Homemade ramen with sous vide pork belly.

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  1. I didn’t really use a recipe for this, but here’s about what I did:

    Sous-vide pork belly, with some salt and garlic powder in the bag. 160 F for 24-36 hrs. You want about 1/4 lb per person. Reserve the liquid from the bag.

    The broth is arguably the most important part so it’s worth spending most of your effort on it. To make broth: make a rich pork stock using fatty trimmings from pork (and pork bones if you have them) — brown both of these first — with some onion and carrot. Simmer this for a good long time, at least 2 hours, up to about 6 if you’re using big bones. You want to use a less-gentle simmer than you would for normal stock, since you’re trying to emulsify fat into the broth. So you may need to add more water from time to time.

    Once your stock is done, fish out and reserve the bits of browned pork trimmings and any usable meat off the bones. Fish out and discard the veggies and the bones themselves. Add water or reduce, if needed, to wind up with about a pint of broth per person. Add the reserved sous vide liquid, which has good pork flavor and gelatin from the pork belly. Add commercial dashi powder, amount depending on how good your stock is (that is, not the full dose the package calls for). Add some bonito flakes too, and a piece of kombu (seaweed). If your broth is thin you can bloom & add some unflavored gelatin. Simmer this for another 1/2 hour or so, strain it, and reserve the softened kombu. Do not skim the fat off this broth at any point. The pork fat is a key to the flavor of the dish. Taste, and season with soy sauce and/or salt if needed.

    Medium-cook some eggs, half an egg per person. You want something between soft-boiled (“3-minute eggs”) and hard-boiled. Ideally the white is fully cooked and the yolk still a little runny.

    Cut up your veggies. I ran broccoli stem, carrot, white stem parts of bok choy, and red cabbage through the 1/8″ setting on a mandoline, then sliced them into rough planks. I rolled up and shredded the green parts of bok choy. Cut the reserved kombu into little strips, or crumble some nori. Wash & drain mung bean sprouts.

    Cook your noodles. If you can find fresh ramen noodles (not the cheap dried ramen packages) use them. But here I cooked regular old spaghetti in water with 1 Tbsp of baking soda per quart of water, which worked well enough.

    Re-fry the reserved pork fat bits to make them crispy. Slice and briefly fry the pork belly in the same pan to get a little color. Take a little of your broth and deglaze that pan.

    Bring your broth to a rolling boil to get it good and hot and re-emulsify any fat on the surface. Put the noodles into bowls and pour the hot broth over top. Arrange your toppings in little piles nestled into the noodles, pushing the veggies except the bean sprouts into the broth to cook a little.

    Serve and enjoy!

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