Unless you’ve been hiding out with Jimmy Hoffa you’re well aware that Ramen (in all it’s forms) has been taking over the food scene across the country for the past few years and is now basically mainstream. The secret of good ramen is the broth, and it takes a lot of time and care to create that $10 bowl you’re slurping. Some broths take over three days to make and a little is reserved each day to add to the next batch for consistency purposes; think of a sourdough starter. I’ve been wanting to take a stab at my own ramen for a while but just couldn’t find the time…until last weekend!
For the Broth:
1 pig leg or several trotters, cleaned
1 8 – 10 oz piece of fatback, I used a cured piece b/c that’s all I had
1 onion, chopped skin on
1 piece of ginger (about the size of your hand), chopped
12 garlic cloves
2 scallions – white parts only, chopped
2 leeks – chopped and cleaned
1 8oz package of chicken livers
1 lb of chicken parts (wings, necks,etc) , bone-in
8oz of mushrooms – I used king oyster and crimini
2 tbsp of veggie oil
For the bowl:
1 8 oz package of spinach
1 medium soft egg, sliced in half
2 king mushrooms
1 4 oz package of shimeji mushrroms
1 can bamboo shoots
1 tbsp sesame oil
Green parts from the scallions
2 tbsp chili garlic sauce
Start by heating the oil in a heavy bottom pan or cast iron and add the onion, ginger and garlic; cook until slightly charred. Place all the broth ingredients in a deep pot (at least 10 quarts) and cover with water.
Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and cover lightly; skimming off the fat and add the pork belly. Here’s the hard part…simmer and add water as necessary for about 20 hours. Remove the fat back and pork belly after four hours and set aside. Strain the broth of all solids through a fine mesh sieve and return to boil; reduce the temp and simmer until it reduces in half. Strain again and return to low heat. Cook the noodles half way ( 3 minutes) in a simmering pot of water. Arrange the bowl by layering the bottom with spinach leaves then add the broth and the noodles next. While the broth is reducing, cook the mushrooms in 1 tbsp of sesame oil for about 3 minutes and set aside.
Add the chopped scallions, chili sauce, mushrooms, bamboo shoots and egg to the bowl; slice the fat back and pork belly about 1/2 inch thick and add to the bowl. Obviously you could als add whatever toppings and flavor enhancers you choose, such as various varieties of miso…that’s what makes ramen fun and unique from recipe to recipe and restaurant to restaurant. I’m excited to try Ivan Ramen and Ramen lab in NYC in a few weeks and also highly recommend Ippudo in Hell’s Kitchen.