Learning Kitchen: Ramen 100% from Scratch

There’s something really satisfying about making food from scratch, more so when the food you’re making is also a restaurant favorite. Magneto says the ramen we’ve been eating in restaurants this whole time pale in comparison to last night’s homemade five-protein ramen explosion – and, aside from my not boiling the soft-boiled eggs long enough, I think he’s right.

Start with the broth. If you do it like me, you’ll do it for two full 10-hour cycles in your slow-cooker. The pot will be filled with sake, low sodium soy sauce, dried kombu, chicken wings, chicken backs, a pork bone, onions, garlic, ginger, onion, and a little miso paste.

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While that’s going and you’re just about to overnight it, cover some pork belly in equal parts sugar and salt, some fresh black pepper, and some minced garlic if you’re feeling frisky. Cover and refrigerate, go to sleep.

Then, after brunch, work on the chashu pork. Take a pork belly, roll it up and tie it tight. Simmer together in a dutch oven low sodium soy sauce, mirin, sake, scallions, lots of ginger, some garlic, and a little water or salt-free chicken stock. Put the pork belly in, place the cover slightly ajar, and roast for about 4 hours in a 275F oven, rolling the pork a quarter every hour. Let cool, then wrap loosely and refrigerate. Jar up that sauce because it’s black gold, I promise.

Make noodles from scratch: flour, eggs, baking powder, warm water, and salt. Mix, knead, cover, rest for an hour. You should rest then, too. After an hour, separate dough into six or eight golf ball-sized balls and run through grinder with pasta attachment on standing mixer, or use pasta maker to make spaghetti-size noodles. I tried using a real pasta machine, and it didn’t cut through, so maybe go with the grinder like I did. Hang noodles until ready to cook.

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Get the cured pork belly going by scraping off a bunch of the salt/sugar stuff and roasting for an hour in a 475F oven. After that hour, turn oven to 275F and roast until tender but not mushy (about an hour per pound). Wrap tightly, put in fridge, slice into cubes or slices right before serving – toss into a hot pan for a few minutes on each side if you want extra crunch.

If you’re thinking pork is a good protein, but maybe you want something that’s a little more lean, take some of the leftover chashu pan drippings and heat in a nonstick pan. When it loosens up, add in about a pound of ground chicken and cook until done.

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Maybe you also want some tofu. Slice up extra firm tofu into whatever size and shape you like, and sauté in sesame oil, soy sauce, and white pepper. Yup.

Learn how to soft boil an egg. I messed it up, so I offer no advice on this.

Get broth boiling again, then cook noodles in it. Make bowls of ramen: noodles, broth, chashu pork, cured crispy pork belly, tofu. Egg and chicken on the side, or in the bowl.

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I think I have to make this twice a month now, or face a revolt from my partner in food. Oops!

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