There are some things I would never make myself, because to do so would be ridiculous when I could just go get said thing from a local proprietor who would obviously be more skilled at said making than…me.
But over the years I have published posts explaining how exactly to make all of these things, because #content. And now we find ourselves in a situation where we actually kind of…have to. Make them. If we want to eat them.
Ramen is one of my all-time favorite comfort foods, and every time I move I make sure to hunt down the best local spot. There was this place in midtown NYC that I considered my personal little secret, and I’d walk the twenty blocks there and back just for a bowl on a chilly day. In San Jose, we frequented a no-reservations place that was so popular that the wait was often as much as two hours, if you didn’t know the trick (go an hour before opening, put your name on the list, then go get coffee until it’s time). I’ve yet to find my ramen haunt in SoCal, and it looks like it’ll be awhile before I can resume my search, so I decided: What the hell. I’ve got time. I’ll make my own!
This ramen – adapted from a recipe I found on The Kitchn – takes a lot of time.
It is worth it.
What You Need:
- 6 lbs chicken wings
- 4 medium carrots, cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
- 1 large bunch scallions, roots trimmed
- 10 cups water, divided
- 1 head garlic (skin on, roots removed), cut in half
- 1 2-inch piece ginger, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
- 2 ounces dried shiitake mushrooms
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1 package dried ramen noodles (discard the seasoning packet) per person
- 1-2 eggs per person
- Assorted toppings: Pickled bamboo shoots, dried seaweed, sesame oil, sliced roast pork, etc.
What You Do:
- The first thing you’re going to do is prepare the base for your broth. Roast the chicken wings in the oven at 425F for 30 minutes, then lower the heat to 375F, add the carrots and scallions, and roast an additional 20 minutes.
- Transfer chicken and vegetables to a large soup pot. Deglaze the roasting pan by placing it on a burner with high heat, pouring in 2 cups of water, and stirring until water comes to a boil and you’ve scraped up all the bits off the bottom of the pan. Pour the mixture into the soup pot along with the vegetables.
- Add the garlic, ginger, and remaining 8 cups of water to the pot. Bring to a low boil, add the soy sauce, then turn down the heat to a simmer and let cook for 3-4 hours (I ended up adding another 2 cups of water after 4 hours and letting it simmer for a total of 6, why not). Check it every so often to see if any fat needs to be skimmed off the surface.
- Strain out and discard the solids, and let the broth sit in the refrigerator overnight. (You can freeze the broth if you don’t want to use it within the next couple of days.)
- When you’re ready to make the ramen, put the broth in a saucepan and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer until the rest of the ingredients are ready.
- Bring a few cups of water to boil in a separate saucepan. Add the eggs, cover, and remove from heat. Let sit 4-6 minutes for a soft-boiled egg, then remove the eggs from the water with a slotted spoon, rinse under cool water, and set aside.
- In the same water you used to cook the eggs, cook the dried ramen noodles according to package directions (discarding the seasoning packets).
- Divide the broth into serving bowls, and add a halved soft-boiled egg and noodles to each. Top with whatever you like – a drizzle of sesame oil, chopped scallions, some dried seaweed, maybe some roast pork. I like making pickled bamboo shoots by putting canned bamboo shoots in a few tablespoons of white wine vinegar, then discarding the liquid before adding the bamboo shoots to the soup.