Hao SiFu's Pork Bone Broth
Updated: Dec 3, 2019
After a very cold day outside at Eastern Market this past Saturday, Paul asked that I make some soup. Last year, I came across this recipe in a reddit post (who says wasting time on the internet doesn't pay?); apparently it was used as the basis for a popular ramen noodle soup at a now-defunct Chinese restaurant. (This recipe would make tonkotsu broth for Japanese ramen.) This is a great way to use pork bones -- something we always have in great abundance, and which make a frugal basis for a recipe. My only change to the recipe is to add 1T of rice vinegar to the cooking broth, in order to release more minerals from the bone and increase the nutritional value.
I like to use a pork tail for some of the bone, since it has lots of collagen, which makes for a thicker soup; it also has a good chunk of fatback, which after boiling can be separated, chopped, and blended with the strained broth for a extra rich broth. The only "expensive ingredients are the dried mushrooms and dried scallops. A larger bag of dried shitake is not too costly at an Asian market, has many uses beyond ramen broth, and keeps for a long time if stored properly. A pack of dried scallops will last you several batches of ramen, but if you're not sure, you can omit them.
The recipe makes about 1.5 gallons of bone broth -- I prefer to do a big batch all at once since it takes a long time to cook on the stovetop. If you do halve the recipe, maintain the same cooking time -- releasing minerals and collagen from the bone is a function of time and temperature.
4-5 pounds of pork soup bones (marrow bones and collagen-rich cuts like uncured hocks or trotters)
1 pound of chicken bones (neck or wings, again with plenty of collagen, work best)
2 large onions, cut in half
6 cloves of garlic, lightly crushed
1/2 Chinese white radish, roughly chopped roughly (substitute carrots if radish is not available)
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, whole and unpeeled
Handful of dried shitake mushroom (pre-soaked)
Handful of conpoy (dried scallop)
1 t of crushed black pepper
Several dashes of Chinese rice wine
1 T rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar
Soy sauce or salt to taste
Boil the bones in large pot for at least 10 minutes. Remove from water and rinse carefully under tap water. Thoroughly wash and clean the both, discarding the water and foamy scum that should have accumulated on top.
Crack any pork long bones along the middle with a mallet or large cleaver, if possible. Place washed and cracked bones in clean pot with cold water (enough to cover the bones plus half again as much) and bring to boil. Add all other ingredients except for the salt or soy sauce.
If cooking entirely on the stove top, allow the water to gently boil with lid slightly ajar for at least 8 hours (the longer the better, even overnight) stirring occasionally and adding water if too much evaporates off. It will smell terrible for the first 2 hours – this is normal. If using a pressure cooker, cook under high pressure for 2 hours, then remove lid and simmer on stovetop for another hour or until the fats in the broth have emulsified, giving the broth a rich, opaque, creamy white color.
Strain all solids out of the broth, place into a clean pot, and season to taste with salt or soy sauce. Optional step -- if you used a fat rich cut like the tail, you can remove some of the not very soft back fat from the meat and bones; return it to the pot and and use a hand blender to blend it completely into the liquid for an extra rich soup. Warm the broth up as warm as possible without letting it boil. Ladle broth into a large bowl and add noodles, protein, and vegetables of your choice. Try roast pork, bok choy and mushrooms with egg noodles.
If you have a dog or cat, you can pick the meat off the soup bones for them as a special treat! Just avoid giving onions, which can be harmful for dogs.