It’s term break at the moment so, as well as spending some quality time with my little bubs, I’ve been taking advantage of the opportunity to cook things which I don’t have time to during the working week.
I love noodle soups, but haven’t had the chance to cook anything which requires hours of cooking in order to make a complex broth. So, even though the weather is still quite warm most days, I’ve been making dishes such as pho bo.
I’ve always wanted to try making a ramen soup at home, but have always been a bit put off by the amount of time required to make it. After having a look on Pinterest, I found a “milky” chicken version which looked achievable and delicious.
The post I found was this one on Kelly Siew Cooks. She adapted the recipe from this one from No Recipes. As well as this, her recipe for the chashu side and the ajitsuke tamago (marinated soft boiled egg) came from Serious Eats. I’ve mostly followed hers, but have also changed a few things around, adapting a bit from all the recipes above. Even if you’re not keen to make your own ramen, do check out the chashu pork and ajitsuke tamago recipe as these would be delicious as stars of their own meal, with noodles or with rice and some steamed vegetables.
I used wing tips to make this, but you could use other cuts such as chicken feet. Marc from No Recipes notes that, “What chicken lacks in fat, it makes up for in collagen, especially in the joint areas and skin. Because chicken wingtips have a high ratio of cartilage and skin to meat and bone, they’re perfect for getting a rich sticky broth.”
And another note – even though this chicken version doesn’t take as long to make as other pork ramen dishes such as tonkotsu, it still takes a long time. The pressure cooker cuts down the time, but including all the resting and chilling of everything, if you attempt this dish plus all the sides, you’ll want to start it the night before you plan to eat it. What I did was make the eggs and pork the night before. Then the next morning, I started on the stock. However, despite all the effort involved, we were rewarded with a complex, flavourful and satisfying meal. The milky broth is deep in flavour and leaves the right sort of stickiness on your lips once you’ve finished slurping it all up.
400g boneless pork belly, rolled up and tied with twine
thumb size ginger, roughly sliced
3 cloves garlic, unpeeled
3 spring onions, cut into 7-10cm batons
1 whole shallot, unpeeled, cut in half
1/4 C soy sauce
1/2 C sake
1/2 C mirin
1/4 C sugar
1 C water
Put all the ingredients into your pressure cooker. Cook on high pressure for 70 minutes. (If you don’t have a pressure cooker, have a look at the Serious Eats recipe instead.)
Release the pressure and allow to cool. Store the pork in the cooking liquid in a sealed container in the fridge. (Reserve a bit of the cooking liquid for the ajitsuke tamago if you are making this too.) It will be easier to slice thinly once it is cold.
When ready to serve, remove from the cooking liquid and slice into thin rounds. Reheat the pork belly in the soup broth or use a blowtorch to char the surface (this is the option I went with and it produced a lovely smokey flavour too).
cooled cooking liquid from the chashu pork (you just need enough to cover the eggs)
Boil enough water to cook the number of eggs you want. (I added 1 tsp baking soda to the water to ensure that the eggshells wouldn’t stick when peeling, which sometimes happens when the eggs are fresh, but this is optional.)
Once the water is boiling, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Gently lower the eggs into the water. (If you’re worried about the eggs cracking, you can push a pin/tack into the eggs beforehand to create a small hole.) Cook for 6 minutes exactly.
Drain the eggs and put straight into an ice bath. Once cool enough to handle, carefully peel the eggs under cold running water.
Place the eggs in a ziplock bag (or other container) with enough cooking liquid from the chashu pork to submerge the eggs. Leave in the fridge for at least 12 hours.
When ready to serve, take the eggs out and slice in half. You can warm them up in the ramen broth if you wish.
Note: if you want to cook this from scratch, check out the full recipe here.
Tori paitan ramen
Ingredients for the ramen soup broth
500g chicken bones
500g chicken wing tips
small leek, cut into 4 pieces
7cm piece of ginger, cut into thick coins
4 large cloves garlic, unpeeled
10cm piece kombu
10 C water plus water to blanch chicken
vegetable oil for frying aromatics
1 Tbsp tahini
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp salt
6 portions of ramen noodles
Optional ingredients to serve with your ramen:
ajitsuke tamago or boiled eggs
spring onions, finely sliced
bamboo shoots, sliced
crispy fried leeks
flavoured oils (such as garlic, spring onion, sesame, chilli etc)
In a small sauce pan (or in your pressure cooker if you have an electric one with a saute/sear function like mine), add leeks, ginger and garlic along with a bit of vegetable oil. Gently fry over medium low heat until the aromatics are dark brown but not burnt (this took me around 20 minutes).
Meanwhile, put the chicken bones and tips into a large pot and cover with water. Bring it to the boil and blanch for about 10 minutes. Drain the chicken, rinsing off any scum, and clean out the pot.
Put the chicken bones and tips back into the pot (or if you are using a stovetop pressure cooker, you could put it in there). Add the kombu and the 10 cups of water. Bring to the boil (if any more scum rises to the top, skim it off).
After about 5-10 minutes of boiling, remove the kombu, and combine with the fried leeks, garlic and ginger. Put it all in the pressure cooker, seal the lid and cook for 90 minutes on high pressure.
Release the pressure once it is finished. Let it cool to room temperature. Strain into a large bowl or another large pot. Using a ladle, push the solids through the strainer to get as much liquid as possible (or you can do it with your hands if you prefer). This step is important in helping the liquid become milky/cloudy in colour.
Refrigerate the stock. When cold, scoop off the excess fat, but leave a little bit behind.
Before you are ready to serve, put the stock back onto heat and reduce until you have about 6 cups left.
In a bowl, whisk together the tahini, soy sauce and salt. Pour into the stock and whisk until combined. Taste, and add more seasoning if necessary. (Note that the soup should be on the slightly salty side as its flavour will be diluted once the noodles and sides are added.)
Meanwhile, cook your noodles until al dente. Divide them amongst your bowls. Ladle over the soup and then place your optional ingredients on top. Serve while hot.