Tonkotsu Ramen with Pork Belly Chashu: Even though it takes a while to prepare everything from scratch, nothing beats the satisfaction of sitting down for a family meal of home-made MSG-free Japanese Chashu Ramen in a collagen-rich pork bone broth.
I went to Japan with a friend to attend her son’s graduation ceremony in 2015. He brought us to a very famous Ramen Shop in Osaka which is just opposite the hotel we stayed. It was superbly good that no word can describe the soup which is rich in taste and so thick that it makes you just want to slurp every last drop of the yummy broth. It was one of the most satisfying meals we had in Japan during this trip.
As usual, whenever I taste something really good, I will always try to cook it for my family. Since I could not ‘tau pau’ home, I try to replicate, having registered the texture and the taste in my memory. More reason for me so to whip up this dish because one of my Japanese friends personally hand-carry freshly made Ramen and Soba for me from Tokyo.
If you want to make this dish from scratch, make sure you prepare the Tonkotsu Pork Bone Ramen Broth in advance, which you can store in the freezer until you are ready to cook this dish. But if you can’t afford the time, then you can also use the ready made pork bone broth concentrate that come with the packets of fresh Ramen from Japanese supermarket. I prefer to make my own stock where possible, because I am allergic to MSG as I had mentioned previously.
For the Ramen Eggs (Japanese Soft Boiled Eggs), its best to prepare them the night before if possible to allow the flavours of the sauces to really penetrate the egg. Make sure you are using eggs which are about a week old, as the fresh eggs can be really difficult to peel cleanly after cooking. The eggs are very delicate, so be sure to peel carefully! To cut the eggs, you can either use nylon thread / fishing line to neatly slice the egg into two.
Hope you enjoy this recipe, and please leave me a comment below if you have any questions, suggestions or feedback for me!
Suggested Modifications for Special Diets
- Child-Friendly: No modifications needed.
- Egg-Free: Skip the Ramen eggs
- Fish-Free: No modifications needed.
- Gluten-Free: No modifications needed.
- Nut-Free: No modifications needed.
- Shellfish-Free: No modifications needed.
Japanese Tonkotsu Ramen with Pork Belly Chashu
Even though it takes a while to prepare everything from scratch, nothing beats the satisfaction of sitting down for a family meal of home-made MSG-free Chashu Ramen
For Japanese Pork Belly Chashu
- 1 kg Pork Belly
- 1 1/2 tsp Salt
- 2 inch length Ginger
- 2 Leeks
- 1 Green Onion
- 3 cups Water
- 1/2 cup Sake
- 1/2 cup Shoyu (Japanese Soya Sauce)
- 6 tbsp Sugar
For Tonkotsu Ramen
- 4 litres Pork Bone Soup Base Recipe link below
- 8 Japanese soft boiled eggs Recipe link below
- 20-30 Black Cloud Fungus Depending on the size
- 2 stalks Spring onion
- 200 g Bean Sprouts (Tow Gay) (Optional)
- 1 roll Japanese fish cake (small) (Optional)
PREPARATION FOR JAPANESE PORK BELLY CHASHU (15 mins)
Clean the pork belly by rubbing all over with coarse salt to remove dirt, then wash thoroughly.
Pat dry and sprinkle 1 1/2 tsp fine salt on the pork belly on both sides
- Remove the skin of the ginger and slice the ginger
- Cut the leeks into 1 1/2" lengthwise
Then, cut the green onion into big chunks.
COOKING METHOD FOR PORK BELLY CHASHU (4 1/2 hrs)
Heat up the skillet and place the pork belly skin down on a pan for about 10-15 mins till brown
Turn the pork over for another 5 mins. and turn off the heat. The skin should be nicely browned.
Place the pork belly skin down in the pan. Add the 3 cups of water, leek, ginger and onion and cook for a few minutes over medium heat.
Next add in the sugar, light soya and then the sake, and bring to a boil.
Once boiling, transfer the pork mixture into a pot. Lower the heat and cover the pot, then let it slowly simmer for about 4 hrs, turning the pork occasionally. By the time the pork belly is done, the water should have dried up and you should be able to see the bottom of the pot.
Remove the pork belly onto a plate and cut into slices, but not too thin nor too thick
PREPARATION FOR TONKOTSU RAMEN (30 mins, to be prepared while Chashu is simmering)
Prepare the ramen eggs using this Japanese Soft-Boiled Egg recipe. (Tip: You can also prepare this one day before for a more intense flavour). Once the ramen eggs are done, cut the ramen eggs into half.
Take out and defrost the pre-prepared Tonkotsu Pork Bone Broth (see recipe here). If you prefer, you can also use the ready-made versions that come with the Ramen packets.
Soak the black fungus in a bowl of cold tap water for 30 mins. Then wash and cut it into thin strips.
Wash the spring onion and cut into small pieces.
(Optional) Pluck the bean sprouts at both ends.
(Optional) Cut the fish cake into thin slices and set aside.
COOKING METHOD FOR TONKOTSU RAMEN (15 min)
(Optional) Put the bean sprouts in a pot of cold tap water and boil. Once the water is boiling, leave it there for another 2-3 mins. Quickly remove and drain off the water. Run it under the tap for a minute to stop the cooking process. Remove and place in a bowl and set aside.
In a big pot, bring the pork bone broth to a boil.
- In another big pot bring the water to a boil. Once boiling put the fresh ramen into the boiling water and cook for about 5 mins. Once cooked, place the cooked ramen into a bowl.
- When ready to serve, pour the pork broth onto the noodle.
Garnish the noodles with the black fungus, ramen egg, chashu, spring onion bean sprout (optional) and fish cake (optional), and serve hot.
- Remember that the most important part of the Ramen is the pork bone broth. Even though the pork bone broth needs to be prepared a day in advance, it is well worth the effort to take this extra step.
- You can buy fresh ramen with pre-packed pork bone broth concentrate from Japanese supermarkets like Meidi-Ya.
- The cooking time for the ramen depend on how you want to be done. I prefer the ramen texture to be more bouncy. For softer texture, you will need to cook it a little longer than recommended in my recipe.
- For the beansprouts, you can save time by plucking off just the head and not the roots of the beansprouts if you are not too fussy about it.
- Its best to prepare the eggs the night before so that they have more time to sit into the sauce.
- The Chashu can also be prepared in advanced and stored in the freezer, which will come in handy for a quick ramen meal for busy days.