The Ultimate Chicken Stock for Ramen

Creamy chicken stock for ramen is now my number two favorite after tonkotsu. Torikotsu uses the same technique but requires less time and efforts to make it than tonkotsu — it is much easier to gelatinise chicken cartilage and connective tissues and extract flavors from less dense chicken bones. Most of the myoglobin is neutralized during the fist step of soaking chicken in cold water. To make it efficient, chop chicken wings and legs to smaller, 1-2″ pieces to expose bones marrow. As a result, there is significantly less scum to skim during the second step. Just like for tonkotsu, it is essential to remove the foam that appears, but keep the chicken fat and emulsify it into the creamy stock later, during the rapid boiling. Pressure cookers are very helpful and streamline the last stage of making chicken paitan even more if you are working on just a few portions. For the recipe below, use a 10-quart stock pot.

To make 4 quarts of chicken stock I used about 9 pounds of chicken parts. Originally, it’s a combination of whole chicken, chicken wings, and chicken feet. In the U.S. chicken feet are only available in Asian markets, which are in my case far away. I was curious whether I can make a decent chicken paitan (see Recipe Notes to learn about this term) by replacing the feet with more wings. The answer is yes, absolutely — 3lb pounds of drumsticks and 6lb of wings do the trick.

Tori Paitan (Torikotsu) Ramen
Tori Paitan (Torikotsu) Ramen
Tori Paitan (Torikotsu) Ramen
Tori Paitan (Torikotsu) Ramen

Tare

Tare (see Recipe Notes to learn about this term) is the ramen’s seasoning and defines the “type” of ramen. It can be simple or complex, combined or precooked, based on, but not limited to, one of three ingredients — shio (salt), shoyu (soy), or miso. I made a simple, mixed right in the bowl tare based on miso, aiming for bold umami flavors without changing the color of the stock. My version of tare is one of many, feel free to experiment with your favorite flavors.

Creamy Chicken Stock for Ramen | Tori Paitan | 鶏ガラパイタン

Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time4 hrs
Total Time21 hrs
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: chicken, Japanese, recipe, soup, stock
Servings: 4 quarts

Ingredients

for stock

  • 3 lb chicken drumsticks HEB All Natural, with fat and skin
  • 3 lb chicken wings HEB All Natural, with fat and skin
  • 3 lb chicken feet toes removed or replace with chicken wings
  • 1 each onion
  • 4 bunches scallions white ends
  • 4 inches ginger
  • 1 each carrot
  • 12 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp avocado oil for frying vegetables

for tare (per 1 bowl)

  • 1 tsp miso
  • 1/8 tsp red yuzu kosho
  • 1/2 tsp konbu cha
  • 1/8 tsp hot chili sesame oil

Instructions

  • Fill a large bowl with cold water. Prepare a heavy cleaver and thick wooden cutting board to cut through meat and bones with ease.
  • Chop the chicken parts and submerge them into cold water to soak refrigerated for 6-8 hours.
  • Strain colored water.
  • Wash chicken pieces under running cold water.
  • Transfer clean chicken pieces into a stock pot and cover with cold water 4" on top. Place over high heat, cover with a lid to bring to boiling. Reduce heat to medium and skim the foamy skum. Turn the heat to medium-high to make it boiling again. Keep boiling for an hour.
  • Meanwhile, prepare aromatics. Peel ginger and slice it 1/4" thick. Peel garlic. Peel and quarter onion. Peel carrot and chop it to large pieces. Wash and prepare white ends of scallions.
  • Place a skillet with avocado oil over medium-high heat. When oil starts smoking, add onions, garlic, and ginger and caramelize them without burning.
  • After the first hour of cooking the stock, add caramelized vegetables and scallions. Continue boiling for another two hours.
  • After the first three hours of boiling, the stock becomes thick and creamy. Remove and discard scallions. Turn heat to high for rapid boiling for the last half an hour. This step will emulsify the chicken fat collected on the top.
  • Strain the stock and squeeze more from the chicken solids. To emulsify chicken fat even better, use a blender. Then refrigerate or freeze, portioned.

to make tare

  • Measure miso paste, konbu cha powder, hot chili sesame oil, and red yuzu into each bowl.
  • Add 1/4 hot chicken stock and combine all ingredients well.

Notes

Ramen 101.2: Soup Basics—Pork and Chicken
Soup Categories: Paitan and Chintan
"A fundamental point about ramen soups is that they can be loosely divided into two main categories. Paitan (白湯) (meaning “white soup”) is a thick, cloudy soup. Chintan (清湯) (meaning “clear soup”) is clear, exactly as the name implies.
"As an example, tonkotsu ramens are almost always paitans. These soups are thick and creamy. They're full of fats and collagens extracted from pork bone marrow and cartilage. The fats provide tons of flavor, while both add body to the soup. If you cool a thick tonkotsu broth, it will rapidly solidify. But you can make chicken paitans, too. These toripaitan ramens have been ascendant in popularity in Japan over the past decade. Although the Japanese tonkotsu boom ended around the time the toripaitan boom began, tonkotsu ramen is still hot in the U.S. Using chicken feet is a key aspect of toripaitan: they are a great source of collagen and soup body."
Ramen 101.3 - Tare
Types of Ramen by Kobi's Kitchen
"Special Ramen Styles
[...]The other type of nouveau ramen I really like is Torikotsu Ramen. The stock of this type of ramen is made in a way similar to Tonkotsu but using chicken instead. After a long boiling time the resulting soup is similarly milky, heavy with gelatine and strong in meat flavour. This distinguishes it from the Hakodate style soup which is also made from chicken, but is clear. Torikotsu is typically topped with things like fried shallots, cabbage, scallion and perhaps a wedge of lemon. In some cases even the accompanying Chashu can be made from chicken as well. To try this type of less-common ramen, may I suggest a small Ramen chain in the Yokohama area called Matsuichiya."
Tori Paitan Ramen