Tampopo is a genre-bender ahead of its time, affectionately referred to as a "ramen western". Like spaghetti western. But Japanese. Hence the ramen. It's a play on words, you don't get it. This 1985 foodie flight of fancy features a 'ramen master', who artfully studies and mindfully consumes his bowl of steaming noodles and broth. NOTE: I forgot to mention in the video, this came out absolutely fan-fucking-tastic. The noodles were tender but chewy, the broth was flavorful without being too fishy, and the pork was exquisite.

 

Ingredients

For broth: (note: broth needs to be chilled overnight)

  • 1lb chicken feet
  • ¼ lb pork spare ribs
  • 2lb chicken wings
  • 1 whole head of garlic, halved
  • 1 large scallion, cut into 6in pieces
  • 1 whole onion, halved
  • 4 quarts of water (note: kombu leaves must soak in water for 24 hours)
  • 4 kombu leaves
  • 1 cup bonito
  • 1 cup dried anchovies

For pork:

  • Pork belly and/or Pork shoulder
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup mirin
  • 1 cup sake
  • 1 whole shallot, halved
  • 2 in knob of ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic, crushed

For tare sauce:

  • ½ cup of dried anchovies
  • 2 cups soy sauce
  • Several kombu leaves
  • ½ cup bonito flake
  • ¼ cup of sake
  • 4 tablespoons of mirin
  • 1-2 tablespoons of brown sugar

 

For noodles: (can also be store bought)

  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon of additional baking soda
  • ½ cup warm water
  • 8 ½ oz of bread flour (about 2 cups)
  • 1 oz of vital wheat gluten (about ¼ cup)

 

Also needed for soup:

  • Sesame oil
  • Kamaboko (Japanese fish cake)
  • Chopped scallions
  • Menma (braised bamboo shoots)
  • 1 sheet of nori (dried seaweed)

Method

For broth:

  1. Soak four large kombu leaves in the water for 24 hours.
  2. Cut nails off of chicken feet.
  3. In a large stockpot, add pork spare ribs, chicken wings, chicken feet, garlic, scallion, onion, and kombu water.
  4. Place over low heat and keep broth below 200 degree fahrenheit. Skim any scum off the top of the surface and dispose of.
  5. After 4 hours, add bonito and dried anchovies. Allow to continue to simmer for 1 hour.
  6. Pour broth through strainer into large glass bowl. Chill overnight.

To assemble soup:

  1. Boil noodles for no more than 30 seconds.
  2. Place 2 tablespoons of Tare into a bowl. Add a few ladlefuls of the boiling broth, followed by the noodles.
  3. Slice the pork and place on top. Garnish with a kamaboko, scallions, menma, and nori.
  4. Loving stroke the pork and slurp your noodles.

For Tare sauce:

  1. In the pan you used to sear the pork shoulder, saute the dried anchovies over medium heat. Deglaze with soy sauce. Break apart and add kombu leaves. Allow to steep without boiling for about 10 minutes.
  2. Add in bonito flake. Allow to steep for an additional 5 minutes. Using a strainer, drain the fishy soy sauce mixture into a glass measuring cup and set aside.
  3. Wipe the pan and place over medium heat. Combine sake, mirin, and brown sugar before bringing the mixture to a boil to cook off the alcohol.
  4. Add the fishy soy sauce mixture to the pan. Combine and set aside.

For pork:

  1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees fahrenheit.
  2. In a pan over high heat, sear the pork shoulder but leave the pork belly unseared. Then, place pork shoulder and belly into baking dish. Top with soy sauce, mirin, sake, shallot, ginger, and garlic.
  3. Replace top but leave slightly ajar. Allow pork to braise in oven for about 3 hours until tender and cooked. 

For noodles:

  1. Preheat oven to 225 degrees fahrenheit.
  2. On a parchment covered baking sheet, pour out baking soda. Place baking sheet in the oven for about an hour.
  3. Combine bread flour and vital wheat gluten. In warm water, dissolve the additional baking soda. Pour baking soda mixture into bread flour mixture. Combine until a dough forms.
  4. Knead dough for about 5 minutes. Cover in plastic wrap and allow to rest for an hour.
  5. Roll the dough out using a pasta machine until it can be placed into the pasta cutter. Run the dough through the pasta cutter and then toss with some corn starch.
  6. Place the noodles on a parchment covered baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.

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