The stock for this famous Japanese noodle soup is made from pork bones, which are boiled for hours, breaking down the collagen, marrow and fat, unleashing a creamy, white liquid. Traditionally, the eggs are boiled in the stock; add in step 3 of the recipe with the flavourings if cooking this way. You can make the stock up to the end of step 1 a day ahead.
- 1.5 kg large pork bones, such as leg, halved (see Note)
- 1 pig’s trotter, halved (see Note)
- 1 chicken carcass, quartered
- 4 garlic cloves, bruised
- 4 cm piece ginger, sliced
- 1 leek, chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 2 tbsp Japanese soy sauce
- 2 tbsp cooking sake (see Note)
- 2 tbsp mirin
- 2 tsp white sugar
- 100 g white miso paste (see Note)
- 1 piece kombu (see Note)
- sesame oil, to taste
- 540 g ramen noodles, cooked
- 2 hard-boiled eggs, halved
- pickled bamboo shoots (see Note), torn nori sheets, black sesame seeds and sliced spring onions, to serve
Roasted pork loin
- 1 kg rindless, boneless pork loin
- 1 tbsp Japanese sesame oil (see Note)
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 tsp black sesame seeds
- 1 tbsp cooking sake
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Soaking time 1 hour
Soak pork and chicken bones in cold water for 1 hour. Rinse well and place in a large stockpot with 8 litres water and 1 tbsp salt. Bring to the boil, skimming dark scum from surface, leaving behind white scum; this should take about 30 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and cover. Boil for 5 hours or until liquid is milky, and has reduced by about three-quarters. Cool for 30 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve lined with muslin into a large pan and discard solids. (You should have about 2 litres; reduce further, if necessary.)
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 180°C. Rub pork with oil. Combine garlic, sesame seeds, some salt and white pepper, and rub over pork. Place on a wire rack set inside a roasting pan and fill pan with enough water to reach 2 cm up the sides. Add sake. Roast pork for 1 hour or until tender and cooked through. Remove from oven and rest for 20 minutes. Strain pan juices.
Add garlic, ginger, leek, carrot and white pepper to stock and bring to the boil. Add soy, sake, mirin, sugar, miso, 125 ml pan juices, kombu and a drizzle of sesame oil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove kombu, then cook for a further hour. Strain and discard solids.
Divide noodles among bowls. Slice pork and divide among bowls. Add half an egg, top with bamboo shoots, nori, sesame seeds and spring onions, then ladle over tonkotsu soup to serve.
Ask your butcher to cut the bones in half to expose the marrow. Order the pig’s trotters from your butcher.
Sake, miso paste, pickled bamboo shoots and Japanese sesame oil are available from Japanese food shops.
Kombu, from Asian food shops, are dried seaweed sheets. Wipe with a damp cloth before using to remove excess salt.
DRINK Coedo Beniaka Premium Lager, Japan ($7.50, 330 ml) or 2011 Carrick Pinot Gris, Central Otago, New Zealand ($30)
As seen in Feast magazine, Issue 10, pg58
Photography by John Laurie.