I still haven’t cooked my way through the first third of the cookbook and I’m already returning to my favourite recipes. When I found out that one of Mike’s friends was a ramen addict, I knew that I had to make her my Momofuku ramen. Any reason to make ramen is a good one and I actually have one: she’s heading out on a month-long trip all over Asia. A night of beers and noodle goodness will be the perfect send-off.
This time around I’m doing things a little differently and I think the result is going to be mind-blowing. A quick run down of the differences: pork neck bones vs. economy pork bones, chicken drumsticks vs. chicken legs and breast, sliced supermarket bacon vs. slab bacon, broken down cooking time vs. continuous cooking time.
According to Chang, the best choice for meaty pork bones are hard-to-find neck bones. They were pretty hard to find too because the last time I went to T&T the only pork bones they had were “economy pork bones.” This time around there weren’t any economy pork bones. They didn’t have any bones out and were in the middle of cleaning their case.
I perused the empty case for a while, reading signs when I spied one for neck bones. Awesome! The butcher had to go to the back and open a new box for me (who knew that neck bones came in boxes?) When he pulled a 5lb piece out to show me I was a little taken aback. The neck bones were huge. “Uh, can you cut it up for me?” I asked. I was rewarded with a “No duh, little girl” look of contempt. Oh well!
He was a pretty helpful butcher, picking out a nice piece of boneless belly, a sizable chunk of pork shoulder and 4 pounds of chicken drumsticks. The recipe calls for 4 pounds of chicken legs, but the chicken legs were pricey and the drumsticks were cheap so I figured I’d sacrifice some thighs.
Another sacrifice I made was the slab bacon I used the first time I made ramen broth. The recipe doesn’t specify slab or sliced, just smoky bacon. As far as I can tell from the small photo, it looks like Noodle Bar uses slab bacon, but this time I went for sliced. It’s cheaper and it’s called “smoky bacon” so it’ll be an interesting substitution.
This time around there will be some experimenting with the cooking time. I could sit at home for 8 plus hours waiting for my ramen broth, but instead I’m going to boil it in batches over 2 days.
Will these changes yield the same broth as my last attempt? I hope I don’t end up with a watery, meaty mess!