Soba noodles with crispy tofu in spicy ramen broth
How are you? I'm peeking back in here for a moment to share one of my favourites soups and what could be more fitting now that fall has arrived with cold and dreary weather.
For me, the past few months have been all about making two more books, and I've realised my limits and decided to return to blogging more fully again, when the last pages of the third book is sent to my publisher. - Mean while, I'll be sharing book recipes and short posts like this one, a recipe for a deliciously healthy ramen noodle soup bowl.
Ramen noodles are the Andy Warhol of food these days! What started as a cheap post-war budget dish in Japan is now a worldwide phenomenon. It’s easy to understand why: the creativity involved in making a good ramen fuses the authentic food traditions of Asia with the rest of the world.
The key to a perfect ramen bowl lies in using quality broth, which requires patience and time – up to two days for some recipes. I’ve put together this ramen recipe so that you can make the most delicious savoury, ramen soup in no time. If you already have prepared dashi or vegetable broth it’s done in a flash. If you need to make dashi or vegetable broth, factor in at least 45 minutes of broth cooking or more. The real flavour punch comes from the tare – a spice mixture dissolved into the broth.
In the spirit of ramen, I fused Japanese ingredients with flavours from other world kitchens. Mixing shoyu, tamarind, miso, tahini and sriracha makes this bowl full of flavour. Toppings are optional, but a mixture of fresh raw vegetables like carrot, cucumber and avocado makes a beautiful pairing with the savoury shiitake, chives and eggs. Try adding a crispy crunch with toasted coconut flakes and nuts (serondeng).
This recipe is originally published in my book Bowls of Goodness, which has just released with an American edition available here. You find the UK edition here and translated editions on amazon or in a regular walk in book store.
1.2 litres (5 cups) dashi or vegetable broth
handful of dried shiitake mushrooms
500g ( 1-1 ½ lbs) mixed soup vegetables (like sliced carrots and broccoli florets)
pinch of salt
200g (8oz) soba or ramen noodles
2 tablespoons miso paste (I use yellow)
50 ml ( ¼ cup) tablespoons tamari or shoy sauce
50 ml ( ¼ cup) mirin
5 garlic cloves, crushed
1 ½ tablespoons Sriracha
3 tablespoons chickpea flour
1 ½ tablespoon tahini
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon tamarind paste
½ tablespoon freshly grated ginger
fresh shiitake mushrooms
cucumber, cut into matchsticks
spring onions, sliced
pickles (I use pickled red cabbage here)
1 boiled medium egg per bowl, shelled and halved
sprinkles of seroendeng (an Indonesian flavour maker, a mix of crushed toasted coconut and peanuts)
fried tofu cubes
handful of chives, handful of black sesame seeds,
sprinkling of shichimi togarashi or red chilli flakes
Make it vegan: omit the egg.
Make it gluten free: use soba noodles instead of ramen noodles and tamari sauce instead of shoyu (soy) sauce.
Pour the dashi or vegetable broth into a large pan. Bring to the boil over a medium–high heat. Add dried shiitake and soup vegetables to the broth with a pinch of salt. Lower the heat and let the broth simmer until you are ready to assemble.
Transfer 200ml (¾ cup) of clear broth to a small pan. Bring to the boil then let it simmer. Add the tare ingredients, blend until smooth and let it putter over a low heat until serving.
Prepare the add-ins and toppings and cook the noodles according to their instructions. Rinse the noodles in cold water and set aside. Pour the remaining litre of hot vegetable broth into serving bowls. Stir the tare into the broth. Divide the drained noodles, add-ins and toppings between the bowls. Customize your heat and strenght of avour. Keep conditments like sriracha, shoy sauce and roasted sesame oil on the table.