Let’s prepare the yakibuta, roasted pork belly. Cut the pork belly in half.
Crush the ginger root with the side of a knife.
Next, sauté the pork in a small pot.
Flip the pork over and sauté each side until golden brown.
With a pair of tongs, squeeze the fat out of the pork.
Remove the fat with a paper towel.
Pour in the water until it covers the top of the pork. Add the green part of the long green onion and the crushed ginger root.
Place a clear bowl onto the pork as a weight.
Bring it to a boil on medium high heat and thoroughly remove the foam with a mesh strainer. Reduce to the lowest heat possible and simmer for 2 hours.
Occasionally add hot water and make sure the top of the meat is always covered.
Pierce the pork with a bamboo skewer to check if the inside is completely cooked.
When it is ready, place the pork into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
Cool the pork belly broth, allowing the fat to rise to the surface.
Let's make the seasoning for the soft-boiled eggs. Combine the soy sauce, sake and mirin in a bowl.
Heat the mixture in a microwave for about 30 seconds.
Put the seasoning into a small plastic bag.
Let’s make the soft-boiled eggs. Make sure to allow the eggs to reach room temperature before using. Place the eggs in a pot of water and turn on the burner. Gently rotate the eggs until the water begins to boil.
Boil for 4 minutes and cool the eggs in a bowl of ice water.
Gently remove the eggshell in the water to prevent the eggs from breaking.
Put the eggs into the bag of seasoning, allowing to sit for a few hours at room temperature or sit in the fridge overnight.
Let's prepare the dashi stock. Soak the kombu seaweed and niboshi, dried baby sardines in a pot of water for about 2 hours.
Let's prepare the toppings. Cut the white part of the long green onion into 4cm (1.6") lengths. Make a cut along the side of each, removing the cores.
Stack the onion layers and chop into thin strips.
Lightly rinse the onions in a bowl of water and drain well.
Slice the narutomaki, a type of steamed fish cake, into thin slices.
Cook the stems of the spinach and then the leaves.
Quickly cool the spinach in ice water to help retain the color. Tightly squeeze out the excess water.
Cut the spinach into 4cm (1.6") lengths.
Remove the soft-boiled eggs from the seasoning. Use a string to cut the soft-boiled eggs in half lengthwise.
To make the dashi stock, heat the pot of dashi on medium heat. Remove the kombu when the stock begins to boil.
Remove the foam with a mesh strainer.
Continue to simmer for 5 minutes and remove the sardines.
Be sure not to cover with a lid otherwise the fishy smell will remain in the stock.
Let’s reduce the pork belly broth. Thoroughly remove the fat from the surface of the broth.
Combine the broth, soy sauce and sake, measuring the total volume.
Reheat the pork broth in a pot. Add the brown sugar, dissolving it completely.
Occasionally measure the broth, reducing the volume to less than 300ml (1.27 cups).
Place the pork belly into the pot and cover with the broth. When the pork is heated, turn off the burner. Allow the pork to absorb the broth in the cooling process.
When cooled, place the pork belly onto the cutting board. Slice into half inch slices.
Heat the pork belly slices with a toaster oven just before you serve.
Let's cook the noodles. Put the fresh ramen noodles into a large pot of boiling water. Cooking time depends on the thickness of the noodles so follow the directions on the package.
In the meantime, let's make the ramen broth. Combine the chicken stock powder and half of the heated pork belly broth in a bowl.
Add the piping-hot kombu and niboshi dashi stock to the pork belly broth. You can adjust the amount of dashi stock to your taste.
Turn off the burner and strain the noodles with a mesh strainer.
Thoroughly remove the excess water, placing the noodles into the hot ramen broth. Loosen up the noodles with chopsticks.
Top with the toasted pork belly, narutomaki fish cake, spinach, seasoned soft-boiled egg, menma bamboo shoots, long green onion and toasted nori seaweed.
Finally, sprinkle on the pepper and enjoy the seven toppings with the savory ramen broth!
How to Enjoy the Used Kombu and Niboshi
Combine 3 tbsp flour and 1 tbsp water, and mix. Add the niboshi and kombu cut into the same size of niboshi to the batter, and toss to coat. You don't need to dry the niboshi and kombu. Add toasted sesame seeds to taste. Heat oil and deep-fry bite-size tempura until crispy. The amount of oil doesn't have to be large like we showed in the katsu curry recipe.
Be careful not to simmer the pork belly after adding the condiments to the broth otherwise the pork will become tough.
Avoid using niboshi whose belly is yellow. The yellow belly indicates your niboshi isn't fresh.