Mr Hong Cookup

TONKOTSU RAMEN

One of my good friends Zac bought me Dan Hong’s new cookbook “Mr Hong” for Christmas last year in which I was a quite excited as I had seen bits and pieces of Dan Hong’s recipes in magazines which looked epic. Upon flicking through the pages one recipe in particular sprung out at me and that was a two-day Ramen recipe. I am a huge fan of Ramen  so it had to be the first recipe to try out of my new cookbook and what better excuse that to have a cook up with my bud Mr Matt Power. Lastly, of course we had to do this the right way and go to our favorite butcher Torre … this place blows me away every time!

 P.S sorry Zac, I couldn’t wait – I will definitely be making this again when you are back in town though

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INGREDIENTS

Ramen Stock
– 3kg Pork Bones
– 2 Pork Trotters
(Cut Lengthways)
– 1 Boiler Chicken
– 20g Shiitake Mushrooms
(Tied in a Muslin Bag)
– 250g Pork Back Fat*
(Cut into 2cm Cubes)
– 1 Brown Onion, Roughly Diced
– ½ Bunch of Spring Onion
(Scallions)
Ramen Dashi
– 25g Dried Kombu*
– 15g Dried Anchovies*
– 20g Bonito Flakes*

Dashi Tare
– 15g Dried Kombu*
– 180ml White Soy Sauce*
– 125ml Soy Sauce
– 125ml Mirin*
– 100g salt

The Rest
– ½ Bunch of Spring Onion
(Sliced into Thin Rounds)
– 3 Tbsp Sesame Seeds
– 2 Pkts of Ramen noodles*
– 250g Thin Pork Belly Slices*
– 4 Eggs

(*) Bought from either your
local butcher or Asian cuisine
specialty store


METHOD

Place the pork bones, trotters and boiler chicken into a very large stockpot. Fill with cold water and bring to the boil. As soon as the water reaches a rolling boil, Take the pot off the heat and drain everything into a sink. Wash everything really well under running water. Remove any grey coagulated blood and white protein from the crevices and be on the look out for dirt between the toes of thew trotters. Wash out the inside of the boiler chicken as well. This step is very important because it will mean the difference between a brownish dirty stock and a beautiful milky one.

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Clean the pot you just used very well and return the pork bones, trotters and boiler chicken, add the bag of shiitake mushrooms and cover with fresh water. turn the heat to high and bring to the boil. As soon as this happens skim off any scum that rises to the surface. Turn the heat down to a medium and simmer away. This will help any fat to emulsify with the stock. Once you have done that put both the Ramen Dashi and Tare Dashi kombu in separate bowls each with 3L of water, cover and then put in the fridge to soak.

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After 5 hours remove the boiler chicken and the shiitake mushrooms. Keep the stock bubbling along taking notice of the water level. If it becomes too low, top it up with boiling water. At the 8 hour mark, add the pork back fat to the stock. Reduce the heat so that it’s not boiling but simmering enough to melt the pork fat. At the 9 hour mark add the onion and scallions of spring onion then turn the heat up to medium-high.

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Also at the 8 hour mark you will need to start the Ramen Dashi and Dashi Tare. First the Ramen Dashi, Pour the contents into a large saucepan and on medium heat and bring to a simmer. Once bubbling remove the kombu and add the dried anchovies. Turn the heat down to a gentle simmer and cook for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the benito flakes. Once they have sunk to the bottom strain the solids into a large enough bowl and set them aside as you will need them for the Dashi Tare.

Next the Dashi Tare.  Pour the contents into a large saucepan and on medium heat and bring to a simmer. Once bubbling add the reserved contents from the Ramen Dashi, turn the heat down to a gentle simmer and cook for 30 minutes. Strain into a large bowl and discard the solids. Whisk in the soy sauce, mirin and salt. This will be the seasoning soy for your Ramen.

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It should be close to the 10 hour mark now and the bones should be calcified (meaning that they should be brittle). Remove a few from the stock to a large wooden chopping board and bash them with either a big wooden spoon or a solid wooden rolling-pin so that they break up. Return back to the stock. Lastly, strain the stock into a large bowl through a fine sieve, removing all the meat and bones. Lastly you want to have the pot of stock on the bench alongside the Ramen Dashi and the Dashi Tare. This will be completely to your liking so add one ladle full at a time. The Dashi (which adds umami, diluting the thick gelatinous pork stock) and the Tare which is the seasoning for the Ramen Broth.

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 To serve, bring a large pot of water to the boil. Place the eggs in and cook for 4 minutes then add the noodles. In Dan Hong’s cookbook there is a recipe for making noodles but because we turned this into a 1 day recipe we used store-bought ones instead. Cook the noodles until al dente around 2-3 minutes. Drain the noodles and remove and de-shell the eggs. Place the noodles into large serving bowels and top with a few slices of pork belly as many as you like. Ladle in the broth and place 2 slices of egg, some spring onion and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Then sit back relax and enjoy your meal!

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 FULL CREDIT to Dan Hong and his cookbook “Mr Hong” This is an adaptation and we reduced the cooking time of 1 day.

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