(not so) Recently I made my first batch of Tonkotsu Ramen. (just found this post lurking in my 'to be published folder' from winter... ooops)
I won't lie - I was pretty chuffed with my efforts. It is not often I'll spend a couple of days making stock for 2 bowls of noodles... had I known it would only yield that much liquid I would have started with a much heftier load of pork bones of course...
Some people prefer a simple shio (salt), shoyu (soy) or miso based stock for their ramen, which are indeed much lighter bases, but for me - on a cold winter's night there is no Ramen that beats Tonkotsu ramen with its super rich, thick porky broth and quivering slices of 'soft as butter' pork belly.
I did a little research and using my well practiced tastebuds as a guide I ended up making a rather decent bowl. The Ramen 'expert' (only so by comparative consumption) in the house gave it the big thumbs up.
But it did take quite some simmering - 12 hours in fact to break down the collagen from the pork bones which enriches the flavour and adds a certain viscosity.
Now for a very pale stock (which is preferred by some) you are supposed to chuck the cooking water when it starts to look like the photo below (but I don't mind my soup looking a little darker and I felt the flavour would be more concentrated this way.
So a mixture of pork bones, spring onions, ginger, well-caramelised fried garlic simmered away for long enough to form a really decent drop. I slow cooked a nice slab of pork belly in sake and served slices of it over the noodles in the broth, with some extra, sliced spring onions. It was good - but almost too rich - which I never thought I'd hear myself saying. So it is back to the drawing board. I'm going to give it another shot (making a much larger batch because cooking a pot of bones for 12 hours should at least provide enough broth for more than 2 bowls of noodles right? Once I have it spot on (at least in my eyes!) I'll be posting the recipe. Just a few little tweaks...
Ooh and there's a delicious chicken version I'm also going to test soon too!