Uncommon Food for the Common Man

Great food is worth the time to make it

Tonkotsu Ramen, Part II

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In the never-ending pursuit of great ramen, my latest batch of Tonkotsu went pretty well.

Total time spent on this batch was about 30 hours.

Pork bones were simmered for about 26 hours to make the base. The bones were disintegrating as I tried to pull them out, so a little straining in cheesecloth helped out. Then it sat in the freezer until the weather turned cold. (Note: The bones were mostly the bones from pork shoulder, some ribs and the most important part, some pork hocks, unsmoked of course.)

So today I pulled it out, plopped it in a medium pot, added some onions and garlic and went to walk the dog. Came back, cleaned up the kitchen, did a few things and waited to make the chashu.

Chashu is simple. Take a hunk of fatty pork (let’s say half a pound for about four servings – the thicker part of country style ribs is good) and put it in the broth for about an hour. After it has tendered up, put about 3/4 cup of shoyu (soy sauce), 1/4 cup or mirin and two to three slices of ginger, cut in thin strips into a small sauce pan or pot. Add the pork. Bring to a boil and let it simmer for about 20 minutes. You may have to cut the pork so it will be able to absorb a bit of the sauce. I just turn mine over after ten minutes.

The idea with the chashu is you want a bigger piece of meat you can slice to add to the ramen. The pork has a nice darker outer ring on each slice. Chilling the chashu will enable you to cut it nicely.

Then after the chashu is ready, cook your noodles. Use the best you can, and make them a little al dente. The thin, yellowish Chinese style noodles are OK, but try and get ramen-style noodles.

Put noodles in bowl, add slices of chashu (about four per serving), some bean sprouts, a little pickled ginger, maybe half a boiled egg. Add the steaming broth, and slurp away.

And remember, like all good soups, tonkotsu ramen is better the second day.

Next time I will try to add charred onions and garlic to the party, as the guy at No Recipes recommends. In fact, I may precook some of the bones in the oven first for an experiment.

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