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.
- 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
- 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
- In a soup pot, caramelize the onion using the sesame oil (cook it low and slow for 30 minutes, until it browns)
- Add ginger, miso paste, soy sauce, garlic, and fresh chili
- Crush the sesame seeds with a mortar and pestle, set aside
- Add the mirin to loosen the browned bits in the soup pot
- Add the dashi and soy milk to the soup pot
- Bring to a low simmer
- Add bok choy and bean sprouts, cook until the boy choy is wilted, about another 5-10 minutes
- For each serving: place an egg and a few pieces of tofu over the cooked ramen noodles, and pour the ramen broth on top
- Garnish with scallions, chili oil, sesame seeds
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.
- 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
- Saute the ginger, garlic, and fresh chilis until the garlic just starts to brown
- Blend the toor dal, rice, ginger/garlic/chili, coconut and a little water until it is finely ground
- Temper the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, asafoetida, curry leaves, turmeric and dry red chili in a medium sized pan
- Add the mustard seeds to hot oil, and cook (covered) until they stop popping
- Take the pan off the heat
- Add the remaining ingredients, stirring well
- Add the vegetables, cook for about 5-6 minutes, until tender
- Add the ground coconut mix, stir well, cooking for about 1-2 more minutes
- Gently stir in the yogurt and salt, and reduce the heat
- Adjust the consistency by adding some water, as needed
- Garnish with cilantro
- Serve with rice or rotis
A versatile, spicy Szechuan dish that makes me drool. It’s originally made with pork, but I think my vegetarian version is just as good. The chili oil I used in this recipe was easily made in about 30 minutes, and most of that time was just the spices simmering in the oil. However, the lazier cook can substitute premade chili oil from the Asian store. This dish is typically served with sui mi ya cai, Chinese fermented vegetables. I can’t find any vegetarian versions of this at the Asian grocery (and I don’t really want to make my own), so I either skip this altogether or substitute my vegetarian Kimchi, but it really just depends on my mood. Not a dealbreaker.
Yield: 3-4 servings
- 2 tbsp sesame paste (tahini)
- 2 tsp hoisin sauce
- 2 tsp red wine
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp Chinese five spice powder
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp ground Szechuan peppercorns
- 1 tsp chili oil (mine is super spicy, so a little goes a long way, but you can fiddle with this as you please)
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- 2 tsp sesame oil for sauteing the vegetables and tofu
- 1 head of broccoli (broken into small chunks) or an equivalent amount of sliced bok choy
- 4 servings cooked noodles
- 2-3 cups of shiitake mushrooms or oyster mushrooms, sliced
- 1 block of tofu (diced) or an equivalent amount of tofu skin (I’m partial to tofu skin)
- 1 sliced bell pepper or 2 sliced carrots (like matchsticks)
- 1/4 cup chopped toasted peanuts
- chopped green onions for garnish
- Mix the ingredients for the sauce – everything from the tahini to the minced garlic in a small bowl and set it aside.
- Prepare the vegetables and tofu- washing and chopping, etc.
- Saute the vegetables together in the sesame oil.
- Add the sauce to the pan, stir well.
- Adjust with any additional chili oil or soy sauce.
- Serve over the cooked noodles.
- Top with scallions and peanuts.
This recipe has gone through a lot of edits and trials before finally converging on a flavorful and well balanced result. It’s always a challenge to adapt recipes that depend heavily on meat because the vegetarian versions end up tasting flat and sad. But I think this recipe for Tom Kha soup is up to par with its meaty counterpart. The base is the most important part, and you can mix and match the veggies as you please.
You can remove the chunky and tough spices from the soup before serving, or leave it in (and caution your guests to eat around it). But don’t slice lemon grass or ginger or kaffir lime leaves too thinly because these are really tough to eat, and the thinner you cut them, the harder it is to pick it out of the soup.
Yield: 4-5 servings
- 1 large bay leaf or 2 small ones
- 1 tsp capers (replaces fish sauce)
- 1 whole star anise
- 1-2 inch piece of ginger, sliced into chunks that you can fish out later
- 10-12 kaffir lime leaves (fresh is best, but dried will do; in either case, leave them whole so you can remove them later)
- 2 stalks lemon grass, pounded and sliced into halves (or thirds, if they are really long)
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 liter of vegetable broth
- 3-4 dried shiitake mushrooms
- 1 parmesan cheese rind (adds depth to the stock)
To add after the base has cooked for some time:
- chili oil to taste
- 1 can of coconut milk (400 ml)
- juice of 1/4 of a lemon
- soy sauce to taste
- 8 dried tofu skin knots
- 1 cup fresh oyster mushrooms
- 3 vine tomatoes
- 1 cup of spinach, sliced into ribbons
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 leek, thinly sliced
- Combine the soup base ingredients into a large stock pot. Simmer for 30-40 minutes. If you are using the dried tofu skin knots, add them after 20 minutes of simmering.
- Fish out the inedible chunks from the soup base (everything but the capers and mushrooms). Or you can leave them in, and caution your guests to fish them out later.
- Add whatever vegetables you like, some suggestions are listed above.
- Simmer the soup for about 10 more minutes.
- Add coconut milk.
- Add chili oil, lemon juice, and soy sauce to taste.
- Serve with some bread or rice to the side.
I discovered an Indian twist on a favorite classic. The lemon really shines through and finishes the soup nicely, and the roasted garlic adds a decadent umami flavor.
Since I’ve moved to Germany, I’ve had to switch to the metric system. It wasn’t as hard of a change as I thought it would be! But, I will add some notes on using the imperial system.
This recipe makes about 4 servings.
- 1-2 heads of garlic
- olive oil for roasting the garlic
- sunflower oil for sautéing the other vegetables (we don’t want to bring the olive oil to smoking point, so we use sunflower oil, alternatives include: coconut oil or canola oil)
- 3 medium potatoes, diced (3 cups)
- 2 large leeks, stiff green tops removed, tender white parts sliced
- 1 liter of vegetable broth (4 cups)
- ~200 g cashews (1 cup)
- 1 tsp curry powder
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- juice from 1/4 of a lemon
- 2 cups spinach, sliced into thin ribbons
- Roast the garlic for 30 minutes in the oven at 200 C (400 F).
- Slice the tips off of the head of garlic to expose the cloves.
- Wrap the garlic in some aluminum foil, and drizzle a little olive oil over it.
- Cover the garlic completely with the aluminum foil so that it looks like a little satchet.
- Bake it in the oven.
- Heat some oil in a soup pot, add the leeks and potatoes. Sauté for 5-10 minutes.
- Add the vegetable broth, cashews, and spices. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer for 10-15 minutes.
- Add the garlic to the soup.
- Blend the soup in a blender or food processor. I like it a little chunky, but you could also make it smooth and creamy.
- Return the soup to the saucepan, and add the spinach on low heat.
- Once the spinach is just wilted, add the lemon juice. Salt to taste.
Omnomnom… hearty tempeh and mushroom filling in a piece of crunchy cabbage with some spicy peanut sauce to the side… sign me up!
This makes about 4-5 servings.
- Peanut sauce
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 3 tbsp peanut butter
- 1 tbsp honey
- 2 tsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 clove of garlic
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp sriracha
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 10-15 shiitake mushrooms, oyster mushrooms, trumpet mushrooms, shimeiji mushrooms, take your pick. Or you can have a boring portabella mushroom cap… Dice the mushrooms.
- 1 bell pepper, diced (organic!)
- 2 tsp minced ginger
- 2 tbsp chili sauce (try chili bean sauce or Guilin chili sauce)
- 1 can of water chestnuts (8 oz), diced
- 3 green onions, sliced
- 1 package of tempeh (8 oz)
- 1 head of green cabbage, or red cabbage, or lettuce
- 3 large carrots cut into ribbons (use a vegetable peeler or mandolin slicer)
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds
- Blend all the ingredients for the peanut sauce together in a blender or food mixer. Mix well!
- Heat some oil in a large skillet and add the tempeh to it.
- After it turns a little brown, add the onion, bell peppers, and mushrooms to it. Cook for about 5 minutes.
- Add the ginger and chili sauce. Cook for about 2-3 minutes.
- Add the water chestnuts and green onions. Cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat.
- Serve with the filling in the cabbage leaf, and add carrots, cilantro, and sesame seeds to your liking. Drizzle the peanut sauce over it, and enjoy!
This is a recipe for a vegetarian version of Korean soft tofu soup and braised potatoes, my two favorite Korean dishes. The Korean red chili pepper (gochugaru) is very important! No substitutions!
This will make about 2-3 servings.
Vegetarian Sundubu Jjigae
- 1 package of soft tofu
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 2 tbsp Korean red chili pepper (gochugaru)
- 1 tbsp capers
- 4 cups of water
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 piece of kombu, about 4″ x 6″, broken into small pieces
- 1 piece of daikon, about 4″ long, thinly sliced
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 5-10 shiitake mushrooms, sliced
- 5-10 baby bok choys, pulled apart, ends cut off
- 2 green onions, sliced
- 1 cup of cooked rice
- 2 eggs
- kimchi, if you can find a tasty vegetarian kid (I haven’t, yet)
- Mix the sesame oil and chili pepper together in a small bowl and set aside.
- Add the water, capers, kombu, soy sauce, and daikon in a pot. Cover and boil for 10 minutes.
- Separately saute the onion and garlic in a little oil for about 1 minute.
- Add the bok choy and mushrooms. Cook for about 2 minutes.
- Add the kimchi, if you have it.
- Reduce the heat to low and add the sesame oil-chili mix and tofu.
- Add the broth and bring to a boil.
- Crack an egg (or 2) in the broth and poach it to your desired consistency.
- Serve with green onions sprinkled on top, and rice to the side.
- 2 small russet potatoes (organic!), peeled and diced into small 1 inch chunks
- 1 small onion, or 1/2 of a medium onion, diced
- 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 cup of water
- 2 tsp sesame seeds
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp vegetable oil
- 2 tsp Korean red chili pepper (gochugaru)
- Heat a pan with the oil on high heat. Once it is ready, add the potatoes. Cook for about 3-4 minutes.
- Add the onions, and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
- Mix the soy sauce, sugar, garlic, black pepper, gochugaru, and water well in a small bowl. Add the the pan.
- Let the mixture simmer on medium heat for 10-15 minutes. Add additional water if the potatoes start to stick to the bottom of the pan.
- Once the potatoes are soft enough, pull it off the heat and serve!