Ramen is a hybrid Chinese noodle dish presented in a Japanese way, and there are many regional variations featuring local specialties. This is a legendary Tokyo version.

  • 250 g / 9 oz dried ramen noodles
  • For the soup stock
  • 4 spring onions (scallions)
  • 7.5 cm / 3 in fresh root ginger, quartered
  • raw bones from 2 chicken, washed
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 large carrot, coarsely chopped
  • 1 egg shell
  • 120 ml / 4 fl oz / ½ cup sake
  • about 60 ml / 4 tbsp shoyu
  • 2.5 ml / ½ tsp salt
  • For the cha-shu (pot-roast pork)
  • 500 g / 1¼ lb pork shoulder, boned
  • 30 ml / 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 spring onions (scallions), chopped
  • 2.5 cm / 1 in fresh root ginger, sliced
  • 15 ml / 1 tbsp sake
  • 45 ml / 3 tbsp shoyu
  • 15 ml / 1 tbsp caster
  • (superfine) sugar
  • For the toppings
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs
  • 150 g / 5 oz menma, soaked for 30 minutes and drained
  • ½ nori sheet, broken into pieces
  • 2 spring onions (scallions), chopped
  • ground white pepper
  • sesame oil or chili oil
  1. To make the soup stock, bruise the spring onions and ginger by hitting with the side of a large knife or a rolling pin. Pour 1.5 litres / 2½ pints / 6½ cups water into a wok and bring to the boil. Add the chicken bones and boil until the color of the meat changes. Discard the water and wash the bones under water.
  2. Wash the wok, bring another 2 litres / 3½ pints / 9 cups water tot eh boil and add the bones and the other soup stock ingredients, except for the shoyu and salt. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the water has reduced by half, skimming off any scum. Strain into a bowl through a muslin - (cheesecloth-) lined sieve. This will take 1-2 hours.
  3. Make the cha-shu. Roll the meat up tightly, 8 cm / 3½ in in diameter, and tie it with kitchen string.
  4. Wash the wok and dry over a high heat. Heat the oil to smoking point in the wok and add the chopped spring onions and ginger. Cook briefly, then add the meat. Turn frequently to brown the outside evenly.
  5. Sprinkle with sake and add 400 ml / 14 fl oz / 1 ⅔ cups water, the shoyu and sugar. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and cover. Cook for 25-30 minutes, turning every 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  6. Slice the pork into 12 fine slices. Use any leftover pork for another recipe.
  7. Shell and halve the boiled eggs and sprinkle some salt on to the yolks.
  8. Pour 1 litre / 1¾ pints / 4 cups soup stock from the bowl into a large pan. Boil and add the shoyu and salt. Check the seasoning; add more shoyu if required.
  9. Wash the wok again and bring 2 litres / 3½ pints / 9 cups water to the boil. Cook the ramen noodles according to the packet instructions until just soft. Stir them constantly to prevent them from sticking. If the water bubbles up, pour in 50 ml / 2 fl oz / ¼ cup cold water. Drain well and divide among four bowls.
  10. Pour the soup over the noodles to cover. Arrange half a boiled egg, pork slices, menme and nori on top, and sprinkle with spring onions. Serve with pepper and sesame or chili oil. Season to taste with a little salt, if you like.
Tokyo-Style Ramen Noodles In Soup