Creamy Vegetarian Miso Ramen

I didn’t think it was possible, but we discovered a delicious vegetarian ramen to rival my Vegetarian Curried Coconut and Garlic Ramen. This recipe has a completely different flavor profile; where the previous recipe was tangy and spicy (coconutty, tomatoey, curry), this one is packed with umami (earthy, mushroom, miso). I die.

Servings: 2

Ingredients

  • 400 ml water
  • 1 piece of kombu (get the one with white crusty stuff on it), cut into small slivers
  • 4-6 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 4 in piece of daikon, sliced
  • 1 tsp capers
  • 1 head of roasted garlic (bake it in the oven for 40 minutes at 205 C, wrapped in an aluminum sachet with olive oil drizzled over the nipped tips)
  • 1/2 inch of ginger, minced
  • 1 freshly sliced Bird’s eye chili (or equivalent)
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp miso paste
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp mirin
  • 1 cup unsweetened soy milk
  • cooked ramen noodles (I don’t cook the noodles until I’m ready to serve the soup)
  • 2 bunches of bok choy, sliced
  • your choice of fresh tofu skin or pan fried tofu
  • 2 soft boiled eggs
  • 1 cup fresh mung bean sprouts
  • 2 sliced scallions
  • Chili Oil to taste
  • 1 tbsp dry roasted sesame seeds

Directions

  1. In a medium pot, simmer the water, kombu, capers, daikon, and shiitake mushrooms for about 30 minutes. This is our dashi.
    • Once the mushrooms are rehydrated, I like to slice them
  2. In a soup pot, caramelize the onion using the sesame oil (cook it low and slow for 30 minutes, until it browns)
  3. Add ginger, miso paste, soy sauce, garlic, and fresh chili
  4. Crush the sesame seeds with a mortar and pestle, set aside
  5. Add the mirin to loosen the browned bits in the soup pot
  6. Add the dashi and soy milk to the soup pot
  7. Bring to a low simmer
  8. Add bok choy and bean sprouts, cook until the boy choy is wilted, about another 5-10 minutes
  9. For each serving: place an egg and a few pieces of tofu over the cooked ramen noodles, and pour the ramen broth on top
  10. Garnish with scallions, chili oil, sesame seeds

Mor Kulambu

One of my favorite flavor profiles is creamy, sour, and spicy – this dish hits all those nodes. I guess you could describe this as a classic South Indian yogurt soup, that takes a versatile range of vegetables, and sometimes features some mouth watering vadas (fried doughballs). Every household has a slightly different recipe, and here is just one variation.

Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of plain yogurt at room temperature
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 fresh, sliced Asian chilis (Bird’s eye will do just fine)
  • 1 tbsp toor dal, soaked for 2 hours
  • 1 tbsp white rice, soaked for 2 hours
  • 1/2 in piece of ginger, sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 1/4 cup grated coconut
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/8 tsp asafoetida
  • 1 sprig of curry leaves
  • 1 crushed, dry red chili
  • Your choice of: zucchini, eggplant, okra, or vada
  • cilantro for garnish

Directions

  1. Saute the ginger, garlic, and fresh chilis until the garlic just starts to brown
  2. Blend the toor dal, rice, ginger/garlic/chili, coconut and a little water until it is finely ground
  3. Temper the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, asafoetida, curry leaves, turmeric and dry red chili in a medium sized pan
    1. Add the mustard seeds to hot oil, and cook (covered) until they stop popping
    2. Take the pan off the heat
    3. Add the remaining ingredients, stirring well
  4. Add the vegetables, cook for about 5-6 minutes, until tender
  5. Add the ground coconut mix, stir well, cooking for about 1-2 more minutes
  6. Gently stir in the yogurt and salt, and reduce the heat
  7. Adjust the consistency by adding some water, as needed
  8. Garnish with cilantro
  9. Serve with rice or rotis

Zucchini Bread

I met some resistance from our resident Indian on the notion of using zucchini in a sweet dish, but by the end of the third slice, we rounded up another zucchini bread convert.

Servings: one 8×4 in loaf pan

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg (about half a nut)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup melted butter (100 g)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract, or beans from 1 vanilla pod
  • 1 cup of grated zucchini (~ 1 small zucchini)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 160 C
  2. Grease the loaf pan
  3. Mix the eggs, zucchini, sugar, butter, vanilla in a bowl
  4. Separately combine the dry ingredients
  5. Gradually incorporate the flour mix into the egg mix; stir well to prevent a lumpy batter
  6. Pour the batter in the loaf pan and tamp it
  7. Bake for 45-60 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick/chopstick comes out clean
  8. Cool for 30 minutes before attempting to unmold

Lemon Basil Orzo with Goat Cheese and Toasted Sunflower Seeds

The delicate flavors in this easy pasta salad were a hit with our German friends, but left something spicier to be desired with our resident Indian (Swamy’s two cents: “It’s no Bachelor Boys, I’ll tell you that”)

Serves: 4-6

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of uncooked orzo pasta (250 g)
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 150 g goat cheese
  • 1 cup of fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 75 g sunflower seeds

Directions

  1. Cook the orzo pasta according to package directions
  2. Dry roast the sunflower seeds (toast the seeds in a pan on the stovetop, no butter/oil needed)
  3. Stir all ingredients together

Blueberry Almond Coffee Cake

I love the way the nutmeg and almond flavors play off of each other in this recipe. For next time – the blueberries are so sweet that using less sugar would bring better balance to the cake (adjusted recipe below).

Serves: one 22 cm cake pan, or 8 slices (I used a springform cake pan – very easy to release the cake)

Ingredients

  • 50 g melted butter (around 1/4 cup)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup of sugar
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 100 g almond slivers
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup quark and 1/4 cup plain yogurt (possible substitute: 1/2 cup of sour cream)
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 3/4 cup fresh blueberries
  • half of a nutmeg (ground) – I would estimate this is between 1/4 – 1/2 tsp
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • sliced almonds, to sprinkle on top

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 170 C, using the convection setting (without the convection setting: 175 C)
  2. Combine the butter and sugar; mix it until the sugar is dissolved
  3. Add the egg, almond extract, milk, yogurt, and quark
  4. Separately mix the dry ingredients together
  5. Gradually add the dry mix into the wet mix, making sure to incorporate the flour smoothly in the batter
  6. Fold in the blueberries and slivered almonds
  7. Spread the batter in the cake pan
  8. Bake for 22-25 minutes, or until a tooth pick inserted in the cake comes out clean
  9. Sprinkle sliced almonds on top
  10. Let the cake rest for about 20 minutes before trying to unmold it

Puff Pastry Almond Pear Tart

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I’ve been on a baking kick lately. I think it’s because I’m immersed in a culture that loves sweets more than Americans. Pears and almonds complement each other so well, and they are in abundance in Germany. This tart came together surprisingly fast because the puff pastry crust was store-bought. I’m not ashamed. I used a 26 cm springform, which yields around 8 slices of tasty.

Ingredients

  • 1 package of puff pastry (“Blättertieg”), thawed
  • 200 g marzipan
  • 1 cup of almond meal
  • 4 small ripe pears, peeled, cored, and halved
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C.
  2. Line a 26 cm springform with the puff pastry.
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine the marzipan, almond meal, eggs, butter, sugar, vanilla, almond extract, and salt.
  4. Pour the mixture over the puff pastry, and spread it evenly with a spatula.
  5. Place the pears cut side up in a radial pattern.
  6. Bake for 50-60 minutes.
  7. Cool to room temperature before serving.