Ramen rules: Tim Anderson deconstructs Japan’s famous noodle soup
Recipe: Tokyo shoyu ramen
This recipe is based on a version served at Harukiya, a legendary Tokyo ramen shop. It’s a clear, shiny broth of chicken fat, seasoned with dried sardines and puffed up with noodles, lean pork and a few toppings that you can get online or at an Asian supermarket. If you can’t find chicken feet, substitute the same weight in extra wings. Broth and chashu can be made up to four days in advance and stored in the refrigerator.
Yields: 4 Takes: 1 hr, plus 10 hrs cooking/chilling without intervention
100g chicken feet
1 back of chicken
6 whole chicken wings
1 minced pig’s trotter (ask your butcher to do this)
20g iriko (dried sardines), casings
and heads removed
1 onion, peeled and cut into wedges
50 g fresh ginger, sliced
Kombu leaf 10x10cm
10g bonito flakes
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
3 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 tablespoons mirin
1 tablespoon sea salt flakes
600 g fresh (or 400 g dried) wavy ramen noodles, medium thickness
80g menma (a condiment made from fermented bamboo shoots)
2 spring onions, thinly sliced
1 sheet of nori seaweed cut into
soy-marinated eggs, for serving (optional)
For the chashu (braised pork)
4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
500g pork loin
1. Start at least a day before serving. Heat the oven to 120C, fan 100C, gas ½. Put the chicken legs, back and wings in a large casserole dish with the leg, iriko, onion, ginger and 1.8 liters of water. Simmer over medium heat for 30 minutes, skimming the surface constantly until no new scum comes to the surface. If bones are uncovered, add more water then cover with a lid. Bake for 5 hours.
2. Remove from the oven and discard the bones, then strain the broth through a fine sieve. Add the kombu and the bonito flakes and leave to infuse for 1 hour. Strain again and discard the solids.
3. Measure the liquid. You will need 1.4 liters of broth, so add more water if necessary. Chill in the refrigerator overnight.
4. For the chashu, heat the oven to 140C, fan 120C, gas 1. Mix the soy sauce and sugar in a bowl until the sugar dissolves. Score the pork and rub the soy mixture all over. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 57°C. Leave to cool, then refrigerate overnight.
5. The next day, remove the solidified fat from the surface of the broth and set aside. Use a ladle to scoop out the broth and transfer it to a separate container, leaving behind any lumps at the bottom to make sure the broth is clear.
When ready to serve, pour the broth into a large saucepan and heat over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and add the soy sauces, mirin and salt.
6. Meanwhile, gently melt the reserved broth fat in a small saucepan or in the microwave. Thinly slice the chashu. Cook noodles according to package directions, then drain.
7. Divide the broth and noodles among four bowls, then top each with the sliced chashu, menma, a little spring onion and a good drizzle of melted fat. Place a square of nori on the side of each bowl, add a halved soy-marinated egg (if using) and serve piping hot.
From Tokyo Stories: A Japanese Cookbook, by Tim Anderson (£26, Hardie Grant)