In Japan, there are wonderful ramen shops in every town, but this delicious version — made with roasted chicken thighs and homemade noodles, comes a close second.
Takes: 4 hrs 15 mins
For the broth
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (675g total)
2 small carrots, cut into (3 cm) lengths
200g negi or spring onions, cut into 3 cm lengths
2cm piece fresh ginger, thinly sliced crosswise
1 tsp flaky sea salt
2 tbsp gold sesame oil
brown rice miso or soy sauce, for flavouring
For the noodles
300g plain flour, plus more for sprinkling
2 tbsp gold sesame oil
2 whole eggs, plus 2 yolks, at room temperature
For the toppings
200g greens, such as komatsuna, bok choy, or spinach, blanched, squeezed, and chopped
3 tbsp finely chopped negi or spring onions
3 eggs, at room temperature, boiled for 8 mins, refreshed, peeled, and halved lengthwise
1 sheet nori, cut into sixths
rayu (chilli oil), optional
shichimi togarashi (seven-spice powder), optional
1 For the broth: preheat the oven to 230°C, fan 210°C, gas 8. Toss the chicken, carrots, negi, and ginger with the salt. Rub with the sesame oil and arrange in an oven dish. Roast for 35 mins, until nicely browned.
2 Tip the chicken and veg into a large pot and add 4ltr cold water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, and cook, covered, for 1 hr.
3 Remove the chicken and shred the meat into a bowl. Wet the meat with a scoop of broth. Return the bones to the pot and continue simmering, uncovered, for 30 mins. Strain into a clean pot and discard the bones and veg.
4 Meanwhile, make the noodles. Place the flour in a large bowl and drizzle in the sesame oil. Mix with your fingers until pebbly. Make a well and break in the whole eggs and yolks. Mix with your fingers until the eggs and flour are incorporated, but the dough is crumbly. Turn out onto a work surface and knead until smooth and pliable (about 5 mins). Let the dough rest for at least 30 mins.
5 Roll out the dough using a seimenki [noodle machine] or Italian pasta machine. Cut into thin noodles, approximately 3mm wide. Cut into 22cm lengths using a pizza cutter. Sprinkle with flour and toss to prevent sticking, but keep the noodles aligned.
6 Fill a large pot three-quarters full of water and bring to a boil over high heat.
7 Bring the broth to a simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce it to low. Prepare 6 large donburi [deep soup bowls], measuring in your choice of flavouring: 2 tbsp miso or 4 tsp soy sauce per bowl . Whisk 4 tbsp broth into each bowl to emulsify the flavouring.
8 Add the noodles to the boiling water and cook for 2 mins. While the noodles are cooking, add about 350ml broth into each bowl and whisk to combine with the flavouring liquid.
9 Drain the noodles and divide the noodles among the bowls. Working quickly (so the broth does not cool), keeping each ingredient in its own area, add 2 heaped tbsp chicken meat, 2 heaped tbsp greens, ½ tbsp negi, an egg half, and a small piece of nori. If desired, add spice with rayu (for soy sauce ramen) or shichimi togarashi (for miso ramen).
Read our interview with Nancy Singleton Hachisu.
Published in Issue 1 of National Geographic Traveller Food