I first got this idea when I picked up the book by Ivan Orkin, the chef behind the legendary Ivan Ramen (first in Tokyo, then New York City). In the past I always thought ramen is nothing more than a bowl of broth made with pork bones, slices of charsiu and noodles, but I was fascinated by the complexity of Chef Ivan's recipe of no less than a dozen different ingredients that went in, each requiring separate set of processes to prepare. This is why I decided to try on a simplified version as an one-off project in my own kitchen. I meant to start during the Chinese New Year break but at the end I didn't start until one week after.
I began with the broth which turned out to be the trickiest bit. There were many recipes available out there but I used the one from serious eats as reference and made adjustments along the way. The original recipe called for fresh pork trotters and chicken carcasses and done in a dutch oven, then cook with onions, garlic and ginger. I ended up using pre-roasted ham hock which I picked up at the deli counter in my neighborhood supermarket, just because it’s cheaper and more readily available. And I cooked for even longer (more than 72 hours) using my vacuum flask cooker. After the first 2 days of cooking I thought I failed miserably – the stock was still clear with a very light taste, except the strong flavor of the roast meat, but then in the 48th hour when the bones were boiled into the middle bit, it slowly turned into a milky white color (still with the brown hue) and the taste slowly came together. After I am satisfied with the texture and taste, I tossed the bones and added some chunks of slightly charred onions, garlic and white sesame paste and further reduce the broth down until the flavor was intense enough. Not the best broth I have tasted but I thought it was presentable.
posted something similar a few years ago so I basically stuck with that original recipe – that is cooking sous vide for 30 hours in 63.5C, after rolling and tying (with the skin removed) and marinated the pork belly overnight with soy sauce, mirin and sugar. Just before serving, I sliced the pork belly into thin slices and finished with the blowtorch.
I happened to have a packet of fine "00" flour (which I use for my pasta) and found a small bottle of liquid kansui in the neighborhood baking supply store, so that's what I used. I only made a tiny batch this time with 1.5 cup of flour, 0.5 cup of warm water mixed with 1 teaspoon of kansui and dash of salt to taste - that yielded around 3 portions of noodles. I mixed everything together using my KitchenAid - first with the paddle attachment than with the dough hook, and every now and then I pulled the dough out of the bowl and gave it a few rounds of hard kneading by hand. When I was comfortable with the texture, I used the pasta attachment to press the dough (moving from Setting 1 to 5 gradually) then cut into thin threads using the spaghetti cutter. I used them immediately but I think it can keep in the refrigerator for a week when it’s covered with plenty of flour or corn flour to keep the noodles from sticking together.
The assembly was perhaps the easiest part. I boiled the ramen for 2 minutes, heat up the broth, then just put the noodles, green onions, halved eggs, corns, bamboo shoots, sesame seeds into the bowl with the boiling broth poured over. Then it was garnished with a couple dried nori sheet. I basically copied the presentation of one of the Tokyo ramen shops I visited.
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