Result: I was really happy with this attempt. It tasted fantastic, there was real depth of flavour and there were many layers of flavour. You could definitely tell it was a chicken base, but you could taste the smokiness of the bonito in there and the tare gave it that real body and umami. The one thing I wasn’t happy with was the noodles. I need to find better noodles. I have no desire to try making my own at this point.
The first 2 attempts I went with David Chang’s ramen 2.0 recipe. It’s definitely great, but it wasn’t chickeny enough for my liking. So this time I radically reduced the amount of mushroom powder and instead of chicken necks I went with chicken feet — far more skin and connective tissue equals more flavour. I also used the pressure cooker on half the chicken to extract more flavour. Part of my goal with this is to make cheap ramen — anyone can make an amazing bowl of ramen if they spend $50 on ingredients. The stock for this can stretch to 6 people, making quite a cheap meal. The chicken feet and carcass cost me all of $3. All up for 4 people I’d guess it’s about $20. Of course that will change depending on the quality of soy, mirin and sake you want to use.
Ingredients — Broth
1 kg chicken feet
1 chicken carcass
I large kombu leaf
Half handful of bonito flakes
3 large pinches of dried shiitake mushroom powder
Ends of 5 shallots (spring onions)
4 cloves of garlic
Put half of the chicken feet and carcass in an oven @ 220 degrees Celsius until brown (30 ish minutes)
Put other half of the chicken feet with a cup of water into a pressure cooker for 30 mins
Put 1 large sheet of kombu and 4 cloves of garlic into the pot and bring to a simmer
After 30 mins remove chicken feet from oven, set aside 4 for the tare, put the rest (including the juices/fat) into the pot with kombu. Transfer contents of chicken/liquid in pressure cooker into the pot.
After about an hour, remove kombu from pot and add leeks + shallots + mushroom powder. Keep at just under a simmer for a minimum of 4 hours. It takes at least a few hours for all the flavours to really come out — it will be a dominant kombu/mushroom flavour for the first couple of hours, the chicken flavour didn’t really come through strongly until 3+ hours.
Strain all ingredients out before serving.
Ingredients — Tare
1/2 cup mirin
1/2 cup dark soy
1/2 cup sake
Handful of bacon bits
Sear bacon bits and 4 chicken feet in pan until the fat is rendered out and bacon becomes crispy. Deglaze pot with sake, add mirin, soy and remainder of sake. Gently simmer for about an hour, then turn it right down to below a simmer for an hour. Don’t reduce it too much, it’s not meant to be syrupy or like a jus. Taste to make sure the flavours balance out.
Boil eggs for 5 minutes, transfer straight into ice water.
I roasted 2 chicken Maryland, but if making for 4 roast a whole chicken. Transfer all the pan drippings into a bowl and set aside.
Add half a ladle of tare into the bowl
Add 2 tablespoons of the pan drippings on top of the tare
Add 2 ladles of broth to bowl and stir all together
Add ramen, then top with diced shallots, chopped chicken with skin and halved egg.
The amount of soup was a tad too much. I’d go with 3/4 of each of the above measurements, maybe even half if it’s a small bowl and/or you’re a light eater.