Any good bowl of ramen starts off with a tasty broth and homemade is the best! Home made broth takes a bit of time but it’s pretty easy. You start out with bones and the combination of pork and chicken bones is good for flavour. The bones are boiled once, the initial water is discarded and the bones are then rinsed and scrubbed to remove the blood and bits which makes for a broth that is lighter, less cloudy, and has a cleaner taste. Onions, garlic and ginger are another common addition and charring them first adds an extra depth of flavour to the broth. You could leave things there and make a tasty broth but I like to add mushrooms, seaweed and bacon for even more layers of flavour and that umami kick. Everything needs to simmer for a long time, about 10-16 hours, to extract all of the flavour that you can before the solids are strained from the broth. Because the broth takes so long to simmer it can be done overnight and it’s a good idea to make it a day or two ahead of time. Once the broth has been strained you can skim the fat off the top and use it right away or you can chill it in the fridge where the fat will form a solid layer on top of the broth that you can more easily remove. A good broth will be gelatinous after chilling in the fridge and it will melt easily back into a tasty liquid when reheated on the stove. This broth is perfect for tonkotsu (pork) ramen and many other soups!
Tonkotsu Ramen Broth
A full bodied homemade pork broth with plenty of amazing aromas and flavour!
- 3 pounds pork bones
- 1 pound chicken bones (or backs or feet)
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 large onion, quartered
- 8 cloves garlic
- 2 inch piece ginger, sliced
- 2 leeks, halved
- 1 teaspoon white peppercorns
- 4 ounces bacon (optional)
- 4 dried or fresh shiitake mushrooms (optional)
- 6 inch piece konbu (dried seaweed) (optional)
- Place the pork and chicken bones in a large stock pot, cover in water, bring to a boil, remove from heat, drain, rinse, and scrub the bones clean.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, add the onion quarters, cloves of garlic and slices of ginger and lightly char on all sides.
- Place the cleaned bones back in the large stock pot along with the charred vegetables and the remaining ingredients, except the konbu, top with 2 inches of water, and bring to a rolling boil, skimming off any scum before reducing the heat to simmer,
covered, for 12-16 hours.
- 5 minutes before ending the simmer, add the konbu and let it simmer for 5 minutes.
- Strain and discard the solids with a fine mesh strainer, optionally also straining with a cheesecloth to remove the finer particles from the broth.
- Either skim the fat off the top with a ladle or chill in the fridge overnight and then remove the fat that solidifies on top of the broth before reheating it.