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Pork Belly Ramen

Macheesmo Recipe by

Pork Belly Ramen

A rich and flavorful ramen soup base with roasted pork belly slices.

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  • Prep Time 30 min
  • Total Time 2 hr 0 min
  • Servings 4

Japanese Pork Belly Ramen Soup  

As prepared by Macheesmo


As a home cook, there are some things that you just have to come to terms with.


For me, one of those things is that I probably won’t ever be able to make the perfect bowl of ramen.

A perfect bowl of ramen might not even exist. But if it does, it takes decades to get right and definitely doesn’t come in the tiny plastic packet that most Americans think of when they think of ramen.

After coming to terms with that though, it becomes very doable to make a really good bowl of ramen.  If you’re new to Asian cooking, there might be some strange ingredients in this preparation, but you should be able to find all of them at any Asian market or even most Asian sections of supermarkets these days. In other words, there’s no excuse!

For my pork belly ramen, I make a rich soup base that only takes about 90 minutes – as opposed to the days and days it can take for restaurants to make their ramen bases. In the base is a bunch of fun add-ins, but most importantly I tossed in a few thin slices of rich roasted pork belly.

Let’s start with the pork belly. For this version, I roasted mine, but I also direct you to my fellow blogger Dan’s method of cooking pork belly. It looks awesome and you could just as easily use it for this dish.

 

Pork belly cut

If you do want to roast it though, just slice some thin cuts into the fat portion of the pork belly. This will help some of the fat render out of the belly as it roasts. Try not to cut too deep down into the belly.

 

Ready to roast

Then rub the pork belly with some sesame oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

 

This pork belly will need to roast for at least 60 minutes, but to be honest you can’t really over cook it. The longer you cook it, the crispier and more delicious it will get. I roasted mine for 60 minutes, but you could roast it for 90 minutes without a problem.

 

Pork belly sliced

Eventually, when you are ready to make your ramen bowls, you want to slice the pork belly as thin as you can since it’s so rich.

 

Stock ingredients

Now for maybe the more intimidating part: the soup base. As you can see, there are some ingredients that are not common in American kitchens.

The big sticks that you see are kombu, basically seaweed. They add a nice deep savory flavor to the stock. The dried black things are black fungus. You can use any dried mushroom though. Bonito flakes are a Japanese staple. They are basically dried fish that they smoke and slice into very thin flakes. Again, they add a rich savory flavor to the stock.

 

Base in the pot

Don’t add the bonito flakes in right away, but otherwise toss everything into the pot.

 

Adding bonito

Cover it with chicken stock and water and bring to a simmer. Simmer the stock for about thirty minutes and then you can add the bonito flakes.

 

The flakes are so thin that they will basically dissolve in the broth. Let the broth simmer for another minute or two and then kill the heat, cover the broth, and let it steep for ten minutes.

 

Straining stock

Next, strain the stock through a mesh sieve to remove all the ingredients. That should leave you with a relatively clean broth.

 

After your broth is strained, return it to the stove and bring it back to a simmer, uncovered. Season the broth with soy sauce and rice wine vinegar and then let it reduce by about a quarter. That will take another 15-20 minutes of boiling.

 

Mushrooms and spinach

Now everything is coming together. I made a few other add-ins that are great in the ramen bowls. I sautéed some shiitake mushrooms and spinach with a drizzle of oil until they were wilted. That takes just a few minutes.

 

Noodles cooking

Then you need to cook the noodles. There are a million different noodle options and use can use almost all of them. For my money, I prefer udon noodles. Just cook them according to the package right before you’re ready to serve.

 

Completed pork belly ramen, ready to eat

Now you’re ready to make a bowl!  Divide the noodles between a few bowls, top with the spinach and mushrooms, add in a few thin slices of pork belly, and ladle in the ramen base. Then top with scallions and sesame seeds and you’re ready to roll!

 

Is this the best bowl of ramen in the entire world? Absolutely not. But it’s tasty, beats a plane ticket to New York or Japan, and you can realistically make it in a few hours!

More Ramen Recipe Ideas



 




Nick hopes people learn that pork belly is for more than bacon! Be sure to check out his blog, Macheesmo, and follow him on his Tablespoon Profile.
See Recipe

Pork Belly Ramen

Ingredients

1
Pound Pork Belly
2
Tablespoons sesame oil
1
Teaspoon kosher salt
1
Teaspoon black pepper
RAMEN
BASE
3
Pieces Kombu
1
Ounce Dried Mushrooms
4
Cloves garlic
3
Inches fresh ginger
4
Dried bird chiles (optional)
2
Quarts chicken stock
2
Cups water
2/3
Cups bonito flakes
2
Tablespoons soy sauce
1
Tablespoon rice wine vinegar
ADD
INS
12
Ounces udon noodles, cooked
5
Ounces baby spinach
12
Ounces shiitake mushrooms
4
Scallions sliced thin
Sesame
seeds, garnish

Directions

  • 1 For pork belly, preheat oven to 425 F. Cut narrow slits in pork belly, cutting through fat, but not into meat. Make a grid of about 1/2 inch cuts.
  • 2 Rub pork belly with sesame oil, salt, and pepper.
  • 3 Bake pork belly piece for about an hour until skin is very crispy and belly is cooked through.
  • 4 For soup base, add kombu, dried mushrooms, chile peppers, garlic, and ginger, to a large pot. Cover with chicken stock and water and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes, covered.
  • 5 Add in bonito flakes and simmer for another few minutes. Then kill the heat, keep covered, and let sit for 10 minutes.
  • 6 Drain stock through a wire mesh sieve to remove ingredients. Return clean broth to a large pot and bring to a rapid boil. Season with soy sauce and rice wine vinegar. Let the stock simmer until it reduces by about a quarter, about 15-20 minutes.
  • 7 In a large skillet, add a drizzle of neutral oil over medium heat. Then add shiitake mushrooms and cook until they soften, about five minutes. Add spinach and continue to cook until spinach is wilted. Then turn heat down to low and keep warm until needed.
  • 8 When ready to make a bowl, remove pork belly from oven. As an added bonus, you can add a few tablespoons of the rendered pork belly fat to the soup base. A little bit of fat will help round out the flavors.
  • 9 Slice pork belly very thin.
  • 10 Cook udon noodles according to package. Then divide noodles evenly between four bowls. Split spinach and mushrooms between the bowls. Add a few slices of pork belly to each bowl (it's very rich), then ladle in your stock to cover the noodles. Garnish with fresh scallions and sesame seeds.
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