My version of Ramen Broth is made from a combination of pork bones, chicken carcasses and bonito flakes. It takes few hours to make but it is not very difficult. It can also be made in the slow cooker or pressure cooker!
Today’s Ramen Broth recipe was developed in reply to one of the recipe requests from the readers of Nagi’s ‘Request A Recipe!’ post. The request, Tonkotsu Ramen, needs to start with making tonkotsu ramen soup stock.
Making tonkotsu ramen soup is an extremely time-consuming process, requiring the tonkotsu broth to be simmered for a minimum of 6-8 hours, preferably 14+ hours. So, I decided to start with posting a ramen broth that takes much less time to cook but still has a bit of tonkotsu flavour. It’s a kind of hybrid tonkotsu soup. Tonkotsu ramen soup will come later.
Real tonkotsu soup uses just pork leg bones. But I used chicken carcases and pork soup bones – the neck and back bones cut into smaller pieces. You will need about 1 kg/2.2lb of pork bones and 1-1.25kg/2.2-2.6lb of chicken carcasses to make 4-6 servings of soup.
The other ingredients are common ones – onion, ginger, garlic cloves, the green part of shallots/scallions. I also added bonito flakes towards the end to give additional umami to the soup stock.
Keys to A Good Ramen Broth
If you let the bones and the other ingredients simmer for a long time, you will be able to make a soup stock. But it’s not going to be a good and tasty broth because coagulated blood on the bones and other unwanted substances get mixed into the broth making it extremely cloudy and degrading the flavour.
The following are the 4 key points to remember when making a good ramen soup stock:
- Blanch the bones and clean them first before cooking the bones for a long time
- Remove the scum as much as possible while cooking
- Simmer gently
- Do not mix the bones vigorously while simmering.
Nagi asked me if this Ramen Broth could be made in slow cooker. I don’t have a slow cooker so I didn’t have an answer, although I could not see why not. So, Nagi offered to test it out. And it triggered me to test out making Ramen Broth using a pressure cooker, too.
Both method worked OK and I added the instructions in the recipe for Home-made Ramen Broth using a slow cooker as well as a pressure cooker.
Ramen Soup Flavouring
There are no seasonings added to the soup stock. When you taste it, you only taste the flavour of bones and vegetables.
If you have watched how the ramen shop makes a bowl of ramen, you probably know this but the ramen soup is made by mixing the flavouring base with the ramen soup stock.
This flavouring base is called ‘tare’ (タレ). Pronounce it as /tare/, not ‘/teː/’ or’ /teə/’. ‘Tare’ is actually a generic word for sauces that are made of two or more seasonings mixed together. The ramen flavouring base is hence called ‘rāmen no tare’ to be accurate, but when the context of discussion is clear people simply call it ‘tare’.
There are many different ‘tare’ and some unique flavours developed by Japanese ramen shops but all of them are based on the three common soup flavourings – salt flavour, soy sauce flavour and miso flavour.
Ramen with the soup made from these base flavourings are called ‘shio ramen’ (salt flavoured ramen), ‘shōyu ramen’ (soy sauce flavoured ramen) and ‘miso ramen’ (miso flavoured ramen). See my home-made base flavourings below.
Even in making these flavourings, there are many variations. Since the soup stock does not have flavouring, the ‘tare’ needs to be quite salty and often contain some kind of umami in it. The ramen shops make every effort to create ramen ‘tare’ that are packed with umami and some of them take many days to make.
Simplest Soy Sauce Flavour
I had been experimenting with the ‘tare’ recipes and I am now happy with three basic flavourings. The easiest of my three ‘tare’ is the soy sauce flavour and I have included short instructions to make shōyu ramen in today’s recipe.
My soy sauce flavouring is made with just konbu (kelp) infused soy sauce (konbu soy sauce) and mirin. Soy sauce has umami in itself but I thought adding konbu would boost the amount of umami. Simply add the Home-made Ramen Soup to the soy sauce flavouring base to make a shōyu ramen soup.
The method of making konbu soy sauce is in note 3 of the recipe below. I will post recipes for salt flavouring and miso flavouring in due course.
Today’s recipe is all about the ramen soup stock but I added short instructions to make shōyu ramen (soy sauce flavoured ramen) using this soup stock.
My Home-made Ramen Soup Stock is not as rich as tonkotsu soup stock. It is surprisingly light yet has full of flavour. I hope you try this.
PS: I added a new section ‘MEAL IDEAS’ below the recipe card. It gives you a list of dishes that I have already posted and the new recipe in this post that can make up a complete meal. I hope it is of help to you!
My version of Ramen Broth is made from a combination of pork bones, chicken carcasses and bonito flakes. It takes a few hours to make but it is not very difficult. You just have to be patient and pay attention to detail.
See note 8 for making Ramen Broth using a slow cooker or a pressure cooker.
I also added instructions for how to make a soy sauce flavouring base to make shōyu ramen (soy sauce flavoured) soup.
- 1-1.2kg/2.2-2.6lb chicken carcasses (about 3 carcasses in total)
- 1kg/2.2lb pork soup bones (note 1)
- 1 onion , peeled
- 3 shallots/scallions green part only
- 3cm/1¼” cube ginger , cut in half
- 2 cloves garlic
- 10g/0.4oz bonito flakes in a spice bag (note 2)
- 2 tbsp konbu soy sauce (note 3)
- 1½ tsp mirin
- salt to adjust flavour
- 400ml/13.5oz Rame Broth in this recipe , boiling hot
- 80-100g/2.8-3.5oz fresh thin egg noodles (note 4)
- 2 slices Yakibuta (Braised Pork)
- 1 boiled egg , halved
- 2 tbsp finley julienned shallots/scallions , curled in iced water
- 1 10cm x 10cm/4" x 4" nori (roasted seaweed sheet)
Bring 4L/8.5pt of water in a pot to a boil. Add chicken and pork bones and boil for 10 minutes. A lot of scum will surface.
Drain and wash the bones under running cold water one by one, removing coagulated blood, guts along the spine of the chicken and other brown dirty bits.
Add the cleaned bones, the rest of the Ramen Broth ingredients excluding bonito flakes to a large pot with 4L/8.5pt water, and bring it to a boil.
When scum surfaces, occasionally scoop it off gently using a ladle (note 5). Do not mix the broth with the ladle when removing the scum as it will cause the broth to become cloudy.
After removing the scum 4-5 times, turn down the heat to simmer gently.
While simmering, remove scum a few more times in the beginning if required.
Simmer for 2 hours with a lid on but allowing for slight ventilation. Then add a bag of bonito flakes. Simmer for a couple of minutes.
Turn the heat off. Put the broth through a sieve and collect only the liquid.
Makes about 1.6L/3.4pt of soup (note 6).
Place soy sauce and mirin in a serving bowl.
Boil water in a sauce pan and cook noodles and drain.
Add Ramen Broth to the bowl, mix. Taste test the soup and adjust with salt.
Add the noodles. Place topping of your choice and serve immediately.
1. My soup bones were back bones chopped into small pieces. If you have pork leg bones, that’s fine, too. Ask the butcher to chop them in half.
2. Spice bags are usually made with muslin. If you have a piece of muslin, you can wrap bonito flakes in the muslin and tie the edges to make a bag just like bouquet garnis.
At Japanese grocery stores, you can also buy a pack of disposable dashi stock bags in which you can stuff bonito flakes and seal (see the photo below).
Alternatively, you can use a store-bought bonito dashi pack as long as it does not contain anything other than bonito flakes.
3. How to make konbu soy sauce (4 servings):
Cut 10cm x 5cm/ 4” x 2” konbu into about a dozen small pieces.
Add the konbu pieces and 120ml/4.1oz soy sauce in a jar.
Leave it in the fridge overnight up to 1 week.
If you don't have konbu, just use the same amount of soy sauce.
You can use konbu soy sauce in pace of pouring soy sauce to the dishes, e.g. Cold Tofu, Spinach Ohitashi Salad, Boiled Okura with Bonito Flakes.
4. Time to cook noodles varies depending on the type of noodles as well as your preference. Follow the instructions on the pack as a guide line.
5. Instead of a ladle, you can use a flat sieve with fine mesh like this.
6. Depending on the diameter of the pot and the temperature of the cooktop, the amount of the soup stock varies.
If the water evaporated too fast, add boiling water to increase the quantity. If too much soup stock is remaining, cook further to reduce the quantity.
7. The topping of shōyu ramen is based on my recipe, Easy Japanese Rame Noodles. You can of course change toppings to your favourites.
8. Making Ramen Broth using a slow cooker:
- After step2, add bones and water to a slow cooker. You may not be able to add 4L/8.5pt of water if the slow cooker is not large. Add as much as possible and ensure that bones are submerged in the water. Nagi placed the pork bones inside the chicken carcass.
- Set the slow cooker to low for 10 hours (preferred) or high for 6 hours. Because the broth is cooked slowly at low temperature, there should be hardly any scum.
- Put the broth through a sieve and collect only the liquid into a large pot.
- Simmer for 15 minutes or so to reduce the liquid to 1.6L/3.4pt. If there is not enough amount of broth, add water to make it 1.6L/3.4pt.
- Add a bag of bonito flakes to the pot and simmer for a couple of minutes and remove the bonito flakes.
9. Making Ramen Broth using a pressure cooker:
- After step2, add bones and water to a pressure cooker. You may not be able to add 4L/8.5pt of water if the pressure cooker is not large. I could add 3L.
- Follow the steps 4 & 5, then put the lid on over high heat.
- Pressure cook for 80 minutes. Turn the heat off and leave until the steam is naturally subsided.
- Put the broth through a sieve and collect only the liquid into a pot.
- If the liquid is more than 1.6L/3.4pt, boil and reduce the quantity. If not enough amount of broth, add water.
- Add a bag of bonito flakes to the pot and simmer for a couple of minutes and remove the bonito flakes.
10. Ramen Broth can keep for a week or so in the fridge as long as it is brought to a boil every day and quickly cooled down, then place it in the fridge. You can also freeze the broth. It is more convenient to divide the broth into a serving size and freeze.