Tonkotsu Ramen

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).

Tonkotsu Ramen

Seared pork shoulder.

Tonkotsu Ramen

Pork in braising liquid.

Tonkotsu Ramen

Finished chashu.

Tonkotsu Ramen

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

Tonkotsu Ramen

Grated garlic ready.

Tonkotsu Ramen

Garlic definitely black now.

Tonkotsu Ramen

Finished mayu.

Tonkotsu Ramen

Soaking kikurage (wood ear mushrooms).

Tonkotsu Ramen

Kikurage boiled, sliced and ready for eating.

Tonkotsu Ramen

Pig leg bones and feet for making tonkotsu stock.

Tonkotsu Ramen

Bones after quick boil for cleaning.

Tonkotsu Ramen

Ready for the long simmer.

Tonkotsu Ramen

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

Tonkotsu Ramen

Cracked white pepper also for stock flavor.

Tonkotsu Ramen

We have caramelization.

Tonkotsu Ramen

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

Tonkotsu Ramen

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

Tonkotsu Ramen

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

Tonkotsu Ramen

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

Tonkotsu Ramen

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

Tonkotsu Ramen

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