My ramen is unashamedly taken from the Momofuku cookbook (if you like ramen, go and buy that book – it does a much better job of explaining ramen than I can) but I’ve tried to simplify things very slightly to a point where it becomes accessible to you to make with ingredients you can find at your local supermarket – you can cook it in a day with time to spare.
Let’s break it down into its components parts – you’ve got – Noodles, pulled pork, pork belly, broth/stock, vegetables, spring onions, slow cooked egg.
Plan ahead and start earlier than you think you need to. If you don’t have a sous vide water bath you can achieve similar results for the egg using a large pot of water kept at a steady temperature (you’ll need a thermometer).
- 1 joint of pork shoulder
Rub the pork shoulder in salt and sugar, cover and allow to rest for half a day. Once rested, heat your oven to 130c and cook the shoulder, covered with foil, for 6 hours. Baste the meat with its juices every hour or so. Remove from the oven and allow to rest before shredding. Shred with a couple of forks – you can spoon over some of the cooking fat that was produced when cooking the shoulder to keep it moist.
- 1 slab of pork belly, skin removed
As above – rub the salt and sugar into the meat and allow to rest. Heat your oven to 230c, cook for 1 hour and then reduce to 130c and cook for an hour or so longer. Allow to cool, wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate. When you’re ready to serve, cut into neat slices and warm through in the stock.
- Pork bones – I actually used 2 pigs trotter as I like the stickiness they give to a stock
- Chicken parts – you could use a carcass, I used a few thighs, meat on.
- 3 sheets kombu – you should be able to pick this up at the supermarket
- Shiitake mushrooms – 4 or 5
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 spring onions, chopped
- Soy sauce
Heat a large pan of water and add the trotters and the chicken. Bring to a very slight simmer (never boil a stock) and add the kombu, the mushrooms the carrot and the onions. After 15 minutes or so, remove the kombu. Simmer for 6 hours or longer. Add the spring onion for the last 30 minutes of simmering. You’ll need to skim any scum/froth that forms on the surface and possibly top up the water if it looks like it’s getting low. Strain the stock of the veg and meat and reheat in a pan. Add a splash of soy and mirin. Test your seasoning and adjust accordingly.
Sous Vide Egg
Preheat a waterbath to 63c. Add 1 egg per person and allow to cook for 45 minutes.
When you’re ready – remove from the waterbath and crack onto a saucer to allow any of the non-set white to drain away.
You can use whatever you fancy – maybe some runner beans, sugar snap.. baby corn. I used bamboo shoots and Hon Shimeji and Shiro Shimeji mushrooms. Add them to the stock 5 minutes before serving.
If you really wanted you can make your own but you don’t want to do that – you’re just as well off with the shop bought type – I use the Clearspring Udon noodles.. Not totally authentic I’m sure but are more than acceptable. Cook them in boiling water for 5 minutes or so.
Bringing it all together
Warm your serving bowls. Add a good couple of ladles of stock (make sure you’re happy with the seasoning) to each bowl. Add a handful of noodles, a handful of shredded pork and a couple of slices of the pork belly. Slide the egg on top and finish with sliced spring onion.
First thing you should do when eating this is break the egg yolk into the stock – it’s incredible.
You can refine this dish to your liking or make it a little more robust. Fat content is important here so maybe you could take a little of the fat from the shoulder (if there’s any left that hasn’t rendered out), chop it up as finely as you can and add to the stock. With a dish like this, the stock isn’t light and refined – it’s strong, heavy and tasty.
Ramen may well be one of the most perfect bowls of food you could ever be served.