Tonight, we made ramen. Tonkotsu, to be exact.
The process takes about a day and a half, unless you're one of those people who always has some kind of stock on hand. Yesterday morning, I got the pork stock started.
I chose trotters for the initial stock b/c they have such great gelatinous quality. So much collagen. Maybe a more traditional French food guy like SField, Manton, or Matt would hate me for it, but I like to use them in stock.
In this initial stock goes pork trotters (not roasted), water, onion, garlic, leek, ginger peel, and konbu. I let this summer for about 10 hours to get a pretty good white pork stock.
It turns out pretty nicely.
Then, I let that cool and put it in the fridge. This morning, I roasted off pork shanks-- chose shanks because I wanted the really great flavor and didn't need to add a whole lot of body for the secondary stock.
The stock obviously needs skimmed the entire time it is going. After about 8 hours with the shanks, it has great body and great pork flavor. I start to turn it from a stock into a ramen broth by adding some green onion bottoms and more ginger peel, and at this point I begin to salt it.
That's basically it. Plate it with the noodles first, and then whatever you want with it. This time, I chose hard-boiled eggs, some japanese spice mix, green onion, pickled ginger, and a dot of sriracha. The dish needs a lot of work to become more visually appealing, but the flavor honestly just could not be any better.
Oh, and here's a shot of the ginger used for pickled ginger:
It is harvested young and still has an enzyme that reacts with oxygen during the pickling process, which is why it turns pink. Most places dye it pink with food coloring, but the stuff we made was all natural.
There you have it. It makes sense why someone like Alter wouldn't make it at home. It was about 20 hours worth of work, although most of that work is relatively easy, just spent skimming the stock. But when I'm somewhere that has good ramen, I wouldn't make it at home. It's so cheap and so good out. However, it is possible to make at home and this turned out really well.