Chef-owner David Chang; Momofuku Noodle Bar, Manhattan, N.Y.
2 cups ramen broth, recipe follows
Taré, kosher salt, and/or mirin if needed
5 to 6 ounces fresh ramen noodles
2 to 3 slices pork belly
½ cup pork shoulder for ramen
Two 3-by-3-inch sheets nori, cut from larger sheets
¼ cup thinly sliced scallions, greens and whites
2 thin slices store-bought fish cake
4 or 5 pieces bamboo shoots
¼ cup seasonal vegetables
1 slow-poached egg
For the ramen broth:
Two 3-by-6-inch pieces konbu
6 quarts water
2 cups dried shiitakes, rinsed
4 pounds chicken, either a whole bird or legs
5 pounds meaty pork bones
1 pound smoky bacon
1 bunch scallions
1 medium onion, cut in half
2 large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
Taré preferably, or kosher salt, soy sauce and mirin
Rinse the konbu under running water, then combine it with the water in an 8-quart stockpot. Bring the water to a simmer over high heat and turn off the heat. Let steep for 10 minutes.
Remove the konbu from the pot and add the shiitakes. Turn the heat back up to high and bring the water to a boil, then turn the heat down so the liquid simmers gently. Simmer for 30 minutes, until the mushrooms are plumped and rehydrated and have lent the broth their color and aroma. Heat the oven to 400 F.
Remove the mushrooms from the pot with a spider or slotted spoon. Add the chicken to the pot. Keep the liquid at a gentle simmer. Skim and discard any froth, foam or fat that rises to the surface of the broth while the chicken is simmering, and replenish the water as necessary to keep the chicken covered. After about 1 hour, test the chicken: the meat should pull away from the bones easily.
While the chicken is simmering, put the pork bones on a baking sheet or in a roasting pan and slide them into the oven to brown for an hour; turn them over after about 30 minutes to ensure even browning.
Remove the chicken from the pot and add the roasted bones to the broth, along with the bacon. Adjust the heat as necessary to keep the broth at a steady simmer; skim the scum and replenish the water as needed. After 45 minutes, fish out the bacon and discard it. Then gently simmer the pork bones for 6 to 7 hours—as much time as your schedule allows. Stop adding water to replenish the pot after hour 5 or so.
Add the scallions, onion and carrots to the pot and simmer for the final 45 minutes.
Remove and discard the spent bones and vegetables. Pass the broth through a strainer lined with cheesecloth. Finish the broth by seasoning it to taste with tare, start with 2 or 3 tablespoons per quart. Taste it and get it right. Underseasoned broth is a crime.
Add hot meat to a well-salted large pot of boiling water. Boil the noodles and portion them out into your ramen bowls. Top with hot broth.
Dress the soup: Arrange the meat (shoulder and belly) and other garnishes (scallions, bamboo shoots, fish cake, vegetables) around the edges of each bowl. Plop the egg, if using, into the middle of the bowl. Finish by tucking a couple pieces of nori about one-third of the way into one side of the soup, so they lean against the side of the bowl and stand up above the rim. Serve hot.
Makes 10 servings.