Boil

Tori Paitan (Chicken White Broth)

June 23, 2021
5 Ratings
Photo by Food52
Author Notes

In Japanese ramen, the thick and opaque broth made from pork bones is called tonkotsu. And its equivalent made from chicken is called tori paitan, meaning chicken white broth. And that’s what we’re making here. Why chicken and not pork? Simply put, because it’s much more practical and easier to achieve at home. The softness of chicken bones allows them to be blended easily with an immersion blender, taking a shortcut to releasing every single flavor molecule within and making it possible to forge an incredibly concentrated white broth in 6 hours. Flavorwise, it is not as consolidated and heavy as tonkotsu, but it still packs a clean yet deeply chickeny flavor.

Reprinted with permission from From THE ART OF ESCAPISM COOKING: A Survival Story, with Intensely Good Flavors by Mandy Lee, published by William Morrow Cookbooks. Copyright © 2019 by Mandy Lee. Reprinted courtesy of Harper Collins Publishers (https://www.harpercollins.com/9780062802378/the-art-of-escapism-cooking)Mandy @ Lady and pups

Watch This Recipe
Tori Paitan (Chicken White Broth)
  • Prep time 30 minutes
  • Cook time 6 minutes
  • Makes 9 to 10 ramen servings
Ingredients
  • 3 3/4 pounds (1,700 grams) chicken scaffolds and scraps, including bones, necks, wings, and heads
  • 1 1/2 pounds (700 grams) chicken feet
  • 1 extra large or 2 medium onions
  • 4 1/2 quarts (4,300 milliliters) cold water
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Remove any skins on the chicken necks and butts, but skins on the wings and feet are fine (this eliminates unwanted fat). In a large stockpot, add the chicken scraps and feet and fill with enough water to cover. Cook over high heat just until the water comes to a boil and you see scums and impurities floating to the surface.
  2. Meanwhile, peel the onion and cut into quarters. Now discard the cooking water and rinse every piece of chicken scraps and feet under running water until clean from all scums and impurities. Wash the pot as well and return all the scraps and feet back into the pot, along with the onions.
  3. Add the 4 1/2 quarts of cold water, taking note of the current water level; remember where it is, because that’s where you’ll keep refilling the water back to. Now place the pot over high heat, and once it comes to a boil, reduce to medium to medium-high heat to maintain a very active boil: not simmering, not bubbling, but a boil. Place the lid slanted over the pot so it only partially covers it by about two-thirds, and cook for 3 hours. You can also do this in a pressure cooker for 1 1/2 hours, as I always do.
  4. After 3 hours (or 1 1/2 hours in a pressure cooker), the water will have reduced significantly, and the bones should have been cooked long enough to become very fragile. With a pair of heavy-duty scissors, snap all the bones, necks, and feet in half (this will help the blending go smoothly).
  5. Insert your immersion blender into the stock carefully, to avoid hot splatter, and pulse until you have obliterated every single solid substance in the pot. The mixture should now look completely opaque, creamy, and slightly thick. Refill the water back to its original level and boil for another 3 hours. Do not use pressure cooking from this point on. Just leave the pot half-covered at a constant and active boil. Come back every 15 to 30 minutes to stir the pot so that the sediments don’t settle and burn at the bottom, and refill the water back to its original level. Boil for at least 30 minutes after the last refill.
  6. Strain the broth through a fine cheesecloth, squeezing out as much liquid as you can, and discard the solids. As the broth cools, a thin layer of fat will float to the surface. Do not remove this fat. You’ll risk losing the milky substance that the Japanese call 乳脂 (milk fat), which is what gives the broth its body and color.
  7. If not using immediately, divide the broth into 2-cup portions and freeze until needed. You may notice that once the broth has cooled, it separates into a yellower milky layer and a whiter, clearer layer. This is totally normal, and it will be boiled and beaten back into emulsion later.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Mandy Lee
    Mandy Lee
  • Ahtoy
    Ahtoy
  • Frozen.waste
    Frozen.waste
  • Diane Hardin
    Diane Hardin

7 Reviews

Ahtoy June 23, 2021
What a genius idea for home cooks to more easily access something so rich and intense like tonkotsu. I have used this recipe in so many applications already and it is now hard to go back to any broth that isn't this rich. Mandy Lee is an outstanding creator and teacher. I rely on her book for so many recipes and trust her judgment. These days, if there is something I want to eat or try to make, I go see if Mandy has already made it first.
 
Frozen.waste March 7, 2021
Still need to make some adjustments, but this worked out well. To be safe, I tested the chicken bones with a pair of heavy shears prior to pulsing and that did the trick. The bones in the chicken feet were much more durable than any of the others, so I ended up cooking this overnight just to make sure everything was soft and ready to go. The broth is really soft and creamy, so that was great.

Two issues: First, I need a good tare recipe with a whiter base, so as not to fully darken the broth. Not the author’s issue, but the soup (obviously) has no salt in it, so getting the right tare and the right balance is pretty key.

Second, I still need to let the soup cool, but I think I must have lost a lot of fat somewhere along the way. Out of the pot, it was super fatty but after straining out all the blended detritus, the texture is really more from the nuked bones. Might come back after I let it cool, so will wait and see how that works out on a second tasting.
 
Diane H. October 28, 2020
this worked beautifully! I had a bigger-boned chicken, so I snipped the bones in half and made sure to cook them long enough until they could be crushed with tongs (as directed). beautiful stuff!
 
GVKW October 24, 2020
Well, that was a Charlie Foxtrot of epic proportions.

Followed the instructions to the letter. After 3+ hours at a rolling boil with the lid partly off, replenishing 4-5 cups of water every half hour (brought up to temp in the microwave before adding, so as not to disrupt the boil), the third pulse shattered my Cuisinart immersion blender blade.

Fished out both halves of the immersion blender blade, let it all cool a bit, and attempted another way; Mt. Vesuvius would be proud. My Cuisinart 14Cup food processor refused to do anything but choke on those bones and throw backspray all over the kitchen. (And for the record, I only put two ladlefuls in - WAY under max liquid line.)

Cleaned THAT up, called my boyfriend for a good solid sobbing session, then my brother (whose birthday meal this is supposed be the highlight of, this weekend) to warn him that he might be SOL.

Called my bestie on Maui (5 time zones away) and she suggested maybe a few hours in an Instant Pot would help the bones soften up...? So that's where I'm at now - praying that for anything that might salvage this debacle.

Also checked in with a fb group for line cooks, who unanimously agreed that there's zero chance this recipe would ever actually work. Chicken bones would need to boil 12+ hours at LEAST, to get soft enough to pulse blend, I'm told.

Whether I manage to salvage this stock or not, I think I'm gonna be returning the cookbook by the author of this recipe that I overoptimistically (and obviously prematurely) ordered off A-zon before attempting this death march.
 
Mandy L. October 24, 2020
Hi there, sorry it didn’t work out for you. But many ppl have successfully made this recipe at home and shared their result with me. Some even used turkey bones. I would suggest cutting the bones down to smaller segments if the bones are long before boiling. Or use a heavy kitchen shears to do it after boiling and before blending. Hope you have better luck from here on :)
 
Diane H. October 28, 2020
she explains exactly how to tell if the bones are soft enough to blend or not at 7:30. if you can't crush them with tongs, then you need to cook them longer. it really doesn't have to take 12 hours at least, but 12 hours is fine if that's how you want to do it. or use a pressure cooker/instant pot. easy. no broken blender blades. it's all in the video.
 
GVKW October 28, 2020
Yeah, and because I'm not a total idiot and I watched the video three times prior to starting the recipe, I checked them with tongs, just like the video showed. And they fell to pieces, just like in the video. And then they destroyed my immersion blender in three pulses (not like in the video).

As it turns out, 3 hours in the Instant Pot on high pressure does the job nicely. And I can make a half batch with one quarter the effort. So that's a plus.

But, to be totally fair, after three days of futzing with the damned stuff, it *was* absolutely delicious. I just consider myself duly reminded not to blindly trust any recipe I haven't personally made.