Author Nancy Singleton Hachisu writes:
Tadaaki usually makes the ramen at our house, but I go for a simpler method and have slashed and burned his here. David Chang’s it is not, but we cannot all follow the Momofuku ramen method, so keep in mind the basic idea and experiment from there.
I like to make stock from the leftover bones of chickens I have roasted whole, stuffed with garden thyme branches and quartered lemons. Our chickens are so sublime that I add nothing but water along with the thyme sprigs and drippings off of the cutting board. I tried to cook the soup all night, but the gas alarm company called my mother-in-law in the middle of the night, and she crept upstairs to wake my husband. He has now nixed the overnight cook method. This deeply flavorful chicken soup makes an unforgettable ramen broth for homemade ramen (though not strictly orthodox). Also a dab of any reserved pan juices in each bowl adds extra complexity to the homemade ramen.
Cooks&Books&Recipes Featured Cook Sheri:
Browsing through Japanese Farm Food made me hungry to get to work in the kitchen. I settled on Ramen at Home (Teuchi Ramen) as the first recipe I wanted to try. It was probably not the way to ease myself into Japanese cooking, but I’m a fanatic for ramen and noodles in general, and I couldn’t wait to try my hand at this simplified version.
Ramen starts with the broth, which is at least as important as the noodles. I’ve had many bowls of ramen with good noodles, but a mediocre broth just brings it down. Hachisu starts with a chicken broth, rather than the traditional pork broth. For a home version of ramen, I was pleased that I didn’t have to make a pork broth. Chicken is flavorful and rich and is, I think, easier and less intimidating for the home cook.
The broth is made richer by browning chicken legs with vegetables first. From my local chicken purveyor, I could get only legs with the thigh attached, but the extra meat and bones didn’t hurt the recipe at all. The broth is really wonderful. This is going to be my go-to quick brown chicken broth from here on.
I’m practiced in making pasta at home, but in a pinch, I think good-quality ramen noodles from an Asian grocer would work fine in this recipe. Again, the ramen noodles aren’t quite traditional; ramen noodles are usually alkaline and probably take more effort than these, but I love the addition of sesame oil to the dough. The dough is initially quite sturdy. Hachisu suggests cutting the noodles by hand or running them through a pasta roller on the fettuccine setting. I tried to get fancy and put it through my extruder using the spaghetti plate, but my poor Kitchen Aid could barely handle the dense dough. The dough is also fairly delicate, so next time I’ll use a pasta roller.
Once the broth and noodles are made, all that’s left are the condiments. Again, I was ambitious and wanted to try everything in the recipe, so I made the Chile-Infused Sesame Oil (Rayu) and Yuzu Kosho, which is amazing. I want to put the Yuzu Kosho on everything. Just salt, chiles, and yuzu zest, it’s fragrant and spicy and nicely salty. It perfectly complements the ramen. I wasn’t able to find fresh yuzu, so I used a combination of Meyer lemon and lime zests instead.The oil is also delicious, with dried chiles, garlic, and a healthy dose of salt. I made a full recipe and am glad I did, because it’s been useful as a general condiment. (It is fantastic mixed with the tofu skin that I’m addicted to.)
Once all of the components of the soup are ready, it comes together in just a few minutes. The broth is blended with a bit of miso in the bowl, then in go the noodles. Add an egg, cooked to your preference (I like poached), and some greens to add a subtle bitter component. I added a healthy dose of Rayu and Yuzu Kosho. It doesn’t surpass my favorite restaurant ramen, but it is still delicious, homey, and comforting. I ate it for days afterward — it heats up very well.
Teuchi Ramen (Ramen at Home)
Featured Recipe From: Japanese Farm Food
Yield: Serves 4
- 2 small carrots, cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) lengths
- 2 small negi (Japanese leeks) or spring onions, cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) lengths
- 1 (¾-inch/2-cm) knob fresh ginger, peeled and finely sliced
- 4 free-range chicken thighs, bone-in (or 8 wings)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 tablespoons best-quality rapeseed or sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 2 cups (300 g) good-tasting all-purpose flour (page 10)
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 egg yolks, at room temperature
- 4 Half-Boiled Eggs (page 45)
- 1 small bunch boiled, squeezed, and chopped bitter greens (bok choy or komatsuna, page 365)
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped negi (Japanese leeks) or scallions
- 1 sheet nori, cut into eighths
- Rayu (Chile-Infused Sesame Oil), for serving (page 315, optional)
- Yuzu Kosho, for serving (page 316, optional)
- Soy sauce
- Sea salt
Start the ramen soup early in the day or at least several hours before dinner.
Heat the oven to 450°F (235°C). Put the carrots, negi, ginger, and chicken thighs in a cast-iron pan and sprinkle with the salt and oil. Smoosh the oil around to coat all the chicken and vegetables and roast for 30 to 45 minutes in the middle of the oven.
Scrape the roasted chicken and vegetables and all of the pan drippings into a large heavy pot with 4 quarts (4 liters) of cold water and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 1 hour.
Uncover, pull out 2 thighs, place in a medium-sized bowl, and ladle a bit of broth over to allow the meat to cool gently. Simmer the stock, uncovered, for 1 hour more. If you are in a hurry, use half the amount of water and cook in a pressure cooker. (In Japan, meat is usually not sold on the bone, so Tadaaki uses chicken wings. N.B.: Most ramen shops use pork bones as the base to their broth, though chicken bones and dried fish usually play some role as well.) After the chicken meat has cooled for a half hour, shred, moisten with a ladle of broth, and reserve. When the stock is done, strain into a clean saucepan and keep warm over low heat.
Prepare the ramen noodle dough by mixing 2 tablespoons of the sesame oil into the flour with your fingers until crumbly. Add the eggs and egg yolks and stir with your hand until just incorporated. Knead on a clean, flat surface for 5 minutes until pliable but stiff. Let the dough rest while you prepare the ramen toppings.
Fill the largest stockpot you own with hot water and bring to a boil over high heat.
Roll out the ramen noodles following the udon noodle method (page 134), but roll them a little thinner than the ⅛ inch (3 mm). Cut them on the linguine setting of a pasta machine (or by hand). Slice into 9-inch (22- cm) lengths with a pizza cutter, flour well, and toss to distribute the flour. Leave on the workspace, but do not clump into a mass.
Take out one large soup bowl per person and add seasoning to each bowl according to each person’s desire: 1 tablespoon miso, 2 teaspoons soy sauce, or ½ teaspoon salt. Mix a little broth in to melt the salt or emulsify the miso. Distribute the reserved shredded chicken pieces among the bowls along with the small amount of broth in which it was cooled.
Boil the noodles for 2 minutes and right before the noodles are done, add 2 or 3 ladlefuls of broth to the bowls. Set a large strainer in a bowl and after 2 minutes has elapsed, scoop the noodles out of the boiling water with a small fine-mesh strainer and drop into the large strainer. Divide the noodles among the bowls filled with soup and quickly add 2 egg halves, a dollop of greens, and a piece of nori before sprinkling liberally with the negi .
Serve immediately. If you are doubling (or tripling) the recipe, do not be tempted to cook more than 4 portions at a time. Continue cooking more noodles, but the first four people served should dive in, otherwise the noodles will inflate beyond control!
If added spice is desired, drizzle soy sauce or miso ramen with rayu and dab salt ramen with yuzu kosho.
Variations: You can also substitute semi-fresh ramen noodles (sometimes found at Japanese or Chinese grocery stores) or dried. Follow the directions on the package for cooking. They will not be as good.
© 2012 Nancy Singleton Hachisu
Reprinted with permission from Japanese Farm Food, by Nancy Singleton Hachisu (Andrews McMeel Publishing)