So I’ve finally accomplished something huge… I HAVE MADE TONKOTSU RAMEN FROM SCRATCH, BITCHES!!!!
Honestly, it is one of the most rewarding dishes I have ever made. Tonkotsu ramen is the ever-so-popular pork-based ramen that you can find at any great ramen shop. The broth is made from a mixture of pork bones, chicken bones, and various caramelized aromatics and is simmered for an extended period of time (read: 12 hours). This is a heartstopping bowl of deliciousness. And probably one of my Top 10 things to eat, no, maybe Top 5. It’s that dreamy.
This is going to be part 1 one of making tonkotsu ramen since there is another variation/process to cook this. For this post, I went by way of Marc Matsumoto’s pressure cooker ramen.
The reason I went with this route instead of the more popular 10-12 hours simmer method was because I was honestly just short on time. And since I have enough bones and noodles to last me for another batch, I thought, “Hey, why not? I can do both”. And that is exactly what I am going to do. Going to specifically look for pig trotters next time. The batch of pork bones I used were hugely varietal and the chicken bones used were mainly neck and back — wing tips are preferred if you can find them. Hey, I got these from my butcher and they were free — still turned out pretty good.
I’m not going to lie and say this recipe was a walk in the park. There was a lot to do which strays far from my usual cooking technique (aka quick and easy). A good batch of tonkotsu broth requires a lot of time and attention. And good to note: much better the next day.
I really hope this doesn’t deter you from trying this out. The end product is definitely rewarding.
Tonkotsu ramen (adapted from No Recipes)
What you’ll need:
- 4 lbs organic pork bones (trotters preferred)
- 2 lbs organic chicken bones (wing tips preferred)
- 2 tsps vegetable oil
- 1 yellow onion, sliced
- 1 head of garlic, ends chopped off, head in-tact
- Salt, if needed
- Fresh ramen noodles
- Ajitsuke tamago, cha shu, menma, spinach, bean sprouts, nori, grated fresh garlic, green onions, corn
What you’ll need to do:
1. Fill a pressure cooker with water until it is 2/3 full. Bring this to a boil and add the bones. Blood and extra gunk should sputter out of the bones making the water very dirty. Keep the temperature on high for about 10-15 minutes.
2. In the meantime, in a separate medium saucepan, heat a bit of vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic and caramelize for about 10-15 minutes. Turn off heat and set aside.
3. Drain the bones and water and rinse thoroughly. Wash down the pot and scrub down the bones. Clean bones = clean broth. You don’t want any of that extra gunk in your broth. Washing and scrubbing should take about 10 minutes or so.
4. Return the bones to the now clean pressure cooker and fill with just enough water to cover the bones by an extra inch. Make sure there is, at most, 2/3 full or else your broth may overflow and cause too much pressure inside. Bring this to a boil. Fat and scum should be floating to the top — skim this off as much as you can. This process will take about 30 minutes or so.
5. Once you’ve skimmed as much fat off as possible, add the caramelized onions and garlic to the pot. Cover the pressure cooker and seal tightly. Cook this on high pressure (or medium, if it’s too scary) for 2 hours. Add salt at the end of the 2 hours if necessary.
6. Once the cooking time is over, let cool in the pot and let the pressure go down naturally. I let this cool in the pot for a few hours since I was at work but you can release the top safely after an hour.
7. Ladle the broth over fresh cooked ramen noodles and add desired toppings. Makes 4-6 servings.