Pork belly ramen is the latest creation from my kitchen. Ramen is also a dish I could cook every day and always come up with something different. But what exactly is ramen?
Ramen is a thick Japanese soup made of noodles and an aromatic stock with different toppings: sliced meat, boiled eggs, nori, spring onions, herbs etc. What makes a ramen ramen are noodles and a stock which traditionally can be made from meat (pork, chicken, beef) or fish. Toppings are optional. Of course, today you can find vegan stocks made from vegetables and mushrooms, which provide that umami flavor. There are four major types of Japanese ramen, decided by base flavor: shio (salt-based ramen), shoyu (soy sauce-based ramen), miso (soybean paste-flavored ramen), and tonkotsu (pork bone broth ramen).
I guess you’ve met with ramen before, if nothing else then with dried instant version of it. Instant ramen is a dish that fed generations of students due to its price and preparing method (pouring over with hot water). It was invented by Momofuku Ando in the late 50s as a way to fight against lack of food in the post-war Japan. Although today ramen is the most popular Japanese dish, it was created in the beginning of 20th century.
What make ramen special is its stock. I tried, probably all of them, in my lifetime and my favorite by far is pork ramen. It has that particular depth of flavor and carries the saltiness of soy sauce perfectly.
Ramen recipes can be super long with a list of quirky ingredients, but I tried to make it with easily accessible ones so I created this pork belly ramen. Recipe that follow requires some of your time, but not a lot of active work.
Pork belly ramen
- 400 g boned pork belly
- 1 tsp 5spice
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil
- 200 g pork bones
- 400 ml water
- 50 g spring onions
- 50 g ginger
- 1 large yellow onion
- 8 cloves of garlic
- 1 fresh red chili skip if you don't want heat
- roast pork bones
- 120-150 ml light soy sauce if using regular soy sauce try 80-110 ml
- 1 tsp 5spice
- handful (10 g) coriander leaves
- 2 l water
- 1/2 tbsp (7,5 ml) white vine vinegar
- 2 eggs
- 150 g noodles
- pork belly
- spring onions
- coriander leaves
- sesame oil
- Score the pork belly (skin side) into a diamond shape.
- Mix together the 5spice, salt and oil and rub the meat.
- Fry in a non stick pan, skin side down for 5 minutes over medium high heat. Flip and fry for 3 more minutes.
- In the meantime bring water to a boil.
- Cover a deep roasting pan with some aluminum foil, place the bones and meat on top and pour over with water. Roast for 50 minutes in an oven preheated to 170°C.
- Take the meat out and let it cool slightly, then transfer to a fridge.
- Place the roasted bones in a deep pot, and the cooking liquid if any left. Add the coarsely chopped spring onion, sliced ginger (no need to peel), peeled whole garlic cloves, sliced onion, coarsely chopped chili, soy sauce, 5spice and coriander leaves. Pour over with water, cover with a lid and bring to a boil on a high heat.
- When it starts to boil, reduce the heat to medium high and cook for 1 h.
- Then uncover, add the vinegar and cook uncovered on a gentle simmer for 45 more minutes.
- Drain the stock, taste and add some more soy sauce if necessary and return to lowest heat for 15 more minutes.
- While the stock is cooking for the last 15 minutes, heat up some water in a small pot and when it starts boiling add the eggs, reduce to a simmer and cook for 7 minutes until medium soft boiled egg. If you want runny egg, cook for 5 minutes.
- Take the meat out of the fridge, slice and add to the simmering stock. Cook for 5 minutes. Take the meat out and add the noodles in the stock. Cook according to instructions (3-5 minutes).
- To assemble the ramen bowl first place the noodles in a deep, wide bowl. Add the pork belly slices and pour over with couple of ladles of stock. Place the egg on top and cut in half and sprinkle with some finely chopped spring onions and coriander leaves. Drizzle with sesame oil.
The ideal amount of soy sauce form me is 130 ml, but I put between 120-150 ml, depending on your salt preference. If the stock reduces too much, add a bit of water to it. You should end up with 1-1,5 l of stock. You can add topping of your choice: some sauteed mushrooms, crunchy fresh veg with a splash of rice vine vinegar or some nori sheet. Make a customized ramen bowl just for you.
They say the louder you slurp, the bigger compliment it is.