Tonkotsu ramen is ramen noodles served in rich and fatty pork broth usually garnished with a variation of toppings (most of the time pork cutlets, green onions, and hard-boiled eggs split in two). There are many variations to this recipe. Some people add some chicken bones or beef bones to create a unique combination of flavors. A lot of the ingredients aren't available in just any grocery stores. You shouldn't have a lot of trouble finding them at the Asian grocers in your local international district. You would be surprised on how much better tasting it is than the store bought instant ramen brands.
- 6 Pork hock bones
- 3 Green Onion
- 1 Fuji Apple
- 2 Med. Sized Yellow Onions
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. Grated Ginger (2 Tsp of the tube kind is ok)
- 3 Cloves of quartered Garlic
- 2 Tbsp Sesame Oil
- 12-16 Cups Water
- 500 grams of All purpose flour or medium strength flour
- 5 grams of Powdered Kansui (alkaline salts – Koon Chun brand, it comes in a clear glass bottle labeled “potassium carbonate & sodium bi-carbonate solution” and the UPC is 0-20717-80230-8)
- 200 cc of Water
- Potato or Corn starch (for flouring)
Char Siu (part of the garnish)
- 500 grams of Side Pork
- 50 cc of Soy Sauce
- 50 cc Mirin
- 1 tbsp of Sugar
- 500 cc of Water
- 1. Using a butcher knife, separate off the pork hock bones.
- 2. Rinse well in running water to wash off the blood. Boil in large pot for 15 minutes and make sure you barely cover the bones with the water.
- 3. Skim off as much scum/foam as much possible as it forms.
- 4. Drain in colander and use a brush to remove any bloody meat.
- 5. Use a saw and cut halfway down the center of the bones. Then use hammer to break bone.
- 6. The bones will be filled with marrow. Simmer for several hours until the marrow dissolves out from the bones.
- 7. Scum will form at the start. Carefully skim the scum off. On mid flame, maintain a low boil.
- 8. After scum has stopped forming, simmer for 6 hours or more. Add more water if the water level drops.
- 9. Now to make the noodles. After measuring out the ingredients, mix the flour and kansui together, then add the water. It may feel as if the amount of water is insufficient. This is normal.
- 10. Mix in bowl until a mealy consistency is achieved.
- 11. The dough will be very stiff. Use you body weight to form the dough into a ball.
- 12. Transfer to kneading surface and knead. Knead vigorously for 10 minutes. It is ok if the dough cracks or does not knead together well.
- 13. Form into ball, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Make sure that the dough does not dry out.
- 14. While the dough rests, prepare the char siu. Brown the meat in a pan and then simmer in a pot for 2 hours in a sauce made from the remaining ingredients. Allow to cool in the pot.
- 15. After the dough has rested, roll the dough out with a rolling pin to a thickness of 5 mm and then insert into pasta machine. Start out with the highest thickness and then continue on the lower settings until the desired thickness is achieved.
- 16. If a pasta machine is not used, roll out the dough to the desired thickness with the rolling pin. Take into account that the noodles will expand 1.3 times when boiled.
- 17. The dough will not be that sticky, so a small amount of flour or potato (or corn) starch is sufficient for flouring. (Note that the recipe only shows the noodles being cut by a pasta machine and does not mention hand cutting)
- 18. A wooden box is best for storing the noodles, but if one is not available, use a metal tray lined with wax paper (to prevent sticking) and store in the refrigerator.
- 19. 2 hours after the pork bones have started simmering, the soup should become progressively white and cloudy. If tasted at this stage, the soup will not taste good since it will still have a raw flavor.
- 20. After the soup has simmered for 6 hours, the soup should look like this. The inside of the bones should now be empty and the soup should have a rich smell just like a ramen place.
- 21.The char siu should be a nice amber color. Slice with care since it will be very tender and tend to fall apart.
- 22. It’s time to put everything together. Since boiling time can differ, boil the noodles to each person’s preference. For people who like curly noodles, firmly squeeze the noodles until the desired effect is achieved.
- 23. Warm the bowl, and add the char siu sauce and salt for flavor. Use sparingly at first and then add more if desired.
- 24. I prefer to boil the noodles for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Your rich and hearty tonkotsu ramen is complete.
Hints & Tips
- Any leftover char siu can be eaten with beer. If you ever have trouble slicing soft pork, chill the whole piece in the refrigerator until cold, and it makes slicing easier. Reheating is easy, in either the microwave or oven, even stove top.
- Make sure you keep up on scooping out the foamy gunk, you don't want all that stuff all over your authentic ramen.
- 12 eggs in shells
- 1 lb. Diced pork hock meat (leftovers from recipe above)
- 3 green onions cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1 thumb sized piece of ginger sliced
- 2 large cloves of garlic sliced
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 2 Tablespoons cooking wine/sake/sherry
- 2 Tablespoons Sugar
- 1/2 cup water
Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil. (Using a small thumb tack, I prick a pin hole in the base (fat end) of every egg, but that’s not necessary.) The water is at a full boil, I put the eggs in. The water should cover the eggs. Wait for the water to come back to a full boil, and time for 7 minutes. (9 minutes will give you a fully hard boiled egg. 7 minutes is a very soft boiled egg.) Drain the pot and eggs and plunge the eggs in ice water to stop cooking. This also makes the shells a bit easier to peel. In a small pot, saute pork, garlic, onions, and ginger until slightly browned. Add soy sauce, cooking alcohol, sugar, water and simmer for 10 minutes. Until pork is cooked through and flavors meld. Remove from stove. Remove pork to eat separately. Pour everything else into a bowl large enough to hold marinade and eggs. Carefully, peel the eggs, and place in marinade. Try to mae sure the marinade covers all of the eggs. If not, try transferring the sauce into a large ZipLock bag, and place the eggs in the bag and seal. Place the bag in a bowl, and put everything in the refrigerator overnight. Or at least for a few hours. It is now ready to be placed on top of the ramen.
Don't be afraid to experiment with different types and balances of garnishes!