At first, I thought that making ramen from scratch was just too time-consuming to do at home. But now I realize that it's not really all that difficult, and many elements (like the tare, broth, and meats) can be made in advanced. I think this would be a fun thing to make on a weekend when friends are coming over for dinner.
My ramen started with raw shiitake mushrooms & green onions, sliced and placed into the bottom of a large, wide serving bowl. I added chopped Asian greens (like bok choy), chunks of orange-braised pork belly, a roasted duck wing, an egg (Usually poached, but I added it raw. Next time, I'll either poach or just add the yolk, as the white never cooked and remained kind of snotty in the bowl. Eww.), and a couple tablespoons of tare seasoning.
The tare is made by roasting 1 pound of "bones from any tasty critter" until caramelized. Remove the bones and deglaze the pan with 1/2 cup of sake, then add 1/2 cup of mirin (a sweet cooking rice seasoning), and 1 cup of soy sauce. Simmer on low for 1 1/2 hours, strain & chill.
Once the noodles were cooked (recipe for homemade ramen noodles is below), I added them to the bowl then ladled in some homemade broth.
To make the broth, bring 5 quarts of water to a simmer. Turn off the heat and add 2 ounces of kombu (edible kelp) that's been rinsed. Let steep for 1 hour, then remove the kombu. Add 5 pounds of meat & bones (we used chicken backs, but you can use anything) and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and skim the white, frothy "scum" that comes to the top of the pot. Add the shiitakes & green onions and simmer very slowly for 5 hours. Strain.
And then I slurped to my heart's content.
Alkaline Ramen Noodles
3 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons sodium carbonate *
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup cold water
* To make sodium carbonate, spread baking soda on a sheet pan and cook in the oven at 250 degrees for 1 hour.
- In a medium bowl, dissolve the sodium carbonate in the warm water, then add the cold water. Add the flour and mix with a spoon to a crumbly dough.
- Turn onto a work surface and knead for a full 5 minutes. This dough is tough & the kneading with be strenuous, but keep with it for the full time.
- Wrap the dough in plastic and rest at room temperature for 20 minutes.
- Knead the dough for another full 5 minutes.
- Wrap the dough again and refrigerate for at least an hour (but not more than 2 days).
- Let the dough come to room temperature before rolling. Cut into smaller pieces and use a pasta roller to roll out the dough, passing it through the widest setting twice & each narrower setting once. Keep the noodles well-floured so that they don't stick.
- Cut the dough to the desired thickness (we used the spaghetti cutter on the pasta roller).
- Cook for 2 minutes in salted, boiling water. Serve immediately.