I spend my Saturdays with my cat. It’s broth day, my weekly ritual of spending eight hours distilling the essence of a chicken into a bowl. I love making broth for the rest of the week, so I’m free to pour myself a bowl whenever I feel chilly. While the broth simmers, I make noodles. It feels a little masochistic to make ramen noodles from scratch, pouring every ounce of my body weight to getting a noodle with the perfect bite. But that’s how broth day goes.
My cat’s always amused. I think he’s just happy I’m home. A typical day with us making noodles starts at dawn.
Burdock perfumes the room with chicken following closely behind. That’s when my cat emerges from his blanket fort, his ears and nose perked up. The little guy lets out a little roar as he stretches and joins me in the kitchen. I’m at my bench with flour up to my elbows making noodles. His nose twitches with curiosity as I give the thick bread flour a warm bath in lye water—just alkaline enough to turn the flour the signature yellow color ramen is famous for.
A shaggy dough appears. This is where that brief fleeting kitten-curiosity disappears. He loses interest and prowls the kitchen surveying the stock bubbling away. Both our bellies grumble, mine in anticipation for ramen—the springy noodle with a bite to match—and his for the boiled chicken I always make for him as a treat whenever I make my broth for the week. As I skim the broth, I shred some chicken for him. In an hour’s time, I stretch out a sheet of dough and make my noodles, dusting them with starch so I can spend the day playing with my cat. The broth simmers away, with little left for me to do but wait.
You don’t have to do any of this. You don’t have to work up a sweat mixing dough on your Saturday. You can just get your noodles at the market like every other sane person. However you get your noodles, use them to make this simple, hearty home-style chicken ramen. If you like earthier flavours, you could make yourself some hot soba soup. Broth is simple. Choose your base (mine’s chicken), choose your aromatics (get your ginger, garlic, and onions going on), and some root vegetables. A good broth is as simple as that. A great broth is just one you pour your heart in, and maybe laugh along with your kitten while it simmers away.