RAMEN KAONASHI is currently serving as a Recipe Partner at Ramen Hero. As an experienced ramen chef, he will introduce us to Japanese ramen trends and even share some of his favorite recipes. If you are interested in his other content, check out his Blog and YouTube Channel!
For this recipe, I will be introducing the RAMEN KAONASHI’s "The Best Tori Paitan Ramen Recipe". Tori Paitan is a relatively new genre of ramen, but the impactful flavors and creamy mouth feel have made it an increasingly popular style. However, Tori Paitan is rather troublesome to prepare for many ramen chefs and I will explain the reason for this throughout the recipe. In the RAMEN KAONASHI video, I not only introduced the soup, but also the noodles and toppings, but the recipe below will focus solely on the soup.
- 400g Pork Feet
- 900g Chicken Carcass
- 1pc Onion
- 10pc Garlic
- 1/4cup Rice
- Add pork feet, chicken carcass and 2l of water to a large pot
- Bring to a boil on high heat
- When soup begins to boils, remove scum
- Add onion and garlic, and bring to a low heat and simmer for 1 hour
- Bring it back up to a boil on high heat for 30 minutes
- Crush the meat and bones
- Top up with water to it’s original level and bring to a boil
- Keep at boiling for 30 minutes
- Top up with water again to it’s original level and boil for another 30 minutes
- Top up with water (3rd time) and boil for another 30 min
- Top up with water again (4th time)
- Add rice into soup and boil for another 40 more minutes
- Take off the heat when the soup is creamy and fragrant
- Strain soup
- Soup is done! (Should yield about 1.3l)
What is Tori Paitan?
So some of you may be wondering, what is Tori Paitan? Tori is chicken and Paitan is Japanese for white, muddy soup. Written in Kanji the characters 白湯 (Paitan) is 白 (white) and 湯 (soup). The term originates in Chinese cooking.
In Chinese cuisine, there are various types of soups such as Maotan, Shantan, Chintan, and Paitan, but the two primarily used in ramen are the Chintan and Paitan. However, please note that the terms can be used in different ways in Chinese cooking outside of ramen. In the case of ramen, Chintan is used to describe a clear soup as opposed to Paitan. In Chinese cuisine, the term Chintan is a sweeping term used to describe chicken soup. More specifically, the term refrences a soup with mined meat added so that it can absorb the turbidity during the coagulation stage. Furthermore, by adding minced meat, it is possible to steep more flavors and umami in to the soup, a concept similar to the beurre clarifié of consommé. In Japanese ramen however, most times Chintan is not considered a Saotan despite its connotation in Chinese cooking so in this case with ramen, the word Chintan will refer to clear soup.
How to make Tori Paitan Soup
So how do you make Tori Paitan? Of course various ramen chefs have come up with different ways in which to prepare this soup, but it basically comes down to boiling chicken bones over high heat to achieve high levels of emulsion, much like a Tonkotsu soup. The biggest difference between the Tonkotsu soup and Tori Paitan however is that chicken bones are a lot softer than the pork equivalent. In other words, compared to Tonkotsu, a Tori Paitan can extract flavors in a shorter amount of time. This can be both a merit and a demerit. Keeping the delicious flavor of the chicken in Paitan is a lot more difficult as the bones are fragile and crumble easily making it more susceptible to flavor change throughout the cooking process. Therefore, many chefs struggle to maintain a balance between the flavor and creaminess of the soup.
Let’s take a look at my ramen recipe. First, I added pork feet and chicken carcass with water in to the pot. The reason I add the pork feat is that it provides collagen to the soup which is important in the emulsification process. If you’re reluctant to use pork feet because it is a Tori Paitan, or conceptually a chicken soup, you can substitute the pork feet for chicken feet. The onions and garlic are added to provide both sweetness and flavor to the soup, particularly the onions which when heated, give a sweetness to the soup which pairs very well in a Tori Paitan.
At the end rice is added to incorporate starch in to the soup giving the soup it’s characteristic viscosity. The technique of adding starch to provide thickness is used in various recipes, but the concept does apply in ramen soup as well. The starch in rice doesn’t increase the thickness of the soup, but rather keeps the soup from losing it’s viscosity even with continued heating which may occur without it.
The most important thing to keep in mind at every step of this recipe is to make sure it doesn’t burn. Particularly, at step 6 of the recipe when the bones and meat are crushed, the soup is susceptible to burning at the bottom so stir diligently to prevent it from happening. Another point of caution is when adding water as the bones and meat will sink to the bottom so please be alert even when the soup isn’t at a complete boil.
Another important step in the recipe is the timing at which to add water. Tori Paitan has a shorter window of optimal flavor extraction therefore it becomes necessary to adjust the concentration of the soup, but maintain it’s flavor profile without allowing it to solidify too much. In adding water, I want to prevent the soup from being too thick, but also ensure there is enough flavor during an otherwise optimal consistency, as well as prevent any flavor loss during the steeping process. The adjust with the water is difficult so please be aware of this. The purpose of the rice is to supplement the concentration to ease this adjustment. Many chefs struggle with keeping the consistency of the Tori Paitan so refer to both this recipe as well as your sense of taste and smell to adjust accordingly.
Potential of Tori Paitan
I talked extensively on the difficulty of making Tori Paitan, but will the number of shops offering this style increase regardless of the time and effort needed to prepare the soup? Personally I believe that Tori Paitan will become even more popular around the world mainly due to the popularity of chicken. While Tonkotsu ramen is most prevalent in the United States and many opt for a clear broth when using chicken, there are shops opening with the potential to popularize the Tori Paitan.
In particular, Nojo Ramen Tavern in San Francisco serves a Tori Paitan for their signature ramen, specifically the Soy Sauce Tori Paitan which features a high impact soup using chicken thighs and bones. Nojo is operated by AP Holdings Co. LTD which also operates Tsukada Farm in Japan so they are well versed using chicken. Despite not serving the Tori Paitan in Japan, they believed that this style would best utilize their ramen making skills and be accepted by the American consumers.The concept is quite ingenious and has become a popular shop because of it.
Additionally, MENSHO TOKYO, also in San Francisco, opted to serve the Tori Paitan at their US location. MENSHO operates several ramen shops throughout Japan serving unique menus at each location. Despite having a long repertoire of ramen styles to choose from, even MENSHO decided that the Tori Paitan would have the most potential to attract American ramen lovers to their small shop.
The dedication to this style and the two shop’s decision to choose the Tori Paitan gives me hope that this style will continue to grow both in Japan and abroad. For all you ramen lovers, be sure to try the Tori Paitan next time you see it on the menu and try and see if you can replicate it in your home kitchen! “Happy slurp your Tori Paitan ramen!”