Make a tasty broth with an unmistakable umami flavor for your shoyu chicken ramen. Boil chicken with leeks, ginger and dried shiitake. Then, stir in dashi.
Yes, it takes a little effort to make the broth. Yes, you will need basic Japanese ingredients. Naturally. This is a Japanese noodle soup so you want it to have Japanese flavors.
No, this isn’t tonkontsu ramen with the milky broth. This is shoyu ramen — the broth is clear, as it should be, and amber-colored because of the addition of soy sauce. If that confuses you, I suggest reading A Guide To Ramen Broth: Shio, Shoyu, Miso and Tonkotsu first.
The broth is the most important component of ramen. Without a good broth, you’re just eating a generic bowl of noodle soup.
You may use a whole chicken to make chicken broth but, for me, the best part for making chicken broth is chicken neck. Plenty of chicken necks. They can be bought by weight in my part of the world. If you can’t get them, the next best thing is the bony back of the chicken. You want a part of the bird with plenty of bones. Ergo, the worst part of the chicken for making broth is the breast.
Place the chicken in a pot and cover with water. Prepare a sieve and a bowl next to the pot.
Set the heat to medium. Use the strainer to skim off scum as it rises. Do this before the liquid comes to a full boil. By that time, the scum will boil into the liquid and it will be impossible to separate it.
Scum is not poisonous, it doesn’t have an awful taste, so do you really have to bother? If you want a clear broth rather than a cloudy one, skim off the scum.
Dump the scum in the prepared bowl and repeat the process until the liquid is clear. The process takes about 10 minutes. Practice will teach you when to stop. When you’ve done this process over and over, you’ll be able to tell the difference between scum and rendered fat.
That’s scum on the left photo above.
That’s not scum you see on right photo above. That’s the fat from the chicken skin starting to be rendered into the cooking liquid.
When the liquid is clear, add the aromatics. A couple of slices of ginger, leeks and two dried shiitake mushrooms.
Why dried shiitake? For the flavor. Fresh shiitake has wonderful texture but not as much flavor. Dried shiitake has concentrated flavors and you want all of that to go into the broth.
Simmer everything together for about 40 minutes.
If you want chicken meat in your bowl of ramen, drop in chicken fillets into the broth to allow them to poach during the last 10 minutes of cooking.
Save the shiitake and slice the caps. They make a wonderful addition to ramen.
Strain the broth and stir in a packet of dashi. Dashi is salty. That’s why I didn’t add salt to the broth earlier. Between the salty dashi and the soy sauce you will add later, the broth will be perfectly seasoned.
Now, you just assemble your ramen.
Pour in a tablespoon of soy sauce into a bowl and ladle in hot broth. Drop in the prepared noodles, arrange the chicken and mushrooms around them and garnish with sliced scallions.
Shoyu Chicken Ramen
- 500 grams chicken soup bones necks or backs, or a combination of the two
- 2 stalks leeks
- 1 one-inch knob ginger sliced
- 2 large shiitake dried and not previously rehydrated
- 3 chicken thigh fillets
- 1 packet dashi
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- enough ramen noodles for three people prepared according to package directions
- sliced scallions to garnish
Place the chicken soup bones in a pot. Cover with six cups of water. Set the stove to medium.
Skim off scum as it rises. Repeat until the liquid is clear.
Add the leeks, ginger and shiitake to the pot. Cover and simmer for 40 minutes.
During the last 10 minutes of cooking, drop in the chicken fillets to allow them to poach in the broth.
Fish out the chicken fillets and mushrooms.
Strain and broth and pour back into the pot.
Empty the packet of dashi into the broth and stir.
Slice the chicken fillets and shiitake caps.
Pour a tablespoon of soy sauce into each of three individual bowls.
Ladle in broth until the bowls are half full.
Divide the noodles into three portions and drop a portion into each bowl.
Arrange the sliced shiitake and chicken around the noodles.
Drop in the sliced scallions at the center.
Serve the shoyu chicken ramen at once.