc. and whatever else you want to add.

noodle-making :)

Assemble together and enjoy!

2 thoughts on “tonkotsu ramen

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