Source: National Pork Board
Although ramen has roots in Japan, its current popularity in the U.S. is spurring nontraditional variations by American chefs. At The Pearl, Chef Raynor’s version emphasizes authenticity. The pork broth and noodles are made from scratch, and the recipe is infused with typical Japanese ingredients, such as sake, mirin and kombu.
1 lb. gingerroot, split
6 yellow onions, cut in half
30 lb. pork neck bones, blanched
10 lb. chicken backs, roasted until dark brown
6 bunches scallions
6 heads garlic, tops cut off
1 qt. dry shiitake mushrooms
1/2 lb. kombu
1/4 oz. baking soda
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup cold water
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup rye flour
1 small pork belly, skin and ribs removed
2 cups sake
2 cups mirin
1 cup soy sauce
1 cup sugar
6 bunches scallions
6 garlic cloves
1 (4-in.) knob ginger, peeled and sliced
2 shallots, sliced
Splash white vinegar
Sake, sesame oil and sliced scallions, as needed
- Prepare Pork Broth: Caramelize ginger by placing it face down in a hot skillet. Blacken onions by placing face down in hot skillet.
- In large stockpot, combine ginger, onions, pork neck bones, roasted chicken backs, scallion bunches, garlic heads, shiitakes and kombu. Fill with cold water to cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 6 hours. Drain, chill and refrigerate.
- Meanwhile, prepare Ramen Noodles: Place baking soda on sheet pan; bake in 250°F oven for 1 hour. (This turns the sodium bicarbonate into sodium carbonate, an alkaline salt which gives the noodles their yellow color and springy texture.)
- Dissolve baked soda in warm water; combine with cold water. Place flours into bowl of mixer; stir to combine. Add water mixture to bowl. Mix dough for 12 minutes; remove and let rest 1 hour.
- Divide dough into 6 pieces; run each one through a pasta machine to form thin sheets, about the thickness of a quarter. With spaghetti attachment, run pasta sheets through machine, flouring the noodles as they come out. Set noodles aside on well-floured sheet tray. (Noodles can also be frozen until ready to use.)
- Prepare Pork Belly: Preheat oven to 275°F. Lay out pork belly on cutting board; season with salt. Roll up belly lengthwise, skin side facing out. With butcher’s twine, tightly tie belly at 1/2-inch intervals.
- Place belly in roasting pan. In saucepan, combine sake, mirin, soy sauce, sugar, scallions, garlic, ginger and shallots; bring to a boil. Pour mixture over pork belly; cover with foil and place in preheated oven. Cook 3 to 4 hours until tender.
- Place pan in refrigerator; let pork cool completely in braising liquid. When cool, slice pork about 1/4-inch thick.
- Prepare Eggs: In saucepan, combine eggs and vinegar with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil; remove from heat. Cover and let stand 5 minutes. Cool eggs and peel.
- To plate, bring pork broth to a boil over high heat. Meanwhile, cook noodles in boiling water 2 minutes. Drizzle 2 slices pork belly with sake; reheat in 200°F oven. Reheat egg 1 minute.
- Arrange noodles in soup bowl. Cut 1 reheated egg in half and place over noodles; add pork belly slices. Pour hot broth around ingredients in bowl. Drizzle with sesame oil and garnish with sliced scallions.