Authentic Japanese Shoyu Ramen
Authentic Japanese Shoyu Ramen is topped with tender chashu pork and a perfectly soft boiled egg.
The first time I tried to make ramen it was all wrong. I used packaged noodles, store-bought chicken broth, and some kind of beef I can’t remember.
My husband tried to be nice about it but having had real authentic ramen in Japan, I could tell he didn’t like it. It became my mission to make the best bowl of ramen he had ever had! I failed several times after that, but with each try, I got a little closer. I got the noodles right, then I figured out the pork, the broth took me the most tries to get right. Finally, I have found success with this recipe! It is, to quote my husband, “perfect”.
What broth do you use for authentic Japanese ramen?
Shoyu is the broth most commonly used for ramen broth. It is a brown and clear colored broth with a soy sauce base. Other broths are shio, which is salt-based, and miso, fermented bean paste. Shio broth is a milky color and is the saltiest ramen broth. Miso is the darkest ramen broth.
For this recipe, I use pork neck bones to make the broth base. Pork neck bones can be found at your local butcher.
Soak the bones in water for 1 hour, which helps to get rid of impurities. While the bones soak, bring a large pot with enough water to cover the bones to a boil. Drain the bones and add them to the pot of boiling water, boil for 10 minutes. Drain and clean the bones and pot thoroughly. Put the bones back in the pot along with the garlic, leeks, chicken bouillon, and kombu. Cover with water and boil rapidly for 15 minutes. Reduce and simmer, covered, about 5 hours.
Drain the broth into a large container using a sieve. Discard the fragrances and pork. Store unused broth for 1 month in the freezer or 1 week in the refrigerator.
Make the seasoning
Combine soy sauce, sake, mirin, and crushed garlic and boil for 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
What type of meat do you use for ramen?
Authentic Japanese shoyu ramen uses rolled pork belly, also known as chashu. You can find pork belly at your local butcher shop. To roll the pork, start with the skin side down, and roll into a log. Tie the log at one end with kitchen twine, wrap the twine around and tie a knot, leaving about 2 inches of twine at one end. Bring the twine to the other end of the log and wrap around, again, and tie a knot. From there work your way back to the starting end, wrapping around as you go, alternate wrapping the twine over/under the straight line of twine.
To cook the chashu, heat oil in a medium saucepan, carefully add the pork and sear on all sides until nicely browned, about 10 minutes.
While the pork is being seared, combine the soy sauce, sake, sugar, green onions, and crushed garlic in a pot large enough to fit your rolled pork. Add the browned pork and boil for 10 minutes. Cover with a drop lid, and simmer on low for 2 hours, rotating the pork every 30 minutes. After 2 hours, remove from heat and allow to cool. Remove the kitchen twine, and thinly slice the chashu.
Authentic Japanese noodles:
You can find authentic Japanese ramen noodles at your local Asian market in the frozen section. The noodles cook quickly, boiled in water for about 1 minute.
Assemble the Ramen
Heat the bone broth in a small saucepan and add the seasoning slowly. Start with 2 tablespoons for every 1 cup of broth. Pour the shoyu broth over the cooked noodles and add the sliced chashu, soft boiled egg, green onion, and sesame seeds. Serve immediately.
Other optional ramen toppings:
- Dried seaweed
- Steamed cabbage
- Dried shitake mushrooms
Authentic Japanese Shoyu Ramen
For the Pork Bone Broth
- 3½-4 lbs. pork neck bones
- 1 leek
- 8 cloves garlic smashed
- 2 chicken bouillon cubes mashed
- 1 sheet kombu(dried kelp) rinsed
For the Rolled Chashu
- 1½ lbs. pork belly
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 cup sake
- ⅔ cup sugar
- 3 green onions
For the ramen
- 1 package Japanese ramen noodles
- 2 green onions chopped
For the pork bone broth
- Soak the neck bones 1 hour
- Drain and cover with water
- Bring to a boil and boil for 8 minutes
- Cut the leek in half and clean all layers well
- Drain the pork bones, clean the bones and pot well. Return to the pot with bones, leek, garlic, and kombu.
- Bring to a boil and boil rapidly for 15 minutes.
- Simmer, covered, 5 hours
- Drain the broth into a large container. Store any unused broth in the fridge for 1 week or can freeze for 1 month.
For the rolled chashu
- Roll the pork into a log starting with the skin side down. Tie one side of the log with kitchen twine, leaving 2 inches on one end.
- Move to the other end of the log and tie again with the twine. Wrap the twine around tightly, making your way back to the starting end and tie again.
- Heat oil in a medium pan. Add the tied pork and sear until nicely browned on all sides.
- Combine soy sauce, sake, sugar, garlic, and green onion in a medium pot. Add the seared pork to the pot and bring to a boil.
- Reduce to a simmer, cover with a drop lid. If you don't have one you can learn how to make one here https://www.justonecookbook.com/how-to-make-otoshi-buta/
- Simmer for 2 hours, turning pork every 30 minutes.
- Allow to cool slightly before slicing.