Chashu pork belly ramen

  • medium
  • 4
  • 2 hours 40 minutes
Not yet rated

Ramen is a world-famous Japanese noodle soup, but the dish of thin wheat noodles in a rich pork broth actually originated in China. Making the dish at home takes a little effort, but the results are well worth it – especially when you follow Larkin's recipe for chashu (Japanese braised pork belly).

The key to any good ramen is in the stock you use, so make sure it's either the best quality you can find or ideally homemade. Be sure to taste regularly when adding the shoyu tare, too – getting the balance of flavours right is vital to an unforgettable bowlful.

First published in 2020




Pickled egg and bamboo

  • 50g of sake
  • 50g of mirin
  • 200g of light soy sauce
  • 30g of caster sugar
  • 2 star anise
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1l water
  • 6 eggs, fridge cold
  • 6 bamboo shoots, whole (available in Asian supermarkets)

Roasted garlic oil

  • 400ml of vegetable oil, or another neutral oil
  • 1 garlic bulb, cloves peeled and finely chopped

Pork belly

Shoyu tare

To finish


The pickles, pork and oil in this dish need to be made a day in advance, so prepare accordingly. For the pickles, place the sake, mirin, soy sauce, sugar, star anise, bay leaves and water in a saucepan and bring to the boil, then allow to cool
While the pickling liquid cools, bring a pan of salted water to the boil and cook the eggs for 6 minutes and the bamboo shoots for 5 minutes. Drain and chill in iced water, then carefully peel the eggs. Place both into the cooled pickling liquid and leave to pickle overnight
  • 6 eggs, fridge cold
  • 6 bamboo shoots, whole (available in Asian supermarkets)
For the pork, preheat an oven to 160°C/gas mark 3. Mix together the hoisin, peanut butter, oyster sauce, light soy and sugar, then rub this all over the pork belly. Place the pork into a deep dish, then pour over enough water or chicken stock to submerge the meat. Seal the dish tightly with foil, then cook for 2 hours
At this point, you can either remove any large pieces of fat and shred the pork (leaving it in the cooking liquid so it doesn’t dry out), or press it between 2 baking sheets with weights on top to create neat rectangles (as shown in the picture above). Whether you’re shredding or pressing the pork, leave it overnight in some of the cooking liquid
For the roasted garlic oil, bring the oil to 160°C in a deep pan. Add the chopped garlic and cook until the bubbles start to slow down (this means the garlic is losing its water content). Remove the pan from the heat before the garlic starts to colour, then leave to cook for a minute or 2 in the residual heat until the garlic turns a light caramel colour. Strain the oil into a heatproof bowl or jar (reserving the garlic), then leave to cool to 100°C. At this point, add the garlic back into the oil and leave to infuse overnight
  • 400ml of vegetable oil, or another neutral oil
  • 1 garlic bulb, cloves peeled and finely chopped
The next day, prepare the shoyu tare by placing the mirin, sake and sugar into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the soy and vinegar, bring back to the boil, then set aside
You are now ready to finish the ramen ready for serving. Pour the chicken and pork stocks into a pan and place over a medium heat to warm through, and bring a separate large pot of water to the boil. Strain the garlic oil into a bottle or jar, discarding the garlic – you will have more oil than you need for this recipe but it keeps for months
  • 500g of pork stock, ideally homemade
  • 500g of chicken stock, ideally homemade
Depending on how you have prepared the pork belly, you can either reheat the shredded pork in a saucepan (it should have soaked up plenty of the cooking liquid overnight) or cut the pressed pork belly into 4 rectangles and sear on a very hot griddle pan
To serve divide the hot stock between 4 bowls. Add a tablespoon of garlic oil and 3 tablespoons of the shoyu tare to each bowl – this seasons and balances the flavour of the stock (you may want to add slightly more or less shoyu tare to the stock; taste until you're happy with the flavour). Blanch the noodles in the boiling water until al dente – this takes no more than 5 seconds if they’re fresh – then immediately drain and place in the bowls to stop them congealing
Place a rectangle of pork belly (or a spoonful of shredded pork) into each bowl, along with a drained egg and bamboo tip. Garnish with a sheet of nori and the spring onions, then serve immediately

From Masterchef finalist to the owner of Bristol noodle bars, Daily Noodles, Larkin Cen's pan-Asian cooking is packed full of authenticity, playfulness and innovation in equal measure.

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