Apparently, everyone is an expert on ramen these days… put an overseas trip under our belt and us westerners can be insufferable with our new found knowledge on a country. Here’s the thing about Ramen though, it’s different everywhere you go. If you’ve tried it in Tokyo, it won’t be the same as other regional parts of Japan. We’re big fans of ramen at Newcastle Live, we don’t think the soup side of the Asian food world gets enough street cred. So we had a chat to the guys at Susuru this week to get the skinny on ramen.
Susuru is a little ramen and gyoza joint on King street. It’s bright yellow and white, you can’t really miss it.
Susuru is the result of a culmination of family dreams. Owner, Taiyo Nambu, first helped his father (Tetsuhiko Namba) realise his dream of opening a restaurant when they opened Nagisa at Honey Suckle back in 2004. Tetsuhiko had worked in many well-known restaurants in both Japan and Sydney and was able to bring a Japanese food experience to Newcastle, unlike anything that had been done before in this area. After noticing that the ramen and gyoza offerings were particularly popular Taiyo decided to open a restaurant with Head Chef Chris, who had trained under Tetsuhiko, to cater to that demand in the market.
VISIT SUSURU ONLINE: susuru.com.au
What we found out
Ramen varies greatly from region to region. Some ramen is rich and opaque while other styles are lighter with a clear broth. Susuru serves ramen that incorporates various regions of Japan. So if you’ve only had ramen in Tokyo, it’s likely the ramen you eat at Susuru will be a little different. Because of this Sususru has also, on occasion, been accused of serving ramen that is not “authentic”. This simply isn’t the case. The ramen served at Susuru is a layered labour intensive dish and to prove it, Susuru gave us their Tonkotsu Ramen recipe AND agreed to let us publish it!!!!
Soooooo… we were pretty pumped!
SEE THE SUSURU MENU: facebook.com
We made ramen
Armed with the secret scroll we were giddy at the chance to try the recipe out but not all of us at Newcastle Live are amazing in the kitchen… So we handed the recipe over to our resident foodie. We gave her what we thought was a reasonable budget and we set her on her way. She came back 4 days later and well over $100 poorer (much more than the budget) with a pot of piping hot ramen. We’re guessing it wasn’t straightforward.
LOOKING FOR THE RECIPE: Jump to the end of the post
What was the verdict?
The ramen was super tasty, we slurped away happily trying the freshly made soup. The Pork was delicious!!! Perfectly tender and tasty. The broth was the lighter clear style and had fantastic layers of flavour.
The chilli oil! Oh my god! It was the best! It’s a labour intensive part of the recipe with quite a low yield but we think worth the effort.
SEE IT ON INSTAGRAM: instagram.com/newcastlelive
But it didn’t all go to plan…
The eggs in our picture may look pretty but they were, how can we be diplomatic? They were…. completely in-f@&%$ing-edible! Our resident foodie suggests that the recipe might have been missing a little instruction in this section. She’s thinking the Chashu sauce needs to be completely cooled before the eggs are put in it. She poured the molten hot liquid over the eggs and they turned into a rubbery hot mess.
We should note that everytime we’ve eaten at Susuru the eggs have been spot on. Like seriously it’s one of the best bits.
SEE HOW IT’S REALLY DONE: instagram.com/susururamengyoza
Would we make it again?
Look, probably not. We’re far more likely to pop down to Susuru and buy a fantastic bowl of ramen for around 20 bucks. Not only is it more cost effective but we won’t lose a weekend doing it. However, if you are after a joint food adventure with some of your foodie friends, this is a fantastic recipe to have a crack at. You could all do a different section of the recipe and come together for a ramen party… now that, we’d be in to!
After making the ramen we think there are other unadvertised benefits of this style of dish… It makes good use of parts of the animal that might otherwise be discarded. Pigs trotters and chicken carcasses are used in the recipe we were given, these ingredients are essential to the richness of the broth but are often wasted as offcuts.
Our resident foodie said she loved giving this recipe a go but thinks it is unlikely she would make it if she had a craving because it just takes too long. She would, however, make it part of her repertoire and keep some of the items you can prep in advance on hand so she can throw a good midweek ramen into the mix. So if you want to add ramen to your culinary adventure…
SUSURU’S TONKOTSU RAMEN RECIPE
> PORK BROTH
1.5kg pork leg bones (cut in half to expose the marrow) 2 pig trotters (cut in half)
rinse bones and trotters under cold water. Place in a large pot with 10lt of cold water and bring to the boil. Skim of any dirty looking scum from surface.
1⁄4 green cabbage, diced
1 onion, diced
3 dried shiitake, broken into small pieces 50g kombu
1 whole chicken carcass, cleaned
Add to pot and stir constantly while boiling until broth starts to turn milky white. Be sure to scrap the bottom of the pot while stirring to avoid burning the broth. Reduce heat and simmer for 4-5 hours until reduced by about 2/3. Allow to cool and strain through a fine sieve to remove any solids. Leave soup to settle for about 30-40 minutes and gently pour into a second pot to remove any bone powder settled in the bottom.
> SOY TARE
100g dried, mixed fish flakes (kongobushi) 1 dried shiitake, broken into pieces
place ingredients in a jug and cover with 150ml of water. Make sure ingredients are completely submerged and soak for 30 minutes.
50ml mirin 500ml soy sauce
add all ingredients to pot over high heat, reduce heat to low just before simmering, DO NOT BOIL. Simmer for 30 minutes while stirring. Allow to cool and strain through a fine sieve. Refrigerate until needed, flavours will continue to develop and are best after 1 week.
> CHILLI OIL
100g dried chilli flakes 10g grated ginger
10g kombu dashi
20g ground black pepper 20g white sesame seeds 100ml canola oil
50ml sesame oil
Mix together dry ingredients in a heat proof bowl. Heat canola oil in a saucepan over high heat until ripples start to form. Very carefully pour hot oil over dry ingredients and mix until combined. Stir in sesame oil. Rest for a at least a day to allow flavours to develop.
> CHASHU PORK
1⁄4 pork belly (skin removed) 1lt soy sauce
250ml cooking sake
Roll belly lengthways and wrap tightly with cooking twine at 2cm intervals.
Add all ingredients to a large pot, bring to the boil over high heat, reduce heat and simmer for 4 hours, turning occasionally to ensure pork cooks evenly. Carefully remove pork and refrigerate until completely cooled. To serve, remove string and slice thinly. Reheat in a pan or with a blow torch. Reserve liquid for marinating eggs
200ml chashu pork liquid 300ml water
Fill pot with water and bring to a rolling boil. Use a thumb tack to poke a small hole in the larger end of the eggs. Place eggs in boiling water for exactly 6 minutes, stirring for the first 2 to make sure the yolks set in the centre. After 6 minutes remove eggs from boiling water and submerge in cold water to stop them cooking. Once cooled, peel eggs and place into container with water and chashu liquid, top with paper towel and allow to marinate for 2-3 days.
> TO SERVE
Bring soup to the boil over high heat.
Mix 10-20ml of chilli oil and 30-40ml soy tare in the bottom of a large bowl.
Reheat chashu pork slices in a pan.
Cook ramen noodles in boiling water for 2-3 minutes, taste after 2 minutes to ensure noodles aren’t over cooked, they should still be firm. Drain any excess water from the noodles.
Add hot soup to bowl and stir, carefully add noodles to the bowl to avoid splashing soup.
Top with sliced pork, egg
Other toppings include; Sliced shallots
Dried seaweed sheets Corn
Black garlic oil