Paitan essentially means creamy. This rich, creamy, ramen broth contains no cream, but the texture – the result of long cooking and puréeing the chicken (cartilage, skin, and all) – gives the broth a thick creamy texture similar to the Pork Tonkotsu broth that is popular in many ramen restaurants. One of the great things about ramen is that, while there are some traditional accompaniments, you can really customize your own toppings. I’m a fan of soy sauce eggs, a little chili oil, and rolled roasted chicken thighs seasoned with five spice.
Chicken Thigh Paitan Ramen BrothCourse: Main, SoupCuisine: Japanese
5 quarts water
2 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
Bones and skin of 6 chicken thighs
4 green onions
1 3-inch piece fresh ginger
1 large, white onion, cleaned, but unpeeled
1 2-by-4-inch piece of dried kelp*
½ cup loosely packed katsuobushi or bonito flake*
1 whole star anise
6 cloves garlic, peeled
1 tbsp fish sauce
½ tsp red pepper flake
- Trim the root end from the unpeeled white onion and discard. Do not remove the paper-like skin. Halve, and then slice the onion radially.
- Wash the ginger, but do not peel. Slice the ginger into ¼-inch coins.
- Break each green onion into 4 pieces.
- Arrange the onions, green and white, and ginger on a sheet pan.
- Place under a broiler until the green onion and edges of the white onion are well charred.
- Set aside and allow to cool.
- Once cool, add the charred vegetables to a large stock pot along with 2 quarts of water, two chicken thighs, the star anise, garlic, fish sauce, and pepper flake.
- Bring to a roiling boil.
- Bring 2 quarts of water to a simmer, add kelp, and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and add ½ cup of katsuobushi. Allow to infuse for 10 minutes.
- Strain this mixture into the boiling broth, discarding the solids.
- Boil uncovered for at least 4 and up to 8 hours, adding water if necessary to maintain at least 4 quarts of liquid.
- After at least four hours, remove the chicken pieces, discard the bones, and transfer the meat, skin, and cartilage, along with 2 cups of the stock, to the container of a high speed blender. Blend until very smooth.
- Strain the broth and puree through a mesh strainer and discard the solids.
- Return the broth to the pot and boil until reduced to approximately 2 qts.
- Season to taste with salt, light soy sauce, or a combination of both.
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