Monday, August 24, 2015

Homemade Pork Belly Ramen with homemade noodles

 
I have both good and bad memories of ramen. I think everyone does. Everyone remembers having Top Ramen either in childhood or in college, and I hope everyone remembers that first bowl of really great ramen they ever had. I hope everyone has had the chance to try really great ramen and doesn't think Top Ramen or Cup of Noodles is the standard. If you've never tried great ramen before, you need to seek it out.
 
I grew up having Saporro Ichiban as a snack at my grandmother's house (a brand of instant ramen... a few steps above top ramen). She would always doctor it up by adding an egg and green onions and leftover vegetables from the night before (often cabbage). It's the afternoon snack that most reminds me of childhood.
 
A few years later, I had really superb ramen. It was more of a Tokyo/Chinese style and that is the flavor I like best. It's lighter than the popular Hakata style, which is the opaque, heavy pork based broth that is so popular now. It was so simple and so delicious and perfectly springy noodles.
 
The recipe for the pork and the noodles comes from the Momofuku cookbook and the broth was kind of ad-libbed. 

 

For the pork belly:
  • 3 lb piece of pork belly, skin off
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
Mix salt and sugar together. Sprinkle generously over the pork on all sides (you won't need all the salt mix) and cover with plastic. Refrigerate for 12 hours. Move to a roasting pan and roast at 450 for one hour. Lower temp to 250 and continue roasting for another hour until belly is tender. Let pork cool completely for slicing the next day. When re-heating, heat slices on a frying pan until just warm or move them quickly through hot broth.

For broth:
  • Pork neck, leg or shoulder plate bones
  • 1 chicken carcass
  • 1 piece of kombu
  • 10 or so dried shitake mushrooms
  • 1 big handful of bonito flakes
  • 2 onions
  • 1 6 inch piece of ginger
  • 6 cloves garlic (ish)
  • 1 or 2 carrots, depending on the size
  • leek tops (if you have them. if not, not big deal)
  • water
  • soy sauce
  • mirin
  • sake
  • kosher salt
Roast chicken and pork bones at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. This will help keep your stock clear as it cooks and add a great richness (you can also par-boil your bones, but I don't like that as much). Add everything except soy sauce, salt, mirin and sake to a pot and simmer for 6 hours (a crockpot will also work well).

When broth is done, season to taste with soy, mirin, sake and salt. The ratio should be about 1:1:2 mirin:sake:soy. Add to the broth and adjust as necessary.

For the noodles:
  • 800 grams bread flour
  • 300 grams room temperature water
  • 2 tsp baked baking soda (about 20 minutes or so)
Mix all ingredients together and knead for 10 minutes until thoroughly incorporated. Adjust water or flour if needed. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Roll dough to desired thickness (7 of 9 on my pasta machine) and cut. You can dry the noodles, freeze them or cook them fresh.

For assembly:
  • Noodles
  • Broth
  • Pork belly
  • Wood ear mushrooms
  • Wakame seaweed
  • soft boiled or poached egg
  • green or napa cabbage
  • scallions
  • whatever else you want.
Soak wakame and wood ear mushrooms if using them. Slice cabbage thinly and steam or simmer in broth until cooked. Add all ingredients (cooked to how you like) in the bowl atop cooked noodles. Ladle hot soup on top and eat with gusto.


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