The World Ends with You is a fantastic game coated with positive life lessons. Even the title of the game gets explained near the end as a motto for living to the fullest and expanding your own horizons (even if it initially sounds like a pretty negative saying). As Neku struggles to find his purpose through the adversity presented to him, he comes across a struggling Ramen shop. He eventually helps the owner, Ken Doi, realize that chasing trends and being adventurous isn’t as important as being true to yourself and doing what you love. In this recipe’s case, what we love is some delicious ramen!
One food item I had to get while in Japan was ramen. I LOVE ramen! During the trip we stopped at the Shin Yokohama Ramen Museum. It was a collection of shops with different style of ramen from all of Japan. This was the first time my husband was able to try legit ramen because there were non-pork based options. For the past year I’ve done research and a few experiments to figure out how to make ramen from scratch. Several things about this recipe: it is a chicken based ramen instead of a pork one, the total time for the recipe is three days, and this recipe does require a bit of determination to get it all put together. However, if you commit to it, I promise it is tasty!
Required Equipment: stock pot, steam basket, pots, ziplock bags, bowls, fine mesh spoon
Servings: 4-8 bowls (depends on how large you make these)
Chicken “Chashu” recipe inspired by No Recipes
4 chicken thighs, boneless and skin on
3 chicken tenders
¼ cup soy sauce
1 tbsp sake
3 tbsp mirin
1 tsp sugar
4 garlic cloves, grated
Ajitsuke Tamago (Soy Sauce Soaked Egg)
½ cup soy sauce
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup sake
¼ cup mirin
5-10 chicken bones
15 chicken wings
3 leeks, cut into large pieces
6 garlic cloves
1 konbu (dried kelp)
2 tbsp bonito (dried tuna flakes)
6 dried shiitake mushrooms
large piece ginger, quartered
4 scallions, cut large pieces
1 onion, quartered
10-12 cups water, plus more as it cooks
ramen noodles, follow instructions on package
nori (dried seaweed)
Two nights before you plan to eat the ramen, begin the preparation of the chicken chashu. In a ziplock bag combine the soy sauce, sake, mirin, sugar, ginger and garlic. Mix everything together. Place the chicken thighs in the bag, making sure the chicken is fully covered in the marinade. Put the bag in the refrigerator for 18-24 hours.
The night before you plan to eat, bring water to a boil. Make sure you have a steam basket for the pot you are using. Remove the chicken from the marinade and pat dry.Take a large sheet of aluminum foil and arrange the chicken thighs, skin side down, as pictured above.
Generously salt and pepper the chicken tenders. Place the chicken tenders on the chicken thighs. This next step can be tricky and requires a bit of patience. Roll the chicken thighs around the chicken tenders.
Hold on to the chicken tightly and wrap it like a burrito with the aluminum foil. It is important to wrap this really well. Place the wrapped chicken in the steam basket, cover and steam for one hour. Remove the chicken from the steam basket and place it on a plate to cool (do not remove the aluminum foil). Once it has cooled place in the refrigerator until tomorrow.
Another item to prepare the night before is the ajitsuke tamago. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Gently place the eggs in the pot and cook for six minutes. Pour out the hot water and place the eggs under cold water. Carefully remove the shell for the soft-boiled egg. Take your time with this it is very easy to break the egg white and cause a huge mess.
In a bowl, mix the soy sauce, sugar, mirin, sake and water. Pour into a ziplock bag and place the eggs inside. Seal and make sure the eggs are fully covered. Place in the refrigerator and marinade for 24 hours. These eggs will hold in the refrigerator for up to three days.
Ramen day – at least five hours before you intend on eating, heat up an oven to 400℉. On a baking sheet place the chicken wings and bake for 45 minutes.
While the chicken wings are baking place a large stock pot with 10-12 cups of water over medium-high heat. Add the konbu and bonito. Bring to a low simmer and then turn off the heat. Let it sit there for 10 minutes. Keep an eye on the water level – add more as it get absorbed.
Carefully remove konbu and bonito flakes from the pot. Turn the heat back on and add the dried shiitake mushrooms. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 30 minutes. Remember to watch your water level as it cooks, we want to end up with 10-12 cups of broth at the end.
Remove the shiitake mushrooms. Add the chicken bones and baked chicken wings. Bring to a low simmer and cook for at least 2 hours. While the chicken is cooking in the pot skim any foam that forms and fat that appears around the top (I recommend checking every 20-30 minutes). Again remember to check your water level throughout this process.
After two hours add the leek, garlic, ginger, scallions and onion to the pot. Cook for another 2 hours and continue to remove foam and fat from the broth. One last reminder keep that water level at the same spot.
Remove all the solid ingredients from the broth. Flavor the broth with soy sauce and salt until you are satisfied with the flavor.
When making the bowl of ramen place the nori on the side of the bowl. To keep it in place I wet the side of the bowl and then press the nori on it. Next add the cooked ramen noodles.
Take the chicken chashu out and slice into thick pieces with a serrated knife. I like to heat the chicken up a bit by placing each of the slice on a hot pan for a minute on each side. Place the warmed chicken on top of the ramen noodles. Follow that by placing the scallions, egg and any other toppings you would like. Finally pour the broth, serve and enjoy!