Add the water to a large stockpot and set over high heat. Rinse the kombu under running water, then add it to the water. Bring the water to a simmer, then turn off the heat. Cover and let steep for 10 minutes.
Fish out the kombu from the pot. See recipe notes, below, to learn how you can reuse this kombu in a quick salad. (If you do not want to reuse the kombu, discard it.)
Rinse the dried shiitake under cold running water, then add them to the pot. Turn the heat back on to high heat, bring to a boil, then lower the heat. Simmer for 30 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, remove the skiitakes from the pot. Transfer the shiitakes to a bowl and save them to make Pickled Shiitakes (get this recipe at the bottom of my main Momofuku Ramen post.)
Add the chicken thighs and/or drumsticks to the pot. Adjust the heat level to keep the broth at a gentle simmer. Using a spoon, skim and discard any froth or foam that rises to the surface of the broth while the chicken is simmering and replenish the water as necessary to keep the chicken covered throughout.
After about 1 hour, test the chicken: the meat should pull away from the bones easily. If it doesn’t, simmer until you reach that stage. Using a slotted spoon, remove the chicken from the pot and transfer to a plate. Let the chicken legs cool for a bit, then pull all the meat off and save it to serve over the ramen later.
While the chicken simmers, preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut the skin off the pieces of pork bones you’re using, if there’s any, but leave the fat on. Set the pork bones on the baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes, or until the bones are golden brown.
Transfer the roasted pork bones to the broth. Add the bacon and adjust the heat level to keep the broth to a simmer. Using a spoon, skim and discard any froth or foam that rises to the surface of the broth and replenish with water to keep the broth at the same level throughout. After 45 minutes, fish out the bacon and discard it. Keep simmering the pork meat and bones for 1 hours, replenishing the water as needed. Add the green onions, onion, and carrot to the pot, and simmer for 1 hour more.
Remove and discard spent bones and vegetables. Pass the broth through a fine mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth. Pour the broth back in the pot.
In a small bowl, whisk together the ramen seasoning ingredients. If necessary, microwave the mixture for a few seconds to make sure the salt melts into the sauce.
Season the ramen broth:
Stir about half of the ramen seasoning into the broth. Taste and adjust to your taste. Remember David Chang’s advice: the ramen broth should be “not quite too salty but almost.” The flavor of your ramen broth depends on the type of bones and the saltiness of the bacon you used, so taste, trust your instinct, and adjust as needed.
STORAGE AND FREEZING INSTRUCTIONS: Store the ramen broth in airtight containers in portions (remember you’ll need 2 cups/500 ml per serving.) Refrigerate until cold. You can keep the ramen broth refrigerated for up to 4 days, or freeze it for up to 1 month (or more, if you have a chest freezer.)
A layer of fat will float to the top of the ramen broth and harden as it cools. Do not discard the fat. This fat is what makes this broth so delicious and flavorful. This fat will melt back into the broth as you reheat it before serving.
If you have limited storage capacity, you can save on space by simmering the broth further, until it is reduced by half. This means that you’ll store 1 cup (250 ml) broth per portion. Make sure to add a note on the container to remember to stir 1 cup (250 ml) water back into the broth (per portion) as you reheat it for service.
HOW TO REUSE KOMBU: Recycle the kombu you used in the broth by turning it into a quick salad. Sliced the steeped kombu pieces thinly and transfer to a bowl. Drain and rinse a small can of bamboo shoots (6.7 oz/199 ml). Pat dry and add to the kombu. Add 1 tbsp (15 ml) toasted sesame oil, 1 tbsp (15 ml) rice vinegar, 1 minced garlic clove, 1 tsp (5 ml) Japanese soy sauce, 1/2 tsp (2 ml) granulated sugar, 1/2 tsp (2 ml) crushed red peppers, and a pinch of salt. Toss to combine. Enjoy right away, or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
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