While it seems like an easy dish to make, it actually takes a lot of different components that require a lot of slow cooking. I will detail each component. The great thing is that each component can be used individually or in different dishes.
First up is the broth, maybe the most important component of ramen. I like tonkatsu broth because it is rich and has lots of complexity. That also means it’s probably the hardest broth to prepare. To give that complexity, the tonkatsu broth I make is made of two different broths – a dashi broth and a pork bone broth.
I’ll start with the dashi because it’s best to make at least a day ahead. I like to make a bacon dashi to give that thick, richness in tonkatsu broth. The key ingredient is bacon – don’t skimp. Not to be a snob, but the better quality bacon, the better dashi it will make. If the bacon is smoked and cured poorly, I guarantee you will taste it in the broth.
Rinse the konbu under cold water. Place the konbu and 6 cups of water in a large covered pot. Bring the water to a boil and turn off the burner. Let it stand for 10 mins, then remove the konbu and discard. Add the bacon to the pot and bring it to a boil. Once the the pot is boiling, reduce to a simmer for 1 hour partially covered. After the hour is up, remove the bacon and transfer the liquid to container through a filter to get rid of as many fragments as possible. It should make about 4 cups of dashi. Add water to get it back to 4 cups depending on taste. Let it cool then refrigerate overnight. The next day, use a spoon to remove the top layer of fat and discard. The dashi is not ready to use in your tonkatsu broth or any other application. Bacon dashi is great to have on hand and add to your other soups for an extra layer of flavor.
Makes about 4 cups of bacon dashi
Next up is the main tonkatsu broth made with pork bones. The primary ingredient here is obviously pork bones. For simplicity, this recipe uses chicken broth, but you can easily grab a chicken carcass and throw it in the pot instead. Just omit the chicken broth and turn that into water.
In a large pot, fill it with just enough water to dunk the pork bones under. Bring the pot of water to a boil, then add the pork for about 30 seconds to par boil the bones. Remove quickly and rinse with cold water. Rub off the brown debris , then place the bones back into the pot along with 16 cups of water. Bring the pot of water and bones to a boil, then reduce to barely simmering for 2 hours partially covered. Add the chicken broth and keep it at barely simmering for another 2 hours. Next, remove the bones and filter the broth. Much like the bacon dashi, this broth can be stored and used as additional layering in other soups. When you’re ready to use it for ramen, add the bacon dashi and bring it to boil. Once boiling, the broth is ready to serve.