Before coming to Toronto to preside over the kitchen at Kinton Ramen, Aki Urata was a ramen chef in Osaka. And you can tell. The place has had lineups out the door since the day it opened last May. At the resto, broth is simmered for up to 20 hours, but home cooks who don’t want to work that far ahead can get away with four to eight. For extra flavour, Urata serves his ramen with a generous helping of melted pork fat floating on top. (For a leaner soup, you can skim the fat from the top of the stock before stirring in the miso paste.)
2 pounds pork femur bones, cut into pieces by butcher
1/2 pound chicken bones
1 pig’s foot, split in half by butcher
9 cloves garlic, 6 kept whole, 3 minced
3 onions, cut in half
8 dried shiitake mushrooms
2 teaspoons sesame oil
4 tablespoons white miso paste
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon mirin
2 tablespoons cooking or regular sake
Pinch chili-pepper powder
Rinse pork and chicken pieces with cold water. Place in a large stockpot with 16 cups (4 litres) of cold water. Add the whole garlic cloves, scallions, onions and mushrooms and simmer over medium heat for 4 to 8 hours, skimming foam as it collects on the surface. (The longer the stock simmers, the richer and more concentrated it will become.) Pour hot stock through a colander to remove solids and return liquid to the stockpot. (Stock can be made up to 3 days in advance.)
In a medium saucepan, heat sesame oil. Add minced garlic and cook until just sizzling (about 1 minute). Add miso paste, sugar, mirin, cooking sake or regular sake and chili-pepper powder. Stir over low heat until well combined and fragrant (5 to 8 minutes).
To assemble soup, pour a spoonful of miso mixture into each of 4 large soup bowls. Ladle boiling stock overtop and stir well. Add cooked, highquality ramen noodles and garnishes such as bean sprouts, boiled egg, cooked pork, sliced scallions or whole basil leaves.