Tare (tare –a)
This is a flavoring agent, used sparingly, to add both salt and umami to the broth.
3 chicken backs
1 cup sake (use the cheap stuff, drink the good stuff
1 cup mirin
2 cups light Japanese soy sauce (usukuchi)
Chop the chicken backs into 2” chunks, then pace into a sauté pan, and roast at 450 F. Roast until deeply colored, turning several times to brown all surfaces. This should take roughly an hour.
Transfer the pan with the bones to the stovetop over medium heat. Add the sake, and deglaze the pan, taking care to scrape all brown deposits from the bottom of the pan. Transfer to a deeper pot, and add the miring and sake. Be sure to scrape all of the browned goodness from the sauté pan to the pot!
Bring to a boil, then reduce to a very slow simmer. Cook for about an hour, then strain. Season lightly with pepper, and allow to cool completely. Transfer to a tightly covered storage container, and freeze until needed. The mixture will not solidify because of the high salt content.
I buy my ramen noodles from Tokyo Fish Company in Berkeley. The brand they carry is wonderful, and making them is a pain. I have made them, though. The one nice thing about making your own dough is that you can freeze it then defrost and roll whenever you feel moved to have ramen. Here is the recipe I used from the Momofuku cookbook:
800 gr. Bread flour
300 gr. Cold water
7 gr. sodium carbonate
.75 gr. Potassium carbonate
Combine all dry ingredients in the work bowl of a stand mixer, and mix with the hook to distribute evenly. Add the water and mix until the dough begins to come together. In my case, I needed to add almost an extra 100 grams of cold water to make a dough that could be kneaded. Maybe a typo in the book…
After that, it was just like rolling any pasta. After making the dough into a ball, wrapping in plastic wrap, and refrigerating for an hour, you cut a thin slice from the dough ball.
Start rolling on the thickest setting, and fold in half and start over when you get to half of the max thickness to make the dough smooth out and fill the width of the rollers.
The other thing that I did differently than the cookbook was the thickness. My pasta roller can roll the dough almost paper thin, so I stopped when I got to about 1/16” – like the noodles that I buy.
Remember to dust the dough with flour as you are rolling, and dust the noodles well after they come out of the cutter. You might not need the dusting as much if you can somehow make the dough with the amount of water called for, but for me, adding the water was the way to go.
You can probably cut the noodles to length, then make little 5 oz. bunches and store them overnight, but I roll and cook them right away.
The last thing I make is the slow-cooked eggs, or onsen tamago. Onsen is the name for hot springs, and tamago for egg. Using an immersion circulator in a water bath set to 63 C.
I process eggs from the girls out back for one hour. This is the last thing that I add to the ramen. At last, it’s time to serve forth.
Unpack the charsiu from its cryovac package, and combine with the broth in a suitable pot.
Cover and bring to a simmer. Simmer long enough for the charsiu to become completely through.
Open a can of sliced bamboo shoots, and drain the liquid. Rinse well, then drain and transfer to a small pot. I add a splash of toasted sesame oil and a little light soy sauce. Cover and place over low heat. Heat through completely.
Slice your onions; I usually grab a bunch of Tokyo green onions when I’m buying the noodles. They have thicker green tops than scallion and, well they just feel more authentic. Slice thinly.
Unpack and fluff the noodles. I always shake off as much of the loose flour as I can to avoid thickening the cooking water.
Drop into a rapidly boiling pot of salted water, and cook until there is just a little snap left.
Meanwhile, untie and slice the pork belly.
Drain well, then divide into warm bowls.
Add 1 Tablespoon of tare and 1 teaspoon of the reserved pork fat to each bowl, then ladle 12 oz. of hot broth over the noodles.
Garnish with the negi (Tokyo green onions,) seasoned bamboo shoots, sliced pork belly, and crack the slow-cooked egg.
Serve to those that you LOVE!!!