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
It’s hard to get a flavorful vegetarian ramen broth, but I think I’m getting close. I found a neat recipe on thepigandquill, and have modified it as follows. This recipe serves about 3-4 people.
- 1 can of coconut milk (~15 oz)
- 1 can of organic tomatoes, about 14 oz (dirty dozen –> organic!)
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1-2 tbsp of fresh ginger, peeled and diced
- Peel ginger the intelligent way. I use the back end of my chef’s knife, but a spoon will do just fine.
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp vegetarian fish sauce
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1/2 tsp chili powder (I used Korean chili powder, but I think I’ll try ground szechuan peppers next time)
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp curry powder
- 2 cups of vegetable stock
- 2 carrots, sliced like matchsticks
- 1/2 a cucumber, sliced like matchsticks
- 2 cups sliced shiitake mushrooms (stems discarded)
- 1/2 a red onion, diced
- 1 tbsp capers
- Capers imbue a unique flavor to broth, similar to fish. The Japanese word for this taste is umami.
- 1 bunch of baby bok choy (optional)
- 1 block of tofu, lightly fried
- How to pan fry tofu without sticking to your pan:
- Slice tofu 1/4″ thick. The thinner you slice, the crispier it will be.
- Lay flat on a paper towel to dry for about 30 min.
- Heat up a cast iron or stainless steel pan. Drizzle about 1-2 tsp of oil on the pan. Wait until the oil is just about to start smoking. You want it to be really hot! A thin layer of oil will form a barrier between the tofu and the pan.
- Add about 1/2 or 1/3 of the tofu slices to the pan. Too much will cool the pan down too fast, causing the tofu to stick to the bottom. Leave undisturbed for about 2-3 minutes.
- Flip to cook the other side. Cook for about 1-2 minutes.
- Lay on another sheet of paper towel to drain the oil. Fry the remaining tofu similarly.
- 3-4 servings of ramen noodles
- Honestly, you can use whatever Asian noodles you want. Some choices are buon tuoi, udon noodles, soba noodles, ramen noodles (seasoning packets discarded), etc.
- soft boiled eggs, if desired
- optional garnish ideas: sliced green onions or chives, cilantro, lime, mint, rau thom (also known as sorrel)
- In a blender or food processor, combine ingredients from coconut milk through curry powder. Blend well.
- In a soup pot, combine ingredients from vegetable stock through tofu and the newly blended mixture. Simmer for 20-30 minutes.
- About 5 minutes before serving, cook the noodles. Soft boil the eggs at this point, if desired.
- Add the noodles to each bowl and ladle the soup and veggies on top.
- Add your garnish and gobble it up.
One of the things I miss most about eating meat is having sushi… But I’ve come up with a vegetarian recipe to make up for it. It’s surprisingly difficult to make proper rolls. My first few attempts were soddy, but after practicing for 3-4 dud rolls, I got the hang of it. The trick it to smoosh it down as you roll forward to make things as tight as possible.
- rice vinegar
- sushi rice
- thinly sliced assorted vegetables (mix and match, or use different ones!)
- pea sprouts
- shiitake mushrooms (I sauteed these in a little oil and soy sauce first)
- soy sauce
- pickled ginger
- sushi mat
- rice cooker (you can probably forgo this one… I think you can make rice in a pot on the stove just fine)
- Cook rice according to package directions. I’m lucky to have a rice cooker.
- Allow rice to cool for about 10 minutes before mixing ~1 tbsp of vinegar into it. This makes the rice a bit stickier and adds a little sourness.
- Lay the sushi mat in front of you such that you can roll it forwards. Put a piece of nori on it.
- Spoon some rice on the nori, and use the spoon to spread the rice out (evenly) on the bottom 4/5 of the nori.
- Lay some vegetables a little off center of the rice.
- Aside: I was watching some sushi chefs at a restaurant and I learned a new way to slice avocado – with a spoon! This method is much more streamlined than cutting with a knife, peeling skin off, and pulling stubborn slices apart.
- Start rolling slowly forwards, making sure to tuck stray veggies or rice back inside. Make sure you apply enough pressure to the roll so that things are nice and tight.
- Your rolls may look like this (left side) in the beginning (loose, easy to fall apart, uneven), but don’t despair. With proper practice and mindfulness, you should get the hang of it (right side) in no time!
- Slice into eighths and enjoy!
For next time: I’d like to try braising tofu in teriyaki and incorporating it into my next sushi rolls.
I have a weak spot for ramen noodles (Who doesn’t?). It’s led me to discovering ramen udon noodles. After trying a few different brands, I’ve decided that this is the best one: Sanuki Udon. I’m not sure where you can get it online, though. I just get it from my local Asian grocery store.
Anyway, all you do is you cook it up like regular ramen (add noodles to spices and hot water), and then add whatever you want to it. I like doing it the Japanese way, with the poached egg.
- Sautee vegetables (this time, I used mushrooms and red peppers, but you can really use whatever you want).
- Bring broth & noodles to a boil.
- Poach egg in the boiling broth/noodles. Cover pot with the lid and let cook for a few minutes. I like my egg yolk a little runny, so I just cover for 1-2 minutes.
- Add vegetables to your noodles! Pour into bowl and garnish with green onions.