ABURA SOBA: “Oil Noodles”, or Soupless Ramen

This is by far the quickest to prepare recipe that I have posted! Popular in Tokyo–particularly among college students, “abura soba” (油そば), is soupless, oily noodle, ramen dish. It is generally less time-consuming to prepare and less costly to order than it’s better known broth-laden counterpart. Abura soba can be made when you’re in a pinch for time and it makes for a great weeknight dinner! It is usually topped with a poached egg, but some bowls are topped with a soft-boiled egg, or even just a raw egg yolk. The runny yolk does change the texture of the dish, especially once it mixes with the melted pork fat and the tare (sauce) at the bottom of the bowl. Generally, it is the customer that will mix together all of the ingredients in the bowl, not the cook in the back that prepared it. When mixing the noodles, be sure to really pull the noodles up and stir it to grab up all of the savory sauce and oil at the bottom!

INGREDIENTS
Tare/Sauce: Use 30ml of sauce per 175g of noodles
• 10 g of kombu
• 200ml of water
• 10g of roasted shiitake
• 5g of katsuobushi
• 100ml of shoyu
• 25ml of sake
• 25ml of mirin
• 10g of brown sugar
• 20g of salt
• 10ml of rice vinegar

Lard oil (aromatic): Use 30ml of oil per 175g of noodles
• 10:1 ratio of aromatic lard oil to sesame oil
• Can be scented with ginger, scallion, etc

Noodles: Use 175g of noodles per bowl
• 900g of flour (360g Bread flour, 450g AP, 81g Cake flour, 9g Egg White Powder)
• 351g of water
• 12g of salt
• 14g of kansui (10g of sodium carbonate, 4g of potassium carbonate)
• 3 pinches of riboflavin

Toppings: Whatever you like!

TARE/SAUCE: To start, prepare the tare to use as you sauce for flavoring the ramen dish. You’ll need to soak the kombu in water (kombu dashi) for at least a 30 minutes, but I prefer to do so overnight. In a separate container, soak the roasted shiitake and katsuobushi (I used hongarebushi) in the shoyu for at least 30 minutes.

To make the roasted shiitake, I preheat my oven to 232°C. While it is preheating, gently rinse and dry the shiitake with a paper towel. I then place the shiitake in the oven for an hour (30 minutes on each side). I like to do this because it imparts a smokey scent to the shiitake and a hint to what ever dish I am making.

I also prefer to do this for overnight as well. Since I’m used to ramen recipes that take several days to make, an overnight wait is nothing to me lol

If you’re *really* in a pinch for time, you can just heat up the water to 90°C and add in 5cc (about 1 US teaspoon) each of kelp and bonito dashi granules. Turn off the heat once the granules have dissolved. Then, in this order, add in: sake, mirin, sugar, salt, rice vinegar, and shoyu. Stir the mixture until the salt and sugar have dissolved. Now you have your sauce for the abura soba prepared.

If you’re like me, and wish to take your time drawing out the flavors, you will make a kombu dashi, etc that’s soaked overnight 🙂 To continue, once the kombu dashi and the shoyu have soaked overnight pull it out of the refrigerator. Take a saucepan and heat up the kombu dashi to 63°C. Remove the kombu, and then add in the shoyu mixture containing the shiitake and katsuobushi. Heat it to 80°C, turn off the heat, cover, and let it sit for 15 minutes. Afterward, strain into a bowl or container.

In a separate sauce pan, add in the sake and mirin. Bring it to 80°C (this usually only takes a few minutes, especially if you store your sake and mirin at room temperature) and then, in this order, add in: sake, mirin, sugar, salt, rice vinegar, and then the strained shoyu mixture that you just made. Stir until the sugar and salt have completely dissolved. Once dissolved, place in a container and refrigerate until ready to use.

LARD OIL (AROMATIC): Ok, to be fair, the amount of lard oil that I have accumulated is the result of multiple batches of tonkotsu being made. If you do not make ramen on a frequent basis, you can just render some pork fat and add in garlic, ginger or scallion to make it aromatic.

Once the fat has been rendered and strained of any solid material (such as meat or aromatics), add in the sesame oil.

Although I do not recommend it, if you are pressed for time, you can use a vegetable oil like sunflower oil instead of lard oil and just omit the aromatics all together.

TOPPINGS: As far as the toppings go, you can use whatever you like! I’ve posted before in multiple recipes how to make the chashu pork, menma, ajitama, etc. At this point, just chop up whatever vegetables you want and then boil your noodles (even if they are instant ramen). Also, I decided to sear the meat for my bowl this time!

Clockwise from the top: shredded nori, chashu pork (before searing), freshly grated garlic, menma, green onions, white onions, and ajitama (centered in the picture).

A general tip though, to decrease any overwhelming sting from the onions, soak them in water beforehand, and then strain. I soaked the green parts for 5 minutes and the white onion for 10 minutes.

I love the aesthetics of amber-hued egg yolks, so I decided to showcase a raw egg for this bowl. If you decide to try this recipe, let me know how it turned out and if you liked it! 🙂

YUZU SHIO: Complete Recipe (Soup, Toppings, etc)

Prior to now, I have used yuzu juice in my shoyu recipes, but it was more so for subtle taste notes since the shoyu elements were quite strong. I have come to realize just how much the yuzu really shines when showcased and paired with a shio tare; you really do not need to use much, either. I can’t speak for others who make this type of ramen, but I do feel that the purpose in bringing the yuzu to the forefront is to arrest the senses. However, take care that it is not overdone (we’re making soup here, not a “lemonade”!).

Before starting any of my recipes, please check out a short entry that I wrote in regards to prepping plus other recommended things to take note of: https://flyingcraneramen.com/2020/08/23/getting-started-please-read-before-starting-any-of-my-recipes/. There is nothing more daunting than being halfway through an undertaking like homemade ramen only to discover that either: you are missing key equipment, or that you made things much harder on yourself by doing unnecessary extra work.

That said, the recipe follows as such:

INGREDIENTS
Tare: Use 30ml (or to taste) of the tare when making your bowl of ramen to eat
75ml of sake 
75ml of mirin
25ml of white shoyu
25ml of dark shoyu
30g of yellow rock sugar (or white granulated if you can’t find it)
60g of sea salt
10ml of sweet fish sauce
3g of MSG (optional)

Meat & Bone Stock: Use 300ml of the meat & bone stock when making your bowl of ramen to eat
3L of water and 1.5 kg of a chicken carcass, wings, drumsticks, and skinless thighs
1 Garlic bulb, sliced in half
5 cm of Ginger, sliced into coins
1 or 2 whole leeks

Seafood reduction + Kombu dashi: Use 50ml of this for your bowl of ramen to eat
750ml of water
20g of kombu
25g of dried shiitake
20g of niboshi
(in a separate container): 50g of dried scallops and 250ml of water
40g of dried salmon
20g of dried pollack
10g of dried bonito

Aroma Oil: Use 25ml of the aroma oil for your bowl of ramen to eat
150ml of rendered chicken fat
60ml of sunflower oil
35ml of rendered pork fat
5ml of sesame oil

Yuzu juice: Use 10ml of the yuzu juice for your bowl of ramen to eat

Toppings: (Technically, all are optional lol)
Chashu
Menma
Nori
Ajitama
Leek, finely sliced
Microgreens

CHASHU DRY BRINE — This will be used as a pre-prep for the braising process to help retain moisture, and to assist in the browning/searing when cooking.
50g of brown sugar
50g of sea salt
1g of baking soda
• The baking soda acts not only as a tenderizer to hold in moisture, but it will help the outside to brown easier when cooking.

CHASHU MARINADE — This will also be used as a pre-prep for the braising process to help deodorize, and also flavor the pork.
75ml of sake
350ml of water
15g of sliced ginger

CHASHU BRAISING SAUCE & AJITAMA MARINADE — After making the chashu pork, reserve 500ml of this sauce to also use for marinating the ajitama.
1L of water
500ml of shoyu
100ml of sake
50g of brown sugar
10g of ginger slices
10g of garlic
1 green onion

MENMA SAUCE:
150g (dried) of bamboo shoots
500ml of water
10g of kombu
5g of katsuobushi
125ml of dark shoyu
40ml of mirin
75ml of sake
25g of brown sugar
15g of sea salt
5g of ginger slices
5g of garlic
1 scallion
25ml of sesame oil

Noodles: Use 125g of noodles for your bowl of ramen to eat
1.5mm × 1.5mm SQUARE SHAPE,
A total of 900 g of Flour/Starch:
667g of High Gluten bread flour
215g of Bread flour
9g of Whole Wheat flour
9g of Potato Starch
315g of Water (35% hydration)
12g of Sea Salt
9g of Kansui (7g of Potassium Carbonate, 2g of Sodium Carbonate)

I have a vintage Ono noodle machine that can easily handle rolling lower hydration doughs [<35% hydration] and a Marcato pasta machine (plus 5 different attachment cutters) for cutting the dough. The Ono noodle machine which is made mostly of heavy iron and copper, plus my husband usually helping me with rolling the dough makes it feasible for me. That said, these noodles may be a bit too difficult for most to handle due the low moisture content. Unless you have a machine like mine or a machine that has electrical rolling power, you may be better off just buying your noodles from an Asian market or other retailer.

These noodles that I made for the yuzu shio will be left to further mature in the refrigerator for 2 days.

As mentioned before in my Tonkotsu Walkthrough (https://flyingcraneramen.com/2020/02/27/tonkotsu-a-complete-and-in-depth-walkthrough/), I always start the chashu, tare, and other components a few days in advance.

DAY ONE

CHASHU (updated recipe): Rub the pork shoulder butt (which is the meat that is going to be used for the pork chashu ramen topping), with the dry brine of 50g of sea salt, 50g of brown sugar, and 1g of baking soda. The baking soda acts not only as a tenderizer to hold in moisture, but it will help the outside to brown easier when cooking. Now, place the pork shoulder in a baggie, letting out as much air as possible, and then store it in the refrigerator overnight and up to 24 hours.

SEAFOOD REDUCTION + KOMBU DASHI: First, soak the dried shiitake in water for 30 minutes to reconstitute them. Also, lightly toast the niboshi until fragrant. Then, in another container, combine the 750ml of water, the kombu, shiitake, niboshi and refrigerate overnight. 

Place the dried scallops in a container and soak them for 4 hours. Discard that water, then fill it with 250ml of fresh water. These will soak overnight as well.

MENMA: Many Asian markets carry the seasoned bamboo shoots that are already prepared and seasoned for you. If tou wish, just purchase these to save time and effort. However, I like to season mine because it allows me to customize the recipe to suit whatever ramen I am making. For the most part, my recipe does not deviate from the one above.

The dried bamboo shoots that I bought required a bit of prep work before I could season them. For dried shoots, soak them in water for 4 hours, then discard the water. Place the shoots in a pot with enough water to cover them and boil them for 15 minutes. Drain, and then fill the pot with fresh water and again, boil them for another 15 minutes. Drain, and allow the shoots to cool completely. I let mine cool in the refrigerator overnight.

In the meantime, place the 10g of kombu to be used for the menma sauce in a container with the 500ml of water. Cover, and allow this to soak overnight.

DAY TWO

CHASHU: Add the grated ginger, sake, and water to the container holding the dry-brined pork shoulder butt from the day before. Again, let the pork shoulder soak covered, overnight. As you can see, mine looks in disarray because I perfer to cut the bone out myself; I like the meat to stay all in one piece. By doing so, it makes the chashu easier to roll later on.

SEAFOOD REDUCTION + KOMBU DASHI: Take the kombu dashi out of the refrigerator that was prepped the day before. Place it in a saucepan, heat it to 62°C, then remove the kombu. Now add in the 250ml water plus the scallops that were soaking from the day before, the dried pollack, and the dried salmon. Raise the heat to 82°C, and maintain this temperature for 30 minutes. Add in the katsuobushi (if you are using the more readily available thin flakes your cook time to extract flavor will be much less). Stir it in, and after no more than seconds, strain everything through a fine mesh. Now, begin the reduction process by turning the heat to 100°C, uncovered and keep boiling until the volume of liquid is only about 50% of the initial volume in the saucepan.

MENMA: Take the shoots out from the day before, and vacuumed-seal any that you do not plan to immediately use. They can keep fresh in the refrigerator for up to a year, and for much longer in the freezer.

Pull out the kombu and water that you allowed to soak overnight. Pour it into a saucepan and heat it to 62°C, then remove the kombu. Add in the shoyu, sake, mirin, salt, ginger, garlic, scallion, katsuobushi, sesame oil and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain the sauce through a mesh and then pour it over the bamboo shoots. Cover them with a paper towel to better keep them submerged in the liquid. I recommend allowing the shoots to soak in the sauce for at least a day before using them.

TARE: This will be a salt-based tare and have a syrup-like consistency due to being highly-concentrated in salt and sugar with respect to the other liquids used. (Also to note, the only white shoyu I had on-hand was the bottle of sakura shoyu from my spring ramen feature. The sakura notes are very subtle, so I did not hinder the flavor much if at all.)

Start the soup tare by first evaporating alcohol from the sake and mirin in a saucepan. To do this, bring the temperature of the sake and mirin to 80°C.

Then add in the yellow rock sugar (or white sugar), salt, white shoyu, dark shoyu, fish sauce, and MSG (if you’re choosing to use it). Turn off the heat and stir until the sugar amd salt are dissolved as best you can. Allow to cool, then place in the refrigerator until you need it.

MEAT & BONE STOCK: I prefer to soak the chicken carcass, and cuts of meat in a pot with water overnight. This will remove much of the blood from the meat and reduce the amount of scum floating at the top of our stock when we begin cooking it. Do this the night before you plan to make your stock. Set the skin aside and save it to render for the aromatic oil later on.

DAY THREE

MEAT & BONE STOCK: Drain the water from the pot containing the chicken meat and bones that you plan to use for your stock. For cleaner flavor and to decrease the amount of fat that may present itself in the stock (the animal fat causes opaqueness in the stock, especially if the temperature is too high), I like to roast the chicken first. For an hour on each side, at 180°C, roast the chicken meat & bones. They should caramelize and have a nice brown, golden hue once you are finished.

After roasting, add them to an aluminum pot and pour 3L of water over them. Heat to 83°C and maintain this temperature for 6-8 hours. In the last 3 hours before it is finished, gently place the leek, garlic, and ginger in the pot.

After 6-8 hours, strain into a container through a fine mesh and allow the stick to cool before placing in the refrigerator overnight.

CHASHU: As the meat & bone stock is cooking you can finally cook your chashu. Start by boiling a pot of water and take the brined pork shoulder from the refrigerator. Now thoroughly rinse it, and begin to roll it with cooking twine into a log shape as best you can!

Once the water is boiling and you have rolled your chashu, carefully place and submerge it into the pot of boiling water. Allow it to boil for 1-2 hours. Combining the ingredients for the chashu sauce into another pot, bring it to 83°C, and then place the chashu in it. The sauce should at least come up to the chashu log halfway. Allow it to cook for an hour (rotating every 15 or 20 minutes to ensure even seasoning). I accidentally snagged the twine when lifting it out, so that’s why it looks a bit loose! 😱

As a final step to lock in the savory flavor, be sure to sear the entire surface area on high heat for a few minutes.

Wrap in foil, and allow it to cool before placing it in the refrigerator for overnight. DO NOT attempt to cut it while it is still hot! It will be very difficult (and dangerous because it’s hot), plus, it will cause the juices to seep out as you are cutting it; your efforts to maintain moisture will be all for naught.

AROMATIC OIL: Also, as the meat & bone stock is cooking, you can prepare the aromatic oil. I took the excess fat from previously pork shoulder butts and cuts of chicken that I had been accumulating. However, for the purpose of this recipe, you should have enough fat/skin that you can cut away from the meat to render enough oil for at least 2-3 bowls of ramen.

I prefer to render the fats separately. Over medium-high heat, add the fat/skin and anout 10ml of water to the pan to get it started. As the fat cooks, it will melt and become less opaque as the oil statts to form. Strain the oil from the pan through a fine mesh into a bowl or container. Add in the sunflower and sesame oils to the bowl containing the oil from rendered fat.

As a bonus, you can even season the chicken skins with a little salt and pepper to have as a snack!

AJITAMA: I prefer to make the chashu first (which by now you likely have), then use some of the leftover sauce. If you wish to use the chashu sauce, be sure to strain it first.

Pierce the egg with at the larger, rounded end, to prevent the eggs from cracking while they boil. Add in the 50ml of rice vinegar, bring to a boil, then boil the eggs for 6-7 minutes. The vinegar’s acidity will slightly break down the egg’s shell and make them easier to peel later on. Immediately after placing them in the pot, for the first 60 seconds, gently stir the eggs clockwise, and counterclockwise, going back and forth in the pot. This will center the yolk of the eggs.

After the eggs have finished cooking, place them into an ice bath to stop cooking process. Marinate the eggs in the chashu sauce and store them in a container in the refrigerator overnight, up to 2 days. By placing a paper towel over the marinade, it keeps the eggs from floating up and helps the eggs to be more evenly marinated. Below is a picture of one egg that has been marinating for 24 hrs. When slicing them, it helps to use fishing wire for a cleaner cut.

DAY FOUR !

Everything should be made, have marinated overnight, etc by now.

BUILDING YOUR BOWL OF RAMEN: For any other toppings you that wish to use, have them already out and ready to use. Place at least 300ml of boiling water into the bowl that you wish to eat from, as you get ready to fix your ramen. This will “pre-heat” the bowl and slow down the rate at which the ramen will cool as you are eating it.

Once you start heating up the broth and boiling noodles, you must work carefully and quickly to assemble your bowl of ramen using the ratios from the ingredients list at the top:

  • 10ml of yuzu juice
  • 25ml of aromatic oil
  • 30ml (or the amount to suit your taste) of tare
  • 50ml of seafood reduction
  • 300ml of chicken bone stock
  • 125g of cooked ramen
  • Toppings

Be sure not to let the noodles soak for too long in the hot broth. A bowl of ramen should be eaten within 5-10 minutes after it has been made and served.

ENJOY!! 🍜

GETTING STARTED (Please read this before starting on any of my recipes!)

This is merely a run-down of some general notes and recommendations that I often incorporate while making ramen.

Taking a glance at my recipes, you will quickly notice that they involve *days* worth of prep time in advance, careful temperature monitoring, etc. The most common snarky response that I see from skeptics alludes to “having to wait 4 days just for a bowl of soup”. That is simply not the case…Yes, from start to finish is about 4 days, however, you are going to be making enough for 8-12 bowls (depending on how much you like to eat per bowl, etc). Take a trip to a restaurant and you can easily spend $20 including tax + tip for ONE bowl. Many of the ingredients that I use last a long time, and do not require much per use, so the investment in equipment and ingredients will pay off. If you are interested in where to find any of the ingredients or equipment that I use, please do not hesitate to send me a message on the Contact page 🙂

That said, for the recipes themselves, I utilize the metric system. I use a ThermoPro cooking thermometer that allows me to toggle between Fahrenheit (°F) and Celsius (°C) degree readings. A digital scale should allow you to measure in grams (g) and kilograms (kg). Also, most measuring cups have millimeters (ml) and liters (L) displayed.

Equipment & Supplies needed to aid in preparation:
Measuring cup with metric display of millilitres (ml)
Saucepan
Tongs
Fine mesh strainer
Colander
Large bowl
Food thermometer with Celsius temperature display (°C)
Digital scale with grams (g) display
Aluminum stock pot(s)
Saran wrap
Foil
Whisk
Spatula
Frying pan
Sharpened knives (chef, paring, and utility)

Most of these items you will likely already have in your homes, so don’t worry!

I highly recommend using an aluminum stock pot for the soup stock versus stainless steel. Aluminum pots are less likely to scorch the cooking materials. For opaque, white tonkotsu broth, this is crucial.

OTHER HELPFUL TOOLS:
Cooking twine — to wrap the pork for chashu into a log shape
A tawashi — a natural scrubbing brush to aid in cleaning the pork bones
Fishing wire — allows for a clean, slicing-in-half of the ajitama

Tonkotsu: A Complete and In-depth Recipe/Walkthrough

Let me warn you that if you are looking for a quick recipe that you can “whip up in 30 minutes or less” on a Wednesday night, then this isn’t it…From start to finish, it is 3+ days. The first few days are mostly just prepping and marinating. The prepping does not take as long, so it can be done before or after work. The third day is by far the busiest day. Then finally, on the fourth day, the ramen is ready to eat/serve. That said, for this recipe, I labeled each day for example as “THURSDAY”, “FRIDAY”, “SATURDAY” etc. I did this because back when I had an office job, I only had the weekends to craft ramen. So, I wrote this walkthrough based upon if you started on a Thursday, you would finish on Sunday and have enough meals for the coming week. My tonkotsu recipe yields nearly 3 liters of soup, so it should be enough for 10-12 bowls of ramen. Plus, it freezes well for up to 3 months.
If this entire walkthrough seems daunting to you, how about only making one component like the broth, ajitama or the chashu, etc until you feel comfortable undertaking the whole project? The chashu can be cut up and used for a “donburi” or rice bowl dish. Also, the ajitama make a great snack on their own!

I will be utilizing the metric system for this walkthrough. I used a ThermoPro cooking thermometer that allows you to toggle between Fahrenheit (°F) and Celsius (°C) degree readings. A digital scale should allow you to measure in grams (g) and kilograms (kg). Also, most measuring cups have millimeters (ml) and liters (L) displayed.

Equipment & Supplies needed to aid in preparation:
Measuring cup with metric display of millilitres (ml)
Saucepan
Tongs
Fine mesh strainer
Colander
Large bowl
Food thermometer with Celsius temperature display (°C)
Digital scale with grams (g) display
Aluminum stock pot(s)
Saran wrap
Foil
Whisk
Spatula
Frying pan

Most of these items you will likely already have in your homes, so don’t worry!

I highly recommend using an aluminum stock pot for the soup stock versus stainless steel. Aluminum pots are less likely to scorch the cooking materials. For opaque, white tonkotsu broth, this is crucial.

OTHER HELPFUL TOOLS:
Cooking twine — to wrap the pork for chashu into a log shape
A tawashi — a natural scrubbing brush to aid in cleaning the pork bones
Fishing wire — allows for a clean, slicing-in-half of the ajitama

INGREDIENTS:
SOUP STOCK:

3L of water
Pork bones (2kg –1kg of neck bones, 1kg of pig feet)
1 bulb of garlic, sliced in half

CHASHU:
1kg Boneless pork shoulder butt/butt roast (do not use picnic shoulder)

CHASHU DRY BRINE This will be used as a pre-prep for braising
50g of brown sugar
50g of sea salt

CHASHU MARINADE —
This will be used as a pre-prep for braising
75ml of sake
350ml of water
15g of sliced ginger

CHASHU BRAISING SAUCE & AJITAMA MARINADE — After making the chashu pork, reserve 500ml of sauce to also use for marinating the ajitama.
1L of water
500ml of shoyu
50ml of mirin
50ml of sake
45g of brown sugar
10g of ginger slices
10g of garlic
1 green onion

AJITAMA BOIL: “Ajitama” are seasoned soft-boiled eggs
Up to 5 large eggs
2L of water
50ml rice vinegar (the acid helps breakdown shells to make peeling them easier)

DASHI STOCK: An “umami”-rich stock that helps to give the soup a signature Japanese taste
1L of water
15g of katsuobushi
30g of kombu
15g of gyofun (dried fish powder)
15g of niboshi, heads and guts removed
15g of shiitake mushrooms (reconstitute with water first, if dried)

SOUP TARE: “Tare”, as in a seasoning for the actual soup
30g of brown sugar
35g of sea salt
50ml of white shoyu
100ml of mirin
200ml of sake

ADDITIONAL TOPPINGS (All optional):
Green onions
Benishouga
Karashi takana
Menma
Aromatic scallion and lard oil

Day 1: Prep work (“THURSDAY”)

Rub the pork shoulder butt (which is the meat that is going to be used for the pork chashu ramen topping), with a dry brine of 50g of sea salt & 50g of brown sugar. Place it in a baggie, letting out as much air as possible, and then store it in the refrigerator overnight to 24 hours.

In another container, for the dashi stock, combine the ingredients shown below along with the 1L of water into a container and refrigerate overnight. (If you cannot find, nor wish to use gyofun, you may omit it from the stock. Just use 30g of niboshi only instead.)

Day 2: Prep work (“FRIDAY”)

Start the soup tare by first evaporating alcohol from the sake and mirin in a saucepan. To do this, bring the temperature of the sake and mirin to 80°C.

Then add in the brown sugar, salt, white shoyu, and then the refrigerated dashi stock from the day before into the saucepan.

Heat this soup tare and dashi mixture to 60°C (this is because by adding the dashi stock from the refrigerator, it will have lowered the temperature quite a bit), then remove the kombu.

Now that the kombu has been removed, turn the heat up to 80°C , cover and let it simmer for 30 min. After 30 min, turn off the heat and strain the mixture. Once it has cooled, place the tare (which now contains dashi stock) in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Taking the baggie containing the brown sugar and salt-covered shoulder butt from the day before, add in 75ml of sake, 15g of sliced ginger and 350ml of water to the baggie. Make sure to push out as much air as possible from the baggie, then seal it closed. Again, place it in the refrigerator overnight to 24 hours. The sake and ginger will help to remove any gamey odor from the pork and the sake will also tenderize it.

Take a large container or a pot, and place all of your neck bones and pig feet into it. Fill the container to at least right above the bones. Place this container in a refrigerator overnight to draw out the blood from the bones. This will make blanching the bones easier the next day because it’s the blood in them that is the cause of the scum that floats to the top of the water. 

Day 3: Making the soup stock, chashu, and ajitama (“SATURDAY” — this will be your busiest day!)

First, start by emptying the pot with the meat and now bloody-tinted water. Be careful not to let any of the bones fall out into the sink.

Now, you will blanche the bones. Fill an aluminum pot with fresh water to right above the bones. Add in all of the neck bones and pig feet.
Bring the water to a boil, and boil for 20 minutes, uncovered, while scooping out any scum that floats to the top. To be safe, hold a piece of folded paper towel with a pair of tongs to wipe the inside of the pot at the water line. If you do not do this, the scum along the waterline is only going to cook right back into your soup stock.
I prefer to use a “tawashi”, essentially a vegetable scrubber brush, to clean my bones. After the 20 minutes of boiling, strain the pot and wash from the bones of any coagulated blood and scum with cold water and a tawashi, or scrubber brush.
*Be sure to clean the pot before returning the bones to it!* (Though this time, I just simply grabbed a new pot lol)

Now, fill the pot with 3L of water. When bringing the pot to a boil, this time, there should not be any more grayish-brown foam at the top. Raise the water to a boil, and cover the pot. Afterwards, turn the temperature down to low-medium; just enough heat to maintain the rolling boil.

Check on the stock once every 2-3 hours and to be sure that the water level is the same as with what you started. If not, add more water until you fill it to your original water level. Boil for 12-15 hours total; after about 6 hours into cooking, add in the garlic bulb. Also, pick out any marrow from the pork bones, if it is exposed. This marrow will make the broth richer with flavor.

While the tonkotsu soup stock is cooking, take the pork shoulder butt, and rinse off the brown sugar, salt, sake, ginger and water mixture. Now, arrange it into a log shape by tightly wrapping it with cooking twine, then place it in the pot with the soup stock for 2 hours. After the 2 hours, take it out and wrap it in aluminum foil to keep it from drying out, then begin making the chashu sauce.

Make the chashu sauce for the shoulder butt that you just boiled for 2 hours. Start by combining the 500ml of shoyu, 50ml of mirin, 50ml of sake, 1L of water, 45g of sugar, 10g of ginger slices, 10g of garlic and 1 green onion into a pot or saucepan. (This may sound like a lot of sauce, but it can be reused for up to 6 months if you freeze it.)
Bring the chashu sauce to 95°C in a saucepan or pot, add in the chashu pork shoulder, cover the saucepan and then allow it to simmer for 60-90 minutes.

[Once it has finished cooking, remove the chashu and reserve about 500ml of the marinade for up to 5 eggs.]
Remove the chashu from the sauce and place it onto a colander. To seal in the savory flavor and to add a nice char to the outside, heat a pan to high heat and sear all surfaces of the chashu (even the sides). No oil is needed to sear it. Once evenly seared, allow it to cool by wrapping it in aluminum foil to prevent it from drying out. After it has cooled, wrap it in saran wrap and place the chashu in the refrigerator overnight. Be sure to only slice it *after* it has cooled overnight in the refrigerator. Slicing it while hot will cause moisture loss, and make slicing more difficult. Once sliced, store the slices in the refrigerator and tightly sealed in a container until ready to eat.

For the ajitama, I prefer to make the chashu first, then use some of the leftover sauce. If you wish to use the chashu sauce, be sure to strain it first. Prick the egg with a pushpin at the larger, rounded end, to prevent the eggs from cracking while they boil. Add in the 50ml of rice vinegar, bring to a boil, then boil the eggs for 6-7 minutes. However, for the first 60 seconds, gently stir the eggs clockwise, and counterclockwise, back and forth in the pot. This will center the yolk of the eggs. After the eggs have finished cooking, place them into an ice bath to stop cooking process. Marinate the eggs in the chashu sauce and store them in a container in the refrigerator overnight, up to 2 days. By placing a paper towel over the marinade, it keeps the eggs from floating up and helps the eggs to be more evenly marinated. Below is a picture of one egg, sliced in half that had been marinating for 24 hrs. When slicing them, it helps to use fishing wire for a cleaner cut.

VERY IMPORTANT: Now, this is the trick to further whitening and thickening the tonkotsu broth!…Once the stock is 1 hour from being completed, scoop out about 750g of the meat, fat, garlic, and some of the soup stock for easier blending; avoid picking out the tough bones! Place them in a blender on the “smoothie” or “grind” setting. Add the liquidy paste back into the soup stock and stir with a whisk until blended in.

After the 12-15 hours are completed, you can finally strain the tonkotsu stock into a container. Allow the broth to cool before placing in the refrigerator overnight. By cooling overnight, the flavors get more time to meld.

Day 4: Ramen Completion Day (“SUNDAY”)

The broth should be like the consistency of a super thick gravy once it has chilled.

BUILDING YOUR BOWL OF RAMEN: For any other toppings you that wish to use, have them already out and prepared. Once you start heating up the broth and boiling noodles, you must work carefully and quickly to assemble your bowl of ramen and to not let the noodles soak for too long in the hot broth. A bowl of ramen should be eaten within 5-10 minutes after it has been made and served.

• Slice in half one ajitama, then reheat some chashu slices by your method of choice: pan-searing, butane torch, etc.
• Bring to a boil 300ml of tonkotsu soup stock in one saucepan, and the water needed to boil your noodles in another pot.
• Add into your ramen bowl, 75 ml of tare.
• Boil your noodles. If you are using Hakata-style noodles, they should only take a few minutes to boil. However, be sure to follow the package instructions for best results.
• Add the soup stock to the bowl, and then add in your noodles.
• Quickly top your ramen bowl with chashu, ajitama, (green onions, menma, benishouga, karashi takara, lard oil, etc.)

ENJOY!! 🍜

“The Journey of Kimchi” a guest post by Y.H. Son

Eating authentic kim chi from my mother was one of those things I took it from granted as a youth, and when my mother passed away from cancer later part of my life, i’ve sincerely missed her home made Kim Chi.

Reflecting it now as a 40 year old man, I come to realize what i missed about kim chi was what I hated as a youth, which was time and effort to create a home made kim chi.

Now without mother’s cooking, or her vague knowledge of making kim chi in the past, it was like re-awaking memories of making home made kim chi process.

It was a sincere pleasure to make kim chi the last few weeks, and it does feel healthier making from scratch.

A good kim chi usually comes out refreshing, and it would have good crunch, but with proper fermentation it creates natural zest and tang with spice.

I would like to express gratitude towards those who have already paid and made reservations for Ramen and Kim Chi.

This journey to make a competitive ramen was fun and delightful, and we hope to meet you all soon.