Miso ramen with garlic-roasted pork belly

My love for hot, fatty, bubbling broth goes way back. Boiling bone marrow in water for hours and then downing bowl after bowl of the liquid gold was a staple in our household growing up, so exploring different cultures’ version of the same fatty, rich broth was a natural next step.

Living a couple of hours outside New York City at the peak of ramen obsession, it wasn’t practical to jump in my car and drive into the city anytime a ramen craving hit (although that certainly happened, too). So, I set out to create my own. I hit up my nearest asian market and played with proportions until I reached a broth that could trick my craving into thinking I was downing the real thing.

Necessary disclaimer: This is far from the real, authentic thing. When I first got my hands on David Chang’s Momofuku cookbook and started studying ramen for real, I felt deep shame for my simple little recipe. But, when the craving hits on a chilly night — it sure does do the trick. Note that you can bypass the pork belly and substitute simple, fried bacon for an even easier and quicker go.

Miso ramen with garlic-roasted pork belly

Ingredients

    For the ramen
  • Chicken carcass & drippings OR
  • 6 cups vegetable broth (two 24 ounce cans)
  • 2 large tablespoons miso paste
  • 2 large teaspoons hot chili oil (or to taste)
  • 3 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
  • 14-oz can of baby corn
  • 1 bundle enoki mushrooms
  • 16-oz can sliced bamboo shoots
  • 1 package asian noodles
  • Fresh garlic, cilantro and ginger to taste
  • Bean sprouts for garnish
  • Soft-boiled eggs (1 per serving)
  • For the pork belly
  • Slab of pork belly (mine was a little less than a pound)
  • Soy sauce
  • Crushed garlic
  • Brown sugar
  • Vegetable oil
  • Baking soda

Instructions

  1. For the broth: Place carcass in a deep pot and cover with water. Add any scraps you'd like for flavoring: garlic, onion, spices etc. Bring pot to boil, then lower to a rapid simmer for at least 1 hour but preferably more, skimming fat from surface and occasionally replenishing water one cup at a time.
  2. Strain your broth, then return it to the pot and add miso paste, chili oil, rice wine vinegar, fresh ginger, garlic and cilantro. Give it a good stir and return to a boil and lower to simmer again.
  3. Add pork belly directly into the broth and let meat simmer for at least 20 minutes, but I let it go for 40. I’m a big believer in the longer you simmer shit, the more delicious it becomes.
  4. Preheat oven to 480 degrees. In a separate bowl, combine soy sauce, crushed garlic, brown sugar and vegetable oil in a dish and whisk together. Take the pork belly out of the broth and stab the fatty side with a knife like it did you wrong, then place the meat in a foil-lined baking dish that can handle high heat.
  5. Cover pork belly with soy marinade and then rub the skin generously with baking soda and sprinkle with salt. This makes it really crispy and delicious in the oven, because science. Place pork belly in the oven, skin-side up.
  6. While pork belly roasts, strain cilantro, garlic and ginger from your broth. Return to simmer. Toast baby corn and bamboo shoots in a pan with some chili oil, then add to broth.
  7. Once the pork belly is done to your liking (about 30 minutes), it's time for noodles! Cook according to package instructions in a separate pot -- the ones I purchased from the market took only 60 seconds.
  8. Assemble your ramen: Place noodles in a bowl along with sliced pork belly, ladle broth and vegetables overtop, garnish with fresh cilantro, bean sprouts and a soft-boiled egg.
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