Anyone who loves ramen knows the key ingredient is the soup base. Rich creamy and bursting with multe layers of flavour, restaurants create recipes over days of reducing stock, drawing everything out of pork and chicken bones, and adding various ingredients to which the dinner’s experience is a magical taste mystery.
Recreating a ramen of this standard is of course rather impossible for home cooks on lets say, a Wednesday evening. But through cravings and for the satisfaction that comes after polishing off a bowl of ramen, I have endeavoured to test out various cooking methods that produce a stock with a close enough match to favoured restaurant recipes, which can be made in under 2 hours.
You will be surprised at how much flavour can be obtained in your stock with this cooking method. Reducing the stock with an initial rapid boil is the most important part of creating this dish. Roasting the bones and using them as a base to the stock lends the all important oily cartilage element that is the foundation of a ramen dish and cannot be recreated though reducing instant stock alone.
Finally the small but significant amounts of butter, milk and sugar elevates the stock to the rich creamy indulgent flavour that makes a ramen so sumptuous and memorable. Any ramen loving home cook will love this recipe.
Roasted Chicken Ramen
2 chicken thighs
6 chicken wings
6 shallot onions
1 whole garlic bulb
Japanese togarashi spice
4 spring onions, chopped fine
2cm piece ginger, minced
2 cloves garlic
1 red chilli
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 red chilli, minced
1.5 litres chicken stock
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp butter
1/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp sugar
1 sheet nori seaweed
60ml soy sauce
1 cup cucumber, chopped into small pieces
2 spring onions, sliced thin
1/4 garlic clove minced
2 tsp chilli flakes, crushed with a pestle and mortar
2 tsp toasted sesame seeds
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
- Preheat Oven to 200C. Place chicken, shallots and garlic bulb on a roasting tin, drizzle with a little vegetable oil and sprinkle with salt and togarashi seasoning. Roast for 35 – 40 minutes (depending on your oven temperatures).
- Remove tray from oven and let cool. When chicken is ready to handle, carefully remove the meat in medium-sized pieces, cover to keep the heat in and set aside for later. Keep left over chicken skin and bones. Rough chop the shallots into large pieces, removing an unnecessary peel. Squeeze roasted garlic out of its casing. Keep aside.
- In a large pot fry garlic, ginger, chilli and spring onions gently for a minute. Now add the chopped shallots, garlic and chicken bones to the pot, and using a potato masher, lightly mash ingredients so they are broken up. This is to extract more flavour. Pour in 1 litre of light chicken stock. Bring to a rapid boil and boil uncovered until the liquid has been reduced to half. Once reduced add the remaining 500ml chicken stock, bring to boil then cover and turn to simmer for 20 minutes. The soup base should be rich and slightly thickened by the end of cooking.
- Seasoning sauce: Combine all ingredients in bowl.
- Shred nori seaweed into thin pieces.
- Cook noodles according to packet instructions. Drain and set aside.
- Boil eggs. Remove from shell and cut in half. Season with a little salt.
- In a small pan gently heat milk, sugar and butter until butter has just melted (do not let it simmer or boil). Immediately remove from heat. Add this mixture to your chicken soup base, stir and heat through for a minute.
- Remove soup base from heat and strain. Discard chicken and vegetables. Now strain the soup base for a second time in a fine sieve for a clean smooth consistency.
- Assemble soup. Add noodles to a bowl, pour over soup base. Top with chicken pieces, shredded nori, egg, seasoning sauce and a sprinkle of togarashi spice.