Japanese Crispy Chicken Ramen

For the Chicken Stock

  • 1 large chicken carcass, plus the wings, chopped
  • 60ml vegetable oil
  • 100g button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 stick celery, sliced carrot, peeled & sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled & sliced
  • 5 shallots (or 1 onion), sliced thin
  • 2 litres water
  • 4 sprigs of thyme

Lightly brown the chopped chicken carcasses with the oil in a medium sized pot until golden brown. Add cold water to cover and bring to the boil, skim off the impurities, which have arisen—but not the fat. Add the rest of the ingredients to the pot and turn the stove to low heat. Simmer for 2–3 hours and strain. The intensity of the stock is important. If it is too weak, boil it rapidly until the reduced stock has a better flavour. The clarity of the stock is not important for ramen; it is quite traditional to have a cloudy soup base.

For the Ramen & Crispy Chicken

  • 2 large chicken breasts, sliced in half through the middle horizontally, so as to attain 4 thin flat _ breasts
  • salt & pepper
  • 100g flour
  • 2 eggs, lightly whisked
  • 200g Japanese bread crumbs (panko), or powdered corn flakes
  • 250ml vegetable oil, for shallow frying
  • 360g straight ramen noodles (90g per bowl) or 4 packets of 2-Minute minute noodles, cooked
  • 4 hardboiled eggs (8–9 min), peeled and cut in half lengthwise
  • 100g bean sprouts
  • 8 spring onions, sliced on the bias
  • 4 tsp of roughly chopped coriander leaf
  • 12 slices of red chilli
  • 1 teaspoon of Togarashi powder, Japanese chilli spice blend (available from good Asian food stores)

Using a mallet, flatten the chicken breasts so that they are even throughout, this allows even cooking time. Season moderately with salt and pepper, and dust in the flour, patting off any excess flour with your hands. Dip the chicken breast in the whisked egg and then into the bread crumbs. They can be stored like this for a day or two in the fridge. Place a deep frying pan on the stove with the frying oil in it and heat it to around 170–180ºC. The chicken should begin to sizzle as it is placed in the pan—if it is too hot, it will burn before it cooks inside, if it is too cool, it will not be nicely coloured before it overcooks. Cook the breasts until a golden colour and transfer to kitchen towel to absorb some of the oil (approximately 3 minutes each side). Meanwhile, divide the hot noodles between 4 bowls and ladle over the hot soup stock, add 2 boiled egg halves, 1/4 of the bean sprouts, spring onions, coriander and sliced chilli to each bowl. Slice the chicken breasts into 6–7 pieces and place neatly on top. Sprinkle Togarashi on top to finish, and serve with chopsticks and a spoon.

Serves 4

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Photography C & D Helerli • Recipes Peter Templehoff