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Unread 01-23-2013, 07:22 PM   #11
landarc
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Incidentally, ramen broths really come in 5 varieties, with variation within each style.

1. shio - literally salty kelp water
2. shoyu - salty kelp water with shoyu added
3. miso - salty kelpy water with miso added
4. fatty - salty kelpy water with pork fat added
5. tonkotsu - pork milk broth

Typically, ramen is composed of three elements, noodles and garnishes, dashi (broth) and tare (flavoring), each is added to the bowl to create the overall dish. The dashi and tare should complement, but, each of them brings it's own character. I prefer a thin dashi, a very thick tare and lots of garnish. The recipe I posted above is quite different from what I was brought up on, as the dashi is quite enhanced, which would not be typical. Now...

For a spicy ramen dashi, there are several ways to get there, but, I would recommend a miso dashi, with chile added to create a base heat. The miso dashi has a little richer flavor. Failing that, go with a fatty dashi, as the fat will help carry the heat. It all starts the same.

1. Take 8 quarts of water, bring to 150F, add sheet of konbu, turn off heat and let steep for 5 minutes. Add 2 to 3 ounces of katsuoboshi (shaved bonito) and cover again for 10 minutes. Strain through a fine colander. This is your basic dashi.

2. After straining, return to pot and bring to moderate boil, boil until reduced by 1/4 of total volume. This concentrates the flavor. Boiling the konbu or katsuoboshi solids add bitter and sour tones to the flavor. Dashi should be like fishy brackish water.

3a. Add equal parts of white and red miso, I prefer to start with 1 cup of each and adjust saltiness as needed. I use the two miso's, as it gives more depth of flavor. I also dose in a little sake, sugar and soy sauce (Japanese if possible) to adjust depth of flavor. You could add a couple of red Jalapeno or Fresno chiles at this point, generally I would not.

3b. For a fatty dashi, after the boil, reduce to a low flame and add 1/2 pound of bacon trimmings. Let sit at this temperature for 30 minutes to render the fat and smoke from the bacon. A good quality smokey bacon is best.

4. Either way, you now have a serviceable dashi for ramen. For the Tare, I like to take 2 cups of this dashi and make a tare.

5. For a real good tare, take 6 dried mushrooms (shiitake are fine, so are any other dried mushrooms, porcini work fine too) and soak in the hot dashi until mushrooms are soft. Remove and chop mushrooms. Filter the dashi through a fine sieve to remove sand. Add one strip of bacon and chopped mushrooms to the dashi, I like to add a little white scallion and garlic to this. Reduce by 2/3 to 3/4. You want a syrupy consistency.

6. Other things to add...charred onions, charred scallions, fish sauce, charred carrots, ginger, garlic...either to the broth or the tare. These add great depth and color to the dashi.

7. For heat, many places add the chile to the dashi, or use chile flakes or Sriracha to the broth when heating. I prefer a thing called Rayu, and it variations, which is a Japanese chile oil, usually includes garlic, charred scallion, sesame oil and chiles. The stuff I use is smooth and dark brown, and a few drops will really punch up a bowl. This is the proper way to add heat to ramen.
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