Rockin’ Ramen Recipe

tokyo ramen

This is Not Your College Chicken Ramen.

You need this in your culinary wheelhouse. Once you cook a fantastic ramen you become intimately familiar with the stock making process and you want this sexiness. It works. Ramen stock making is such an easy task yet it yields such a complex, delicious result. A really good ramen will make a grey day, a great day.

The Ridonkulously Rich Ramen Recipe

Now, I just want to preface this with a few more thoughts. Of all the ramen I have had in my life, and I have had hundreds maybe even a thousand, there is no perfect ramen nor is there a perfect recipe. There is also not one ramen to rule them all. Ramen is as varied as the human imagination. Believe in yourself.

Now having said that, there are some areas that all Japanese ramens share; a rich homemade stock, fresh chewy noodles, and some tasty toppings. My ramen recipe is the way I like it and seems to be a hit with others as well but again, there are countless other ramen recipes on the interwebz. I am not Japanese, but I can rock a ramen.

#1 Ramen Chicken Stock

  • 1lb. chicken feet
  • 3lb. chicken necks

Why this ratio? For me it’s a good balance between that deep chicken flavor from the delicate neck meat and the collagen from the chicken feet that makes this ramen stock glisten. Why the chicken feet? The collagen from the connective tissues and such are incredibly healthy for you. They are somewhat medicinal and something most people overlook. There is a reason a homemade chicken soup makes you feel so good. And you thought it was just a wives’ tale.

Let me stop here and simply show you how how collagen works out. You simply have to apply enough heat for a significant amount of  time to render the protein from the ligaments, tendons, etc. If you follow a method similar to this you are golden.

These are both chicken stocks. The stock on the left was a 8 hour stock. The stock on the right was a 12 hour stock. See the difference? There is a whole lot more gelatin / collagen on the right. That’s what I like for ramen.

chicken-stock

There should be enough collagen to make your lips slightly sticky (sometimes it feels oily). I don’t like a lot of fat. I just want a subtle sheen to the top of the stock.

Now that we have mastered the chicken stock I like to round out the flavor by mixing it with a homemade dashi.

The Marriage of Two Stocks

Experiment here, but what I found really works is a simple 3:1 mix of chicken to dashi. Taste a few different ratios by simply mixing a couple tablespoons in a bowl and try it out. At this point you should decide what type of seasoning you want as well. Generally you have miso, soy sauce or straight up sea salt. I like to base mine off of a light Tamari soy.

  • 1/3 cup Tamari soy sauce

If you want to really rock it, set up a little tasting station and figure out a taste that works for you.

The Noodle

Find fresh ramen. Find it. Buy it online, drive far and wide for it, but for the love of all things ramen, procure some fresh noodles.

Fresh ramen noodles are key to complimenting all your hard work. Why stop short with dried ramen noodles? Your experience will never be the same and whether you’re Japanese or not the noodle is a crucial part of this slurping experience. I tend to aim for the curly rather than the straight noodle. It’s a bit more fun and compliments this type of broth better.

Glorious toppings

This is where the color is added, this is where your eyes eat first. I always, always use scallions. I also love a little medley of roasted sea vegetables, roe, pickled carrot and lastly the quintessential Ajitsuke Tamago (Japanese egg).

  • 1lb. chicken feet
  • 3lb. chicken necks
  • 1 roasted white onion
  • 1 roasted thumb of ginger
  • 6 roasted garlic cloves
  • 3 long dried leaves of kelp (about 10-12inches long and 2 inches wide)
  • 5 dried anchovies
  • 1 liter of water
  • 1 package of bonito flakes (about a cup)
  • 1/3 cup Tamari soy sauce

Dashi

  • 3 long dried leaves of kelp (about 10-12inches long and 2 inches wide)
  • 5 dried anchovies
  • 1 liter of water
  • 1 package of bonito flakes (about a cup)

Simmer for 30 minutes.  

 

Cover chicken bones with water – about two inches above the chicken parts. Simmer for 2 hours. I don’t do a hard boil here since I am aiming for a clear, less heavy Tokyo-style ramen broth. While that is simmering skim the foam and oil away. Once it simmers clean put it in a slow cooker on high with the following ingredients:

  • 1 roasted white onion
  • 1 roasted thumb of ginger
  • 6 roasted garlic cloves

After 8 hours cool down and strain through a fine sieve. Discard all the aromatics and bones. You should have about 7 cups of chicken stock.

There you have it. Lock, stock and two smoking bowls. Once done with this recipe, you will be able to breeze through French consommés, Thai boat noodle soups, rustic Irish stews or even an authentic Indian mulligatawny soup.

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