Quick and Easy Tonkotsu Ramen Recipe: Everything You Need to Know from Broth to Chasu

If you're a fan of Japanese cuisine, you've likely heard of tonkotsu ramen, a rich and savory noodle soup that has taken the world by storm in recent years. But what exactly is tonkotsu ramen, and what makes it so special?

In this blog, we'll take a deep dive into everything you need to know about tonkotsu ramen, from its history and ingredients to its cooking process and flavor profile.

What is Tonkotsu Ramen?

Tonkotsu ramen is a type of Japanese noodle soup that originated in the city of Kurume, Fukuoka Prefecture, in the southern island of Kyushu.

It is made with a pork-based broth that is thick, creamy, and full of umami flavor, along with chewy wheat noodles, slices of tender pork belly (chashu), and various toppings such as green onions, wood ear mushrooms, and sesame seeds.

The name "tonkotsu" literally means "pork bones" in Japanese, which is a key ingredient used to make the rich and flavorful broth.

To prepare tonkotsu ramen, pork bones are simmered for several hours until the marrow and collagen break down and create a creamy, opaque broth that is then seasoned with soy sauce, miso, or other flavorings.

Where is Tonkotsu Ramen From?

The origins of tonkotsu ramen can be traced back to Kurume, a small city in Fukuoka Prefecture, where it was first created in the 1930s by a street vendor named Yoshimura Hosaku.

Hosaku started selling ramen from a food cart on the streets of Kurume, and he soon developed a following for his tonkotsu-based broth, which he made by simmering pork bones for hours until they became tender and flavorful.

Over the years, tonkotsu ramen became increasingly popular throughout Japan, with variations of the dish popping up in different regions and cities.

Today, it is one of the most popular types of ramen in Japan and around the world, with countless restaurants and shops specializing in tonkotsu ramen.

How to Make Tonkotsu Ramen - Quick Overview

The key ingredients used to make tonkotsu ramen include:

  1. Pork Bones - The main ingredient used to make the broth, pork bones are simmered for several hours until the marrow and collagen break down and create a rich, creamy broth.

  2. Water - The pork bones are cooked in water to create the base of the broth.

  3. Tare - A seasoning mixture made from soy sauce, miso, or other flavorings that is added to the broth to give it depth and complexity.

  4. Noodles - Thick, chewy wheat noodles are used in tonkotsu ramen, which are typically cooked until they are al dente.

  5. Chashu - Thinly sliced pork belly that is braised or roasted until tender and then added to the ramen as a topping.

  6. Toppings - Various toppings can be added to tonkotsu ramen, such as green onions, wood ear mushrooms, bamboo shoots, nori, and sesame seeds.

    How do you Cook Tonkotsu Ramen?

    To make tonkotsu ramen, the following cooking process is typically followed:

    1. Prepare the Pork Bones - Pork bones are washed and then boiled in water for several hours until the marrow and collagen break down and create a creamy, opaque broth.
    2. Season the Broth - Once the broth is ready, tare is added to give it depth and complexity. Other seasonings such as garlic, ginger, or chili oil may also be added.
    3. Cook the Noodles -The noodles are cooked separately in a pot of boiling water until they are al dente, then drained and rinsed under cold water to stop the cooking process.
    4. Prepare the Toppings - Chashu, green onions, wood ear mushrooms, and other toppings are sliced and prepared.
    5. Assemble the Ramen - To assemble the ramen, the cooked noodles are placed in a bowl, and the hot broth is poured over them. The toppings are then added, and the dish is garnished with sesame seeds and nori. Remember to always assemble in a beautiful bowl to compliment your creation, we recommend the Sonosopa Minimalist Ramen Bowls below:

      What is Tonkotsu Flavour?

      Tonkotsu ramen is known for its rich and complex flavor profile, which is characterised by a creamy and savory broth, chewy wheat noodles, and tender slices of pork belly.

      The broth is typically seasoned with soy sauce or miso, which gives it a salty and umami flavor, while the pork bones add a meaty richness and depth of flavor.

      The noodles provide a satisfying chewiness, while the toppings add texture and additional flavours.

      Is Tonkotsu Ramen Healthy?

      Tonkotsu ramen is a flavorful and comforting dish, but it is not considered to be particularly healthy.

      The broth is made from pork bones, which are high in fat and cholesterol, and the noodles are made from refined wheat flour, which is low in fiber and nutrients.

      The toppings, such as chashu and bamboo shoots, may also be high in sodium.

      However, there are ways to make tonkotsu ramen healthier. For example, using leaner cuts of pork or substituting chicken or vegetable broth for the pork-based broth can reduce the fat and cholesterol content.

      Using whole wheat noodles or adding vegetables such as spinach or bok choy can also increase the nutrient content.

      Ultimately, like many other foods, tonkotsu ramen can be enjoyed in moderation as part of a balanced diet. If you're concerned about the nutritional content, you can also consider making your own at home, where you can control the ingredients and adjust the recipe to your preferences.

      Final Thoughts

      In conclusion, tonkotsu ramen is a delicious and comforting noodle soup that has captured the hearts and taste buds of people around the world. Whether you're a ramen enthusiast or a curious foodie, trying a bowl of tonkotsu ramen is an experience not to be missed.

      Thanks for reading. Arigato!