Most people wouldn’t dare bother to make ramen at home, from scratch. It’s extremely labor intensive (this batch took me two days), requires years of practice just to get good at it, and at 500-800 yen (about $6-$10) for an average bowl around Tokyo it wouldn’t make much sense to take matters into one’s own hands. I’m not sure if it was the relatively low availability of ramen shops in the US, or just my general lack of common sense, but I decided to give it a shot. While not quite up to par with some of my favorite restaurants, the end result was pretty good for a first try. Here’s the story, in photos.

First photo above contains raw materials for chashu (simmered pork topping): pork shoulder, ginger, garlic, green onion, white peppercorns, cooking sake (rice wine), soy sauce, mirin (sweet rice wine).

Seared pork shoulder.

Pork in braising liquid.

Finished chashu.

Raw materials for mayu (black garlic oil): sesame oil, garlic.

Grated garlic ready.

Garlic definitely black now.

Finished mayu.

Soaking kikurage (wood ear mushrooms).

Kikurage boiled, sliced and ready for eating.

Pig leg bones and feet for making tonkotsu stock.

Bones after quick boil for cleaning.

Ready for the long simmer.

Stock flavorings: onion, ginger, garlic. All to be caramelized and simmered with the bones.

Cracked white pepper also for stock flavor.

We have caramelization.

Finished base stock after 6 hours. Will be strained and mixed with tare.

Tare (concentrated broth flavoring): tahini, grated garlic, ground white pepper, salt, mirin, leftover braising liquid.

Minced fat back and sesame seeds to add to finished broth. Pork fat rules.

Topping all in rows: Kikurage, green onion, menma (seasoned bamboo), chashu, green onion sprouts, mayu for drizzling, sesame seeds for grinding, benishoga (pickled ginger).

Not brave enough to make my own noodles yet, but these from Sun Noodle weren’t bad.

Boiled noodles, added hanjuku (partially cooked) egg and combined all for the finished bowl. Phew!