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Tonkotsu ramen recipe?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
I was wondering if anybody has ever made tonkotsu ramen which is a typical pork based ramen from Kyūshū in Japan?

I cannot find any decent recipes online. I would be very happy if anybody could point me in the right direction.
post #2 of 6
The thing about tonkotsu ramen is the broth, and you basically really don't want to know what it is. But I'll tell you anyway.

Get some meaty pork bones, preferably legs, necks, backbones, and so on. Cover very generously with lots and lots of cold water. Bring slowly up to a boil, skimming for the first 15-20 minutes, but not afterward. Add scallion, a hunk of ginger, and some peppercorns. Ready?

Turn the heat to full blast. Cover the pot. Boil as rapidly as you can for as long as you can, adding cold water if necessary. When it's cooked for a couple of hours like this, shut off the heat and let it cool a bit, then strain coarsely, then medium-fine to remove grit, then let cool on the countertop.

The result should be almost milky with emulsified fat and gelatin. Salt lightly, to taste.

Now make ramen the usual way, using this as your stock, and you've got basic tonkotsu ramen.
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thanks! I will visit my local butcher once I get myself a big stock pot. I will be in Fukuoka for Golden week, so I will try to hit as many ramen shop I can without getting myself sick.

Would you be using any soy sauce? I have visited a ramen shop where they offered shoyu-tonkotsu? Not a bad taste...

I have a bunch of books about ramen, but my Japanese is still too poor to read them. I can grasp the basic steps with pictures, but it's not perfect.
post #4 of 6
Oh yes, of course.

Ramen basically has four components: stock, seasoning, noodles, and garnish. You put them in the bowl in that order.

The seasoning mix is usually mostly soy, sometimes with miso, often some sesame oil. The base flavor changes significantly depending on the proportions and quantities, refracted by the stock. So shoyu-ramen is basically shoyu and a bit of oil with a very clear chicken-pork stock. Miso-ramen is mostly saikyo-miso, with a bit of shoyu and oil, and usually a straightforward pork stock. Tonkotsu ramen relies heavily on this weird stock (which the Chinese sometimes call "milk stock"), and it's usual to have the seasonings be relatively light, just there to give depth and bring the stock flavor forward.

If you're going to be in Fukuoka, just make sure that you pick ramen places where you can sit right up at the bar and watch them make it. Ask them what they're putting in the seasoning mix, too: normally they just splash about X much of this, Y of that, etc. into the ladle, then pour it onto the stock in the bowl. Add noodles, and then garnish.

Garnishes, well, after your visit to Fukuoka, you'll have better information than I. That gets very individual by shop: this place is big on just-done eggs, this place does pickled ginger, this place does a special thing with nori, and so on. Always order the shop's special tonkotsu ramen, by the way: you don't want standard, you want what they think is cool. The stock and seasonings and noodles probably won't change a whit -- it's all about the garnishes.

If you're planning to eat a lot of this, take it easy on the soup, okay? I want to hear what you learned before you have a heart attack. :p
post #5 of 6
Speaking of garnish, I like to mix spicy miso into the soup, and eat mentaiko on the side. Is it possible that an NJB from LA's westside has an "inner Korean?" Also, first helping of noodles -- regular broth (medium strength) plus spicy miso. Second helping -- residual broth, spicy miso, plus additional shoyu base (offered with the second helping at my local Shin Sen Gummi, the only decent ramen-ya in the SGV, which as luck would have it happens to be tonkotsu only).

At my favorite place on the westside, the imaginatively named "Ramen-Ya" on Olympic, between Barrington and the 405, plain shio ramen with the twisty noodles is their ichi-ban/oishi desu, thank you gazaymas.

Don't forget the gyoza.

This thread is making me very hungry,
post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
Yeah, Ramen-ya is not the most imaginative name for a ramen shop, there is a Ramen-ya in Montreal that opened before I left for Japan in July 2008.

I got my first introduction to ramen in Paris on rue Ste-Anne, the heart of the Japanese ghetto. My favorite Paris ramen-ya is called Higuma. I must have been there every week for almost 3 years!

Now, I live in Hiroshima prefecture and I have been hitting ramen-ya left and right.
Hiroshima is famous for Onomichi ramen which is a clear broth with chunks of lard flotting in it.

I found a decent tonkotsu spot in Kurashiki in the Okayama prefecture, the place is called TonTon. They have a ramen eater wall of fame. I tried to get my name on the wall and failed after the fifth second serving. To get on the wall you need to eat seven second serving for a total of 8 serving.

My favorite ramen-ya is a hole in the wall in Fukuyama, the young owner makes a great tonkotsu. I ask a japanese bartender for the best ramen shop in town and he sent me there.

There is a tiny ramen shop near my house that sells a simple shoyu-ramen with a bowl of garlic next to it. I just love pressing garlic into the broth.

There is another shop that started to sell Korean and ramen together. So you get a small bimbimbap and a ramen together, quite a good mix.

There is a real religious devotion to ramen in Japan. I watched the movie Tampopo a little while ago and I am slowly turning into a ramen freak. My goal is to learn to cook proper ramen in the japanese tradition.
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