Story by Chefs Kaede Hirooka and Jonathan Chung, Respect the Technique
As the cold winter months of Alberta drag on, nothing beats a steaming hot bowl of Ramen to warm you up. We have many fond memories of escaping a freezing city by ducking into a warm Ramen-Ya, blasted with the aroma of pork and chicken broth. It doesn’t get better than that!
The Chinese introduced ramen to Japan in the late 1800s, but due to food shortages, it really started gaining popularity as a cheap, filling meal after WWII. Now, more than 10,000 ramen shops operate in Japan, all stemming from four main types: shio (salt-based), shoyu (soy sauce-based), miso (soybean paste-flavored), and tonkotsu (pork bone broth).
Ramen also has four components: Tare (flavour base), noodles (which vary as much as types of pasta), broth (varies from region to region) and toppings.
Today we’re making Tokyo-style shoyu ramen because the most common noodles that can be purchased premade in Calgary are the fatter wavy noodles that pair well with a lighter broth. It seems like a lot of work but it’s a basic stock (bone broth). Set and forget it! So, wrap that bandana around your head and throw on that apron.
Let’s make ramen!
- 1 chicken carcass
- 400 g chicken wings
- 200 g onion
- 200 g daikon
- 12-15 g bonito
- 30 g kombu (kelp)
- 40 g dried shiitake
- 5 ltr water
- Soak bones/wings in water in the fridge overnight.
- Rinse bones/wings off with cold water then place in boiling water for 2 min.
- Dump boiling water out with the bones/wings in a strainer then give the bones a good rinse. We use a mix of wings and bones to get the right flavor and collagen into our broth.
- The first three steps are very important because it gets rid of all the impurities in the bones/wings leading to cleaner flavoured broth. The same technique of blanching the bones and rinsing the bones is quite common in French cooking.
- Place bones, wings, shiitake and pork shoulder into the stockpot, add water, set burner to high and bring to angry boil. Skim stock then bring to a rapid simmer for 4 hours.
- While stock is cooking away, rough chop daikon, onion and shiitake and add to stock at the two-hour mark.
- At the three-hour mark, add kombu and bonito to stock to simmer for the last hour.
- After four hours, strain stock and set aside. Reserve shiitake, compost the rest.
Tare means sauce in Japanese. This concentrated sauce is used to season the ramen.
Char Siu Pork Shoulder
The next step in making ramen is the char siu pork. Char siu pork is typically marinated in a sweet sauce and then roasted. In this recipe it’s combined with shoyu tare and marinated before cooking.
Char Siu Pork Shoulder
- 1 kg pork shoulder
- 250 g shoyu tare
- Clean the pork shoulder, remove any tough sinew or bits of bone that may still be attached.
- Add the pork to your stock and allow for it to simmer for 4 hours. Depending on the size of your pork, this may take longer. Check the tenderness with a knife test. If the knife slides out with ease, then your pork is tender enough. If not, allow an extra 30 minutes before checking again.
- Place your pork in your Shoyu tare and allow for it to marinate for at least 1-2 hours.
- Slice up that pork shoulder against the grain and serve with ramen.
- If you own a circulator (for sous vide), sous vide with the shoyu tare for 4-6 hours at 64degrees Celsius or 147.5 Fahrenheit.
The ramen egg is a very important component of ramen. Cook either a delicate or soft boiled egg finished with an ice bath before peeling.
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 eggs
- Bring some water up to a boil. Add baking soda and salt. The baking soda will make for easy egg peeling!
- On the round side of each egg, poke small holes into the shell. This allows the air from the air sack to escape, in other words, no exploding eggs, only beautiful ramen eggs!
- For soft delicate eggs, 7 minutes and 30 seconds. For soft boiled eggs,10 minutes.
- When the eggs have finished cooking, gently place them into ice water. Allow for them to cool for a few minutes before peeling away.
- Rinse off potential shards of shell and place into your shoyu tare with the pork shoulder for 1-2 hours before eating. You can omit the marinating if you want.
Noodles can be purchased at the Asian supermarket in pre-portioned packs.
Bring 3 parts unsalted water up to a boil and boil noodles for 2.5 minutes.
Assemble and Garnish
Place about 35ml of shoyu tare on the bottom of your bowl. Adjust the amount of tare to taste.
Add in 300 ml of ramen broth.
Add in your cooked ramen noodles
Garnish with your pork and egg. You can also add green onions, beansprouts, seaweed, you name it! You choose what you want to eat your ramen with!
Appreciate your masterpiece. Slurp those noodles up loud and proud!
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Respect the Technique is owned and operated by two Calgary chefs who specialize in pop ups and cooking classes.