Tonkotsu ramen is a rich and flavorful Japanese noodle soup that features a creamy and savory pork-based broth, tender chashu pork slices, marinated soft-boiled eggs, and various toppings. The broth is the highlight of this dish and is known for its milky appearance and deep umami flavor. Here’s a basic recipe for making Tonkotsu Ramen:
For the Broth:
- 2-3 pounds pork bones (such as pork femur or neck bones)
- 1 onion, peeled and halved
- 1 piece of ginger, about 2 inches, sliced
- 6-8 cloves garlic, peeled
- 2 green onions, roughly chopped
- Water, enough to cover the bones
- Salt, to taste
For the Chashu Pork:
- 1 pound pork belly
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup sake (Japanese rice wine)
- 1/4 cup mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 green onions, sliced
For the Marinated Soft-Boiled Eggs:
- 4 soft-boiled eggs
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup mirin
- 1 cup water
- Fresh ramen noodles (enough for 4 servings)
- Bamboo shoots (menma)
- Nori sheets, cut into thin strips
- Sliced green onions
- Sesame seeds
- Prepare the Broth:
a. In a large pot, add the pork bones and enough water to cover them. Bring to a boil and then drain the bones. This helps remove impurities and results in a cleaner broth.
b. Rinse the bones under cold water and return them to the pot. Add the onion, ginger, garlic, and green onions.
c. Cover the ingredients with water again and bring to a gentle simmer. Skim off any foam or impurities that rise to the surface.
d. Let the broth simmer for at least 6-8 hours, occasionally adding water to maintain the level.
e. Once the broth is rich and milky in appearance, strain it through a fine mesh sieve. Season with salt to taste.
- Prepare the Chashu Pork:
a. Roll up the pork belly and tie it with kitchen twine to hold its shape.
b. In a pot, combine the soy sauce, sake, mirin, sugar, and sliced green onions. Add the rolled pork belly.
c. Bring the liquid to a simmer and then cover the pot. Let the pork simmer on low heat for about 2-3 hours, until it becomes tender.
d. Remove the pork from the liquid and let it cool. Once cooled, slice the pork into thin slices.
- Marinate the Soft-Boiled Eggs:
a. In a bowl, mix the soy sauce, mirin, and water to create the marinade.
b. Peel the soft-boiled eggs and place them in the marinade. Allow them to marinate in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.
- Cook the Ramen Noodles:
a. Cook the fresh ramen noodles according to the package instructions. Drain and rinse them under cold water.
- Assemble the Tonkotsu Ramen:
a. Reheat the broth if necessary.
b. Divide the cooked ramen noodles among serving bowls.
c. Ladle the hot tonkotsu broth over the noodles.
d. Arrange the chashu pork slices, marinated soft-boiled eggs, bamboo shoots, sliced green onions, and nori strips on top of the noodles.
e. Sprinkle sesame seeds over the top.
- Serve the Tonkotsu Ramen immediately and enjoy!
Remember that making authentic tonkotsu ramen can be time-consuming due to the broth’s slow-cooking process. However, the result is a deeply satisfying and flavorful bowl of ramen that’s well worth the effort.