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Tonkotsu Ramen

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This tonkatsu ramen recipe will get you restaurant quality results!

The sign of a good tonkatsu ramen is a properly prepared, creamy tonkotsu broth and lots of delicious chashu pork on top. There are restaurants that cheat in one or both of these areas but when you make tonkotsu ramen at home, you can ensure that only the best goes in those serving bowls.

tonkotsu ramen

What is tonkotsu ramen?

In my personal opinion, there’s ramen and then there’s tonkotsu ramen: the king of ramens! Where other ramens can be whipped up in a very short time, tonkotsu ramen needs special pork tonkotsu broth that takes about 13 hours to make. You’ll find my tonkotsu broth recipe for that here.

Don’t let that scare you off making tonkotsu ramen though. The broth is really easy to make and most of the time you won’t need to do anything other than let your broth boil.

Then there is the specially cooked chashu pork that is thinly sliced and served on top of the ramen noodles and broth. This is also simple to make. 

What other things can you add to a tonkotsu ramen?

Tonkotsu ramen is all about that delicious and creamy tonkotsu broth. You could just pour some of the broth over ramen noodles and not be at all disappointed. The broth is that good!

In fact, you could make this tonkotsu ramen recipe using a shop bought tonkotsu broth but it just won’t be anywhere near as good. The shop-bought stuff isn’t bad though if you want some tonkotsu ramen right now.

In addition to the chashu pork and broth, you can also add other fresh ingredients such as mushrooms, soft boiled eggs, bak choy and spring onions (scallions). If it sounds good, it probably will be.

How much tonkotsu broth is needed for each serving?

I generally add 500ml (2 cups) boiling hot tonkotsu broth to each bowl. You could of course add more or less.

This is really the same for all of the ingredients. The noodles, veggies, meat… Add as many or as little as you like. 

Are there any cheats to make the cooking process quicker?

Of course! But I don’t recommend doing this when making authentic tonkotsu ramen. This is a labour of love. If you like cooking, you’re going to have fun assembling all the prepared ingredients.

If you don’t like cooking, you might like to go for a quick and easy ramen like my quick and easy curry ramen here. 

All of the topping shown in the photos are optional so you don’t have to make the chashu pork but I hope you do!

How do you make the tonkotsu broth?

Most restaurants will use a few tonkotsu stock cubes. In my opinion, this is not tonkotsu ramen. If you want the real thing, you’re going to have to make the stock yourself.

Making the broth brings back memories of living in San Francisco where hot bone broth was always on offer. Huge pots of tonkotsu broth would be on the boil at all times and the tonkotsu ramen was always amazing!

You are going to need to put aside a good 14 hours to make it though. I warned you. It will be worth it in the end though. I promise.

Why is homemade tonkotsu broth so much better?

There are many reasons for this. It is a really simple stock as far as ingredients are concerned. Nothing more than you would put any any stock really.

It becomes spectacular during the cooking process. The bones are first boiled and then thoroughly cleaned. Then they are covered with water and a few aromatic ingredients to boil for 12 hours. That’s right… the broth is boiled not simmered. After 12 hours of boiling, there is very little left of the bones as all of their goodness has literally oozed into the creamy broth.

My tonkotsu broth recipe shows this process with step by step photographs.

Is tonkotsu ramen really worth all the fuss?

You bet! Whoever came up with the idea of boiling pork bones for 12 hours was a genius! There is a reason why tonkotsu ramen is the only thing served at many restaurants. You need to specialise in it because it’s so fussy to make!

The thing is… anything a good tankotsu ramen chef can make can also be prepared at home with equally good results. Put in the effort and enjoy the rewards!

Does it matter which type of ramen noodles I use?

Yes! When cooking tonkotsu ramen, be sure to go for the best you can find. Often when I prepare other ramens, I just use instant ramen noodles.

With tonkotsu ramen, however I always use fresh or excellent quality dried ramen noodles. These are available at Asian grocers and on specialty shops online. When you put this much time into making a noodle soup, only the best will do.

What is chashu pork?

This is a tasty and sometimes crispy pork that tastes amazing on top of tonkotsu ramen and other ramens.

It can be made in a dutch oven or if you have an Instant Pot or similar, you could save yourself a few hours by pressure cooking the meat on high for 90 minutes.

It can be prepared using pork belly or pork shoulder. My authentic chashu pork recipe is here but if you live near a Japanese grocer or restaurant, you might be able to purchase some.

Adding sliced chashu pork to your tonkotsu ramen is not essential but it is very nice!

How long does it take to make Tonkotsu Ramen?

Once you prepare the broth, it only takes minutes to put together. Really all you need to do is heat it up and you’re ready to serve with whatever else you want to add to those tonkotsu ramen bowls.

Step by step photographs

(These photos are from the tokotsu ramen stage. You need homemade tonkotsu broth or a good quality shop bought tonkotsu broth).

Pouring soy sauce into tonkotsu ramen broth

Bring your tonkotsu broth to a simmer and allow it to simmer and thicken for a few minutes. Then add the soy sauce to taste.

Tonkotsu ramen broth.

Continue simmering for a few minutes. If you look at how the broth from the ladle hits the broth in the pan, you’ll see how naturally creamy this pork bone broth is.

A note about the chashu pork in the tonkotsu ramen below.

When you braise the pork, it can simply be sliced thinly and added to your tonkotsu ramen. I like to place it under the grill (broiler) to crisp it up. This process is demonstrated in my chashu pork recipe.

tonkotsu ramen garnished with chashu pork, boiled egg and veggies.

Divide the noodles between 4 bowls. Top with the seasoned tonkotsu broth and any other garnishes you prefer.

If you like this tonkotsu ramen recipe, you might like to try some of these too.

Korean Ramen
Chicken Curry Ramen
Birria Ramen
Japanese Chicken Curry
Chicken Katsu Curry
Chinese Chicken Curry
Chashu Rice – Fried rice made with leftover chashu pork
Chicken Teriyaki
Chicken Yakitori
Japanese Coleslaw

Have you tried this tonkotsu ramen recipe?

If yes, please give it a star rating in the recipe card below and leave a comment. I love receiving your feedback and I’m sure other readers of my blog do to. Thank you

Yield: 4

Tonkotsu Ramen

tonkotsu ramen

Tonkotsu ramen is one of the best if not THE BEST ramens out there. It is made with pork bone tonkotsu broth and other toppings can also be added. If you would like to serve this with delicious chashu pork, you will find my recipe above.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 12 hours
Additional Time 12 hours
Total Time 12 hours

Ingredients

  • 2 liters (8 cups) homemade tonkotsu broth
  • 70ml (1/4 cup) soy sauce (or to taste)
  • 400g (16 oz) top quality dried ramen noodles
  • 4 spring onions (scallions) green parts only, thinly sliced
  • 85g (3 oz) wild mushrooms (optional)
  • 85g (3 oz) bok choy (optional)
  • 8 slices or chashu pork (optional)
  • Soft boiled eggs (optional)

Instructions

  1. Heat about 2 1/2 liters of homemade tonkotsu broth over a high heat and bring to a boil. Simmer it down to thicken some and then add soy sauce to taste. I recommend adding this in small amounts until you are happy with the flavour.
  2. Cook the ramen noodles per the package instructions. This usually only takes about 5 to 7 minutes.
  3. Divide the cooked ramen noodles between four heated bowls and top equally with the hot broth.
  4. Add whatever topping you like and serve immediately.

Notes

You will find my recipe for the chashu pork in the post above.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 162Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 4mgSodium: 739mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 7g

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