You’re probably familiar with the creamy, fat-laden deliciousness that is tonkotsu, the pork bone broth so popular as a base for Japanese ramen noodle soup. But do you know it’s slightly slimmer cousin, torikotsu? The chicken bone broth is also simmered for hours, but made from cooking chicken carcasses (and feet, too, if you can get your, er, hands on them) along with scallions and fresh ginger. Kombu, added to the stock to steep off the heat, provides another layer of savory depth.
Prepare the stock at least one day ahead, as you’ll need time to chill it overnight. The congealed fat is removed the next day and reserved, to be mixed back in with the tare and stock to finish the broth.
The base of torikotsu, paitan, or “white soup” (tonkotsu is also in this category) is flavored with tare, a mix of seasonings that gives the ramen bowl a more nuanced flavor. In this recipe, adapted from the book Let’s Make Ramen! A Comic Book Cookbook by chef Hugh Amano and illustrator Sarah Becan, we use a simple “shio” tare made up of salt, mirin, and rice wine vinegar. The simple mixture adds depth of flavor without changing the color of the milky broth.
This recipe makes enough shio tare for up to 10 servings; save leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 month. Measuring the ingredients by weight is recommended, as salts differ greatly in density and size.
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For the stock
- 5 lb. mixed chicken backs and feet, or 2 whole chicken carcasses
- 8 medium scallions, trimmed and halved cross-wise
- ½ lb. fresh ginger, unpeeled, cut into ¼-inch slices
- Two 8- by 4-inch sheets (about 1 oz.) dried kombu
For the shio tare
- 1 oz. (1 Tbsp. plus ¾ tsp.) fine sea salt
- 4 oz. (½ cup) mirin
- 1 oz. (2 Tbsp.) rice wine vinegar
Master Ramen Recipe
In a real ramen-ya, the final bowl comes together quickly, piping hot and laden with accompaniments. Before assembling the shio ramen, have all of your toppings—wok-fried veggies, grilled or braised meats, chopped scallions, pickled ginger, soft-cooked eggs, crispy-baked chicken skins, aromatic oils, etc—at the ready.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat.
- To a second large pot over medium heat, add 1½ cups stock and 2 tablespoons shio tare per serving. Turn the heat to low and maintain a simmer.
- Drop 5 ounces of fresh noodles per serving into the boiling water and cook for 2 minutes.
- Ladle 12 ounces of the hot broth into each bowl. Strain the noodles well and divide them between the bowls.
- Place any hot garnishes atop the noodles; add eggs, then add smaller toppings. Drizzle aromatic oils—chile oil, sesame oil, etc.—over the noodles, then nestle in any crispy ingredients, such as nori or crisped chicken skins. Sprinkle with shichimi togarashi (a blend of chiles, sesame seeds, and spices), or other seasonings, if desired.