I feel like Tonkotsu is the most popular style in the States. Everyone loves the creamy consistency, the richness, the full, meaty, satisfying flavor. It’s like drinking cream.
But what if I told you that you could make an awesome, and similar, version with chicken, in just 6 hours, instead of the 18 hours I recommend for tonkotsu?
Enter Tori Paitan. Chicken Paitan, Tonkotsu’s neglected cousin. It uses very similar technique as tonkotsu, but only uses chicken bones to create some delicious, creamy goodness.
I’ll be honest, this recipe ranks right up there with one of my favorites. Maybe just below miso (because I have a miso bias and miso is my obsessive favorite). But it is highly reminiscent of Santouka, who uses a good amount of chicken in their tonkotsu. It hits those right notes. It’s lighter than tonkotsu but just as satisfying and creamy.
Did I mention it’s easier? It’s also more approachable for the american palate than a tonkotsu funk bomb. SWEET.
Tori Paitan uses the same broad technique as tonkotsu, but due to the lower density of the bones and more accessible fat and gelatin content, requires less time to complete. Here are the steps:
4 lbs chicken backs or one whole chicken, broken down into sections
2-3 lbs chicken wings (around 6 wings total)
2-3 lbs chicken feet, toes removed
White ends from two bunches of green onions
A 2 inch piece of ginger
10 garlic cloves
Steps (takes around 8 hours total):
Two hours prior to cooking, soak the chicken parts in cold water. This helps remove some of the myoglobin, though chicken tends to have less than pork. Soak for two hours.
Drain the water, place the chicken parts into a stock pot, cover with water by two inches.
Place on the stove over high heat, bring to a boil
Skim the scum that comes to the surface until little to no scum rises, around 15 min of skimming
Cover, cook on medium high heat, making sure the pot is boiling rapidly, around 6 hours. Refill with water as needed, and stir occasionally to avoid the debris scorching on the bottom.
One hour before completion (at least 6 hours later, I went 8), remove the lid, add aromatics, and boil uncovered for 1 hour. The broth should barely be covering the bones by the time this boiling process is done. If not, continue to boil on high heat until reduced appropriately.
Strain the broth and reserve as needed. You can optionally at this point insert an immersion blender to whip things up and help the emulsification further.
The tare here is a mix between soy and shio. Some shio tares, paradoxically, are white soy sauce based. So… this is shio tare? I’m not sure to be honest, the goal was to get a little soy flavor with a little fish flavor, and not much color. You’ll recognize the overall technique from other recipes I’ve posted, simply the ingredients have changed slightly.
Ingredients (Makes enough for easily 15-20 bowls, half this is necessary):
15 g Konbu
150 g mirin
100 g sake
50 g white wine
150 g white soy sauce
50 g usukuchi soy sauce
20 g salt
5 g MSG (optional)
50 grams niboshi
1 tbs sesame oil
300 ml water
two big handfuls of katsuobushi
Soak the Kombu in the mirin, sake, and white wine, for at least 6 hours, in the fridge.
When ready to make, add the kombu and steeping liquid to a sauce pot. Cook on medium heat until the cooking liquid registers at 176 degrees. Hold here for 5 minutes
Remove the kombu, boil slightly to remove some residual alcohol, around 5 minutes.
Add the soy sauces and salts. Reserve this liquid on the side.
In the now empty pot, add the niboshi and sesame oil to a pot. Cook until fragrant on medium high heat, around 40 seconds.
Add the water, bring to 176 again.
Add the katsuobushi and steep for 10 minuites at 176 degrees.
Strain this liquid, adding it to the one in step 4.
Take the now strained liquids and reduce to your salinity liking (though for me this was about dead right).
I have a stupidly accurate gram scale (down to 1/10th a gram), so I played around with the proportions on the kansui (which I now have powdered sodium carbonate and potassium carbonate, the two salts that comprise Kansui). This ratio worked awesomely, but feel free to follow the Tokyo standard of 1% as well. Pretty similar to that, with juuuust a hair more alkalinity and chew to hold up to the richness of the broth.
Per portion: measure everything by weight
99g King Arthur bread flour (12.7% protein by weight)
1 g vital wheat gluten (aprox 77.5% protein by weight)
40 g water
1 g salt
1.2 g baked soda or powdered kansui (more info on baked soda here)
Optional: Pinch of Riboflavin (this adds color, I just estimate it. A little goes a LONG way)
Add baked soda and salt (and riboflavin if using) to the water, dissolve completely. I like to add one at a time, it seems like the baked soda dissolves better if added prior to the salt.
In the food processor, add your wheat gluten and flour. Pulse a few times to combine the two.
While running the food processor, add your water mixture slowly, in an even stream. Occasionally, stop to scrape the sides down. You know you're set when you have tiny grain like pieces.
Cover the food processor and let this rest for 30 minutes. This gives the flour granules time to fully absorb the water and alkaline salts.
Knead it. Currently I use an electric pasta machine to sheet the dough, going through the largest setting, then the 2nd, then the 3rd, then folding and repassing through the largest setting. I repass two to three times, or until I notice the dough is making the machine work really hard. I also like to fold the dough the same direction each time. Some articles I read suggested this kept the gluten strands running in the same direction, which promotes better texture. You'll notice interesting horizontal lines running along the length of your dough if you do it right. If this isn’t an option for you, I used to throw the mix into a plastic bag and step on it repeatedly, which simulates the kneading process used in an industrial setting.
When smooth, cover with plastic, and rest at room temp for an hour. This gives the gluten time to relax, and “ripens” the dough according to Japanese cooks.
Pull out your dough. Portion into workable sizes (around one serving's worth), and roll out to desired thickness, using potato or corn starch as you go to prevent sticking. Do this with a pasta machine, it is borderline impossible without a machine. An electric one will save you an incredible amount of effort.
Cut your noodles to your desired thickness. You rule your ramen.
Reserve in the fridge until needed. Like most ramen noodles, they get better after at least a day of resting in the fridge.
Same recipe as always:
Preheat the oven to 225 F. Take a slab of pork belly with the skin removed, anywhere from 1-3 lbs depending on how much chashu you want, and sear all sides in an oven safe pan, like enameled cast iron, over medium heat, around 5 minutes a side. In this case, I rolled it because the slab was rather thin, though this is optional.
When golden brown, add 1/4 cup sake to deglaze, scraping the bottom of the pan. Add in 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1/4 cup usukuchi soy sauce, 1/2 cup mirin, 1 cup water, and 2 tbs brown sugar. You can also add a few garlic cloves, slices of ginger, or green onion ends, if you like. Bring the liquid to a boil, cover, and transfer to the oven. Cook, turning every hour or so, for anywhere between 2-4 hours, or until the pork feels pillowy. Internal temp is around 201 degrees F, though it can vary. Feel is your best guess here. Remove the pork from the oven, allow to cool to room temp, then place in the fridge, submerged in the cooking liquid, and allow to chill for at least 4 hours to promote easy slicing.
Also the same recipe as always, haha.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add your eggs, cooking for 6 min 30 seconds at a rolling boil. Remove the eggs from the water, immediately shock in ice water and reserve to cool completely, around 15 minutes. Crack, and peel the eggs, transferring to a ziplock or tupperware. Add in mirin, soy sauce, water, and chashu braising liquid if you like, to taste (I make the steeping liquid with the same ratios as the chashu braising liquid, so half mirin and soy sauce in equal amounts, and half water).
Take 1 cup chicken fat, add garlic, onion, and ginger, and cook in a small saucepan over medium low heat until just starting to brown, around 30 min.
I get asked for specific amounts when adding tare to stock, so here's the full process. Generally a good ratio of tare to soup is around 1:10 (so for 300 ml soup, add 30 ml tare), but it can vary by tare and depends on your taste. Just eyeball it, you can always add more to the soup later.
For one bowl:
360 ml soup
33 ml tare
1 tbsp aroma oil
150 g noodles
Toppings as liked
In your serving bowl, add the tare, aroma oil, and hot (just under boil is ideal) soup. Ideally in that order, as the cascading soup will help evenly disperse the aroma oil.
Cook your noodles in boiling water to just shy of done, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. Usually less than 1 minute.
Strain the noodles thoroughly, then add to your bowl.
Swish the noodles in the broth to let them float freely in the soup. Don't want anything clinging to itself!
Add toppings and additional chicken fat as desired.
Whew, I think I got everything, but feel free to ask questions!
Love your recipes! Thanks for this :)
Man. What a great recipe and it looks... absurdly delicious. Thank you so much for sharing. A couple of questions:
Boiling - not simmering - the broth: any reason?
I only have access to liquid kansui, any idea how I'd substitute it? (I suppose I can always do baked soda, but I figure I should use the stuff I have...)
Ah yes, the hard boil.
It's required in tonkotsu; it's actually a characteristic of the opaque, paitan style broth imported from China.
When you make stock in the classic french method, a simmer is pretty standard, with the goal being to keep the broth as clear as possible.
Boiling hard begins to jostle the contents of the pot, and takes the fat that renders from the bones and meat and disperses it throughout the liquid. Gelatin, developed through the breakdown of collagen in the bones, then acts as a surfactant on this fat, emulsifying it. This emulsification is what causes your broth to turn white. This means that without a hard boil, you will simply never get an opaque, creamy broth.
Now, you don't have to boil hard the entire time. Technically it only takes about an hour of uncovered, super full boil to emulsify things, since gelatin is an amazing emulsifier. And I recommend not boiling hard for the tonkotsu recipe I developed, for safety reasons. But a hard boil is going to develop the best result due to this emulsification action it creates.
Regaring liquid kansui: I'm unfortunately not familiar with the alkalinity of those products (I assume you have the Koon Chun brand). I'd say try it out at around 3% of the weight of your flour and wheat gluten, dropping the water content by 3% as well to compensate. That's the ratio I've heard before working from others here.
So in the above recipe, per portion, 3g liquid, and 37 g water.
I can't guarantee this will work for you. I use dry salts for their flexibility and control (as do most noodle manufacturers). But if you have liquid kansui, give it a shot. And definitely experiment!
Thanks so much for such a quick, detailed reply. Last question: Any recommendation for somewhere online to buy dry kansui? None of the asian markets around me sell it in any thing other than liquid form. Alternately, is baked salt a completely equivalent substitute or will the quality of my noodles be noticeably better with kansui?
Regarding the Sodium Carbonate / Potassium Carbonate.
If you live in an area with German / Central European immigrants (I assume you're in the US), you might find it in the baking section. They use it for various things, and you can find it in small packets. I got a bunch for Christmas baking last year.
Baked baking soda is 80% of the actual alkaline salt bill for kansui. It is extremely equivalent.
Kansui is made up generally of two salts, classically 80% sodium carbonate, 20% potassium carbonate. When you bake baking soda, sodium bicarbonate, you heat up the molecules, and this heat breaks off one of the hydroxyl groups in the form of water and oxygen. The resulting powder is sodium carbonate.
So really, you're missing that extra 20% from the potassium. I use potassium carbonate in addition to baked baking soda, but the difference is minor, hardly noticeable. I highly recommend the baked soda approach over liquid due to the control dry powder gives, and wide availability of baking soda in the US. And using 100% sodium carbonate will give you a delicious product; it's what I've done for the last 2-3 years prior to finding potassium carbonate.
In your opinion what does the potassium carbonate do for the noodles? Does it make your mix a little more/less alkaline?
Also where did you get your potassium carbonate from? I looked into chem labs, but not knowing whether it was food grade or not kept me from buying some.
It's a little complex.
Both are extremely high PH salts used to make the ph of the water more alkaline, which interacts with the gluten in the wheat flour and makes it stronger. Honestly this interaction is not understood scientifically (articles I found on the topic all mentioned this lack of knowledge actually, surprising to say the least), which sort of sucks. Still, the general consensus is that higher ph = stronger gluten. That much is known.
On face value, theoretically both salts should act essentially the same, since their PH are both high (11.6 for Sodium Carbonate vs 11.5 for Potassium Carbonate), if we're talking about the effect on gluten.
However, I've read some work that suggests this isn't the case.
The following is pure Japanese lore:
A higher ratio of potassium carbonate result in a firmer, less flexible dough.
A higher ratio of sodium carbonate results in more chewy, elastic, less firm dough.
So the balance is generally important. Personally I feel that 80/20 usually hits the mark quite nicely, but since most of us are chew lovers, 100% sodium carbonate actually works quite well.
I think I'll try this recipe once I have a few hours of access to my kitchen!
In the meantime, can I come over I'm good at fish and cookies please say yes ._.
Are you in Chicago? Ahaha. I'm always interested in sharing the ramen gospel with new people!
I'm not anywhere near Chicago but thanks for the offer T_T
You'll just have to give the recipe a shot then! :D
I'll link you when I do :3
Wonderful as always. Your presentation is ridiculously good.
I dunno about my presentation being THAT good... I do try to make it look nice though!
When you say one whole chicken broken down into sections, do you mean to use the meat of the chicken in the broth as well?
Yep! Keep the meat!
How does one obtain white soy sauce? I can't seem to find it at any asian shops near me. Would regular or utsukuchi soy sauce work just as well?
White soy sauce is definitely the weird ingredient here. I found it at Mitsuwa but it's sort of a novelty product used by sushi and ramen shops. Feel free to swap usukuchi and maybe a tad of regular, though the color of the final product will naturally be a bit darker.
I'm not super concerned with the color, so works for me! Just curious, Is there a flavor difference to white soy?
White soy sauce to me, of the few I've tried, is a little more fruity, less salty or savory. Maybe my mind making things up. I think for flavor I generally prefer regular or usukuchi. White soy was mostly for the color.
May I ask where you bought the noodle basket/strainer?
I got em from Korin.com, which is where I also got my red and white bowls. The baskets are a little pricey though, so definitely feel free to get cheap ones on amazon, like these.
That's a world-class post right there. Thanks for taking the trouble to type it all up. I'll try the recipe soon.
I dunno if I'd call it "world class" but I appreciate the kind words! If you do try it out (and you should), post the results!
Would a pressure cooker help speed things along at the beginning?
It might! I don't own a pressure cooker, so I can't give a firm recommendation, but you could probably do the collagen and fat extraction (the 6 hour part of the boil) under pressure, and then remove pressure and boil normally for an hour. Not sure how long you'd cook the stock under pressure though, maybe an hour or so.
That being said, the full agitation of the high boil for the full 6 hours is definitely something to consider, as that's what's creating the emulsification. Perhaps cook under pressure for 1 hour, then not under pressure and uncovered for 2? You'll have to experiment.
Paging /u/ramen_minion , who has made some very nice pressure cooked ramen broths.
I regularly make bak kut teh (a Malaysian chinese herbal pork bones soup dish) - Typically I do 1 hour pressure cooking stock with chicken feet and carcass, herbs and plenty of garlic cloves. This gives me a very nice base soup with plenty of collagen mouthfeel. Then I use this base soup to braise pork ribs and other pork innards to build the dish.
So I think this 1 hour pressure cook would help but as you said, need a couple hours of hard boiling to really get it emulsified
Yep! That whole idea of doing this under pressure is super interesting to me. If you try it out, let me know how it goes!
I've fooled around with pressure cooking quite a bit, and the only tips I have are that a 1-hour pressure cook is usually sufficient for gelatin extraction, and that aromatics tend to get lost in the mix. I pressure cook for an hour, then do another hour at a simmer with any aromatics. Also it's kind of important to skim the scum and fat before putting it under pressure.
For this, I'd pressure cook for the hour, then do a roiling boil for a couple more to emulsify, then add the aromatics at the final hour.
For the given amount of chicken bones and parts, what size stockpot are you using? And how many bowls of ramen would that be enough for?
I use a 16 quart stockpot, which is large for this application. This makes around 10 bowls.
Thanks! I'm super excited to try this.
And your username is completely apt. :)
PS I found out about soaking the bones for broth from one of your recipes, and it's been immensely useful for making my own stock for other applications.
Your posts are always really top-notch! Well-written and informative. Big thanks for contributing to this sub.
I have a question. I'm not terribly knowledgeable about making soup stock. You call for chicken backs or a whole chicken. I assume that means with the meat on? I freeze chicken carcasses (leftover after I roast whole chickens) to make basic chicken stock (I live in the south, so this usually gets used for chicken and dumplings.)
Would it be possible to make a similar stock to this with several chicken carcasses?
Meat on is ok, though I like to use the backs because they tend to have less meat than a whole chicken. Still, both should work. You can also use legs. It's more about the method than the part for chicken.
Still, interesting point about roasting.
I don't know offhand how the roasting will affect the flavor. I've seen recipes for roasting bones prior to using them in stock making. It does seem to add a certain roasted flavor, but I'm not sure I'd want that for this application.
My concern is mostly that the cooking action you go through when roasting a chicken breaks down some of the collagen (especially in the dark meat, if the temp gets to around 160-170) and renders a lot of the fat, and these are important parts in the broth that would go missing. In chicken and dumplings, the starch from the swelled dumplings acts to provide the body, so this lower level of collagen isn't as missed I assume (I swear I don't just cook ramen!), you're just looking for that meaty flavor.
A thought: if you're buying loads of whole chickens, you could try spatchcocking the chickens prior to roasting, freezing the raw backs you remove in the process for stock later. Spatchcocking actually helps the bird cook more evenly, though it's not the prettiest looking animal when it's done cooking.
Thanks for the response! And you're right, stock made from roasted chicken carcasses does tend to be thinner. The cooking dumplings definitely have a big hand in thickening the soup.
I'm going to give this recipe a go this weekend with some uncooked chicken.
Had an interesting idea, well not really an idea, but a potential problem that came up the other day. We were thinking it's possible that having too much meat isn't beneficial if you're going for a heavier broth a la paitan or tonkotsu. That is, we think it's possible that the broth, full of collagen and other tasty bits, is reabsorbed into the meat. And the main problem is that you can't really strain it out.
Not a huge problem, just trying to minimize waste.
Hrm, interesting point. Have you experienced this in your cooking? I've never personally seen that, but some thoughts below:
The proteins in most meat products are like sponges full of liquid that tighten with heat, losing their ability to hold liquid as they tighten. By the 6 hour mark, your meat in your boil will be almost entirely spent, and possibly even dry and flavorless if you were to taste it. It's tightened up to the point of no return and washed of its collagen content. When you strain it, it should be a nasty mess of meat strands and fat globules. Naturally with some surface area, some liquid will remain locked in there, but you can squeeze this out by pressing on it with a spatula in a strainer. Classic move actually, did that in a kitchen I was staging at when we were straining a batch of tonkotsu out.
If this weren't the case, wouldn't you also sort of experience this with less rapidly boiled stocks? I'm not sure why the rapid jostling would make this worse. But perhaps I'm overlooking something.
Well, we never used anything with much meat on it before(or cared as much about yield)
Personally, I'm think the same as you, but someone above me doesn't think so. Or maybe he just didn't want to deal with pressing it through a strainer as much. However, we're dealing with critters from the sea, so it might be a bit different.
Making Labor Day weekend. Will report back.
Most pasta makers seem to have 7 settings when rolling the dough. How thick do you make your noodles?
Personal preference, though I have a Marcato, which has 10 settings. On there for the Tokyo noodles I roll to a 5.
If I had to guess then, for this iteration (and Tokyo style noodles in general) it's probably around 2-3mm thick?
I have the Marcato too, with a motor to boot.
For other noodles, what settings do you roll to? And do you use the attachment to cut to noodles or by hand with a knife?
For Sapporo, maybe a 4. The big ones in my Tonkotsu Gyokai were at 3. Ha kata go to 6 or even 7.
I always use the cutters; can't imagine being consistent with it by hand. I actually bought a cutter for hakata style noodles but only recently figured out how do make them given their general low hydration. Hakata noodles start at around 34% hydration, just way too low without a bit of cheating.
Gonna need to know which cutter and the tricks with that one, coz I'm a huge Hakata fan
The cutter is the angel hair cutter.
More on the noodles at another time... still working out the kinks on that one. Might revisit hakata style tonkotsu soon enough (been kind of avoiding it lately tbh).
Added to cart! ¯\(ツ)/¯
I have a Marcato Atlas Wellness 150 Pasta Maker. It has 7 thickness settings. I typically do a 6 before cutting the noodles. After cooking they a little thinner than packaged noodles. Think I'll try a 5 next time.
Thanks for the awesome and detailed recipe. I've tried making a different recipe a few times but will definitely also give yours a shot soon.
Since moving back to the States, I've been in such a ramen rut. Paitan is one of my favorite types and I just hate how we only have mediocre varieties of tonkotsu where I live. The only option is making it yourself, or when desperate, use up the very last emergency dried Japanese ramen rations.
I recently had Miso ramen at the famous Totto ramen in NYC, which was fantastic! I noticed that all of their ramen uses chicken broth, and I've heard their style referred to as Paitan. When it was served to me, it literally had a scoop of miso on top for me to mix in. Is it safe to assume that adding some red miso to a bowl of this recipe would be in the ballpark of what I had at Totto? Thanks!
That style of adding the miso on top is definitely not standard of miso ramen, but I assume totto's method is similar to what you've described. I might swap some or all of the tare in this recipe for the miso tare found in my recipe in the sidebar recipe, to avoid things getting too salty.
Thanks so much for your reply! I've been longing to try a real ramen recipe for years, stumbling across your guides has convinced me to take the plunge with this recipe first!
Let's get started! I'm scared.
How big should the straining perforation be? Should I use one of those metal sieves, or should I even use a muslin?
I just use a fine mesh strainer. No need for cheesecloth.
Thanks for the answer. I did use a mesh strainer. After using an immersion blender for the broth, it had foamy layer. Is this due to impurities or is this normal? I swirled the broth a bit and then took the non-foam liquid to be sure.
Totally normal for the foam. Not impurities or gross at all. What you're doing is similar, but not quite, the same as frothing milk for a latte. The gelatin in the broth creates viscosity in the liquid which can trap air bubbles when frothed. It's not the same in that hot milk's froth actually comes from denatured proteins linking up together, but some tonkotsu shops add dairy to their broth for this very effect!
To be honest, I actually LIKE the foam, as you can tell here, it's something I was actually trying to make! I'm learning that if you really want it to linger, you either need super high levels of gelatin (which can be unappetizing) or milk/cream.
Hi...I'm confused about the meat and bones part. If I use a whole chicken, what do I do with the meat? Will the meat just emulsify into the broth? Or am I taking the meat out?
The meat flavors the broth. Meat has a lot of flavor that is squeezed out into the broth during the cooking process. It's not going to really emulsify, and I wouldn't try to eat it after cooking. Won't taste like much of anything. Strain and discard.
What is the best size pot to use to make the soup and the tare?
I use a stockpot for the broth (16 quart) and a saucepan for the tare.
I really love your posts and am excited to get into the world of high quality homemade ramen. If at all possible, in your next post could you give us a glance at the ingredients you're using? Pictures would be ideal because the main issue I'm having is correctly identifying the correct things to purchase. Of course if you could go into any detail about the ends and outs of these Asian products that would be great.
Question regarding the aroma oil. Where do you get the cup worth of chicken fat?
Can this be obtained from the surface of the chilled broth? I assumed this fat is what is emulsified into the hot broth and removing it when separated would detract from the broth.
I buy chicken fat from a butcher pre-rendered. You can make your own with chicken skin.
You can skim from the top (some will inevitably settle out as you chill it), but I like to keep that fat as is.
Yeah I don't have much in terms of chicken fat, and I'm in the middle of the DC blizzard. Do you think duck fat and some of the pork fat from the chashu would work?
Both of those will work fine, they'll have a different flavor of course but they'll still be delicious. No rules here, you can even use vegetable oil for cleaner aromatic notes.
Thanks, you're the best! I finished my broth last night. Tried a spoonful with a couple drops of soysauce... Absolutely incredible.
I'm going to give thie recipe a try this weekend. Picked up some chicken feet today.
Quick question - why do the toes need to be removed from the chicken feet? Just curious.
The toes can sometimes have dirt stuck under the nails. It's not necessarily required, just a precaution I take.