I have for some time now been captivated by street food and with this comes an obsession with Ramen. Ramen for the uninitiated is the Japanese art of combining noodles with a delicious broth and a whole range of other ingredients.
I have recently been experimenting with creating my own Ramen building blocks and have found that with a little care and attention, the secrets of a good Ramen are available to everyone.
The most important part of a good Ramen is of course, the broth. I don't like the oily broths that some people display in their posts so read on to find out how to make a good flavoured broth. There are of course links to other Ramen ingredients for you to try at home.
The most common type of broth is a chicken broth which can easily be made from left over chicken bones and meat after you have removed the breast meat etc. for other uses (this should be un-cooked). Other broths can be made from dried Shitake mushrooms, dried Bonito flakes or kelp (seaweed).
This simple to make chicken broth will lift your Ramen dishes with the Umami flavour so characteristic of good Ramen dishes. The secret is in the length of time the chicken is cooked in order to extract and intensify the flavour. I found it difficult to buy sake nearby so I substituted dry sherry instead.
Chop the chicken carcase into about 6 - 8 pieces and run under cold water to clean. Place in a pan and pour boiling water over it. Let it sit in the boiling water for about a minute and then pour off and discard the water.
Slice the ginger into thin slices, cut the spring onions into 2 inch pieces and peel the garlic clove. Place a wide bladed knife or cleaver over the ginger, garlic and spring onion pieces, carefully hit the knife with the palm of your hand to crush them. Coarsely chop the onion.
Add all the ingredients to the chicken and cover with water. Bring to the boil and then cover and turn down to a gentle simmer. Occasionally skim off any scum that may form on the top.
Simmer very gently for three hours, checking the water level and adding a little more if necessary. Line a sieve with some kitchen paper and strain the broth through it. Discard the chicken pieces and return the broth to the pan. Simmer, covered, for about another two hours to reduce it to about 1 litre of broth. If the broth is still a little oily, strain it again and once cooled slightly lay a piece of kitchen towel on top.
The broth is now ready to use or can be stored in the fridge for up to five days. It can also be frozen in small batches for future use.
This broth can be used with your choice of noodles and other ingredients such as Chashu Pork, marinated eggs or left over chicken.