Monday, April 16, 2012

Shoyu Ramen, William Edition

I think I've perfected my shoyu ramen broth!* As discussed before, making ramen takes a lot of work, but the great thing is that you make products along the way that can be used in other foods, like the pork stock from parboiling the pork belly, which can be used for congee, and the soy sauce broth, which can be used to flavor congee, steep hard-boiled eggs, or used in stewing other dishes (like the Taiwanese lu rou, though their stewing soy sauces are a little different).

This time 'round, I even tried making my own ramen noodles! ...with limited success. I followed David Chang's recipe for alkaline noodles in the first issue of his Lucky Peach magazine (Wait, what? It's now selling at $150+ on Amazon from resellers? Ha). But without a pasta/noodle roller, it's really tough to roll out the alkaline hardened dough to a sufficiently thin thickness, unless you work a very small batch, in which case there are other issues. Pictured above was my second attempt, in which I tried to roll out a larger ball of dough, but couldn't get it as thin as I wanted, resulting in rather thick "ramen" noodles. Pictured below was my first attempt, in which I rolled out a small ball of dough**, but because of the hardness of the dough, the edges were ragged, meaning it was tough to get longer noodles out of it. Fresh noodles cook very quickly, too, so I also just overcooked the first batch of thinner noodles. Otherwise they looked and tasted about right.

trying to cut what I can from a small, frayed ball of crumbly dough

looks alright! But there's so little of it...and it turns out it's overcooked.

Here's my recipe for the chashu pork/soy sauce broth and shoyu ramen soup:

Chaashuu Pork and Shouyu Broth

1 lb pork belly 
2 cups soy sauce
1 cup cooking sake (rice wine)
1/2 cup honey
2 stalks green onions, green parts only, bruised with back of knife (Reserve the white part for garnishing the ramen)
2-inch piece ginger, washed and sliced thickly without peeling
3 cloves garlic, crushed
4-6 eggs

  1. If the pork is too big to fit into your pot, cut it appropriately, then tie tightly with cotton twine. If you don’t do this, the resulting pork will be flabby and unpleasant.
  2. Boil water in a large pot (about 2/3 the pot), and add the green onions, half of the ginger, and the pork. Boil for 20 minutes, skimming any scum that rises. Remove pork, discard ginger and green onion, reserving the pork stock for making congee.
  3. Heat the pork (still tied) in a frying pan without oil until brown on all sides.
  4. Boil the soy sauce, honey, and sake in the pot. Once boiling, add the rest of the ginger and the garlic.
  5. Add the browned pork into the boiling soy sauce mixture. Simmer on low for about 45 minutes, then remove from heat.
  6. Cover with lid and leave for half a day. (about 9-10 hours)
  7. Remove pork from the soup, untie the pork, wrap in plastic wrap, and place in refrigerator. Separate the coagulated fat in the soup for making fried rice, and strain the soup to remove the ginger and garlic pieces. Store in refrigerator.
  8. While the pork is simmering, hard-boil the eggs: put the eggs in a small pot, covering with cold water, and bring to a boil. Cook for 7 minutes from the moment the water begins to boil. Remove eggs from heat and cool in cold water before peeling. Put peeled eggs in a container or ziplock bag with the cooled soy sauce broth, steeping in refrigerator for about 8 hours before removing from soy sauce broth. Reserve soy sauce broth for making the shouyu ramen soup.

醤油ラーメン Shouyu Ramen

ramen noodles*
equal parts chicken stock and dashi (totaling about 1.5 cups per bowl)
soy sauce pork broth made above, to taste (I like about 1 TBS per cup of chicken stock/dashi mixture)
chaashuu pork from above, sliced
marinated eggs from above
green onions, chopped thinly
garlic, minced
any other toppings you like, such as: bok choi, pickled bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, nori seaweed, kamaboko, naruto, (both are types of fish cakes), etc.

*Pre-made, precooked, and refrigerated wheat noodles found in your local Asian supermarket. Alternatively you could try making your own ramen noodles or substitute another type, including gluten-free noodles.

  1. Add soy sauce broth to the chicken broth and dashi to taste, and heat over medium heat on the stove.
  2. Add sliced chaashuu pork to the soup to gently reheat.
  3. Cook the noodles separately, according to instructions on package, and drain.
  4. Throw the noodles in a bowl, add toppings, and pour soup over the ingredients. 

from the first batch: few noodles, but broth and pork were delicious. Eggs were steeping at this time.

*of course, I also think there's always room to experiment further, but this was solid.

**the other reason for my going for so small a portion of noodles is my wheat intolerance or allergy. I can  only handle a very limited amount in a 1-2 day period.


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