I…I just melted into a bowl full of noodles. Help? Actually, on second thought,
I have eaten many, many a bowl of restaurant ramen in my 28 years of life. Thus far, I have only found one truly fantastic vegetarian ramen bowl and now that I live 341 miles away from it, I was forced into running multiple recipes up a flagpole at home. I lead a dull, miserable, and unsavory life, clearly. Oh, and shout out to Silverlake Ramen in Los Angeles— I miss you dearly.
Well, after much ado we have a winner winner, vegetarian dinner.
I cooked. I conquered. I was full.
And then I made it again. And again. And again.
When the weather is gray, wet, and just plain dismal…all I really need to get be back in the saddle is a bowl of steaming hot vegetables and noodles. I’m a simple gal, tbh.
In this particular bowl of soup, we start with the “dashi,” a deep savory Japanese broth and then mix in a couple different aromatics and fermented pastes. Soy sauce and soy milk are added to round out the flavors and the ramen gets finished off with a generous helping of chewy hot noodles, mushrooms, corn, bean sprouts, kimchi, and of course, that gooey soft boiled egg. —> Everything inside this bowl is 100% vegan besides the egg, so if that’s what you’re going for, simply omit it.
So what’s the big idea when it comes to fermented foods like broad bean paste, miso, and kimchi? I know you all have heard some hype, amiright? Fermented foods, just like probiotics, are incredible superfoods— they contribute to a healthy microbiome in which “good bacteria” break down food in the colon, providing beneficial byproducts for us which are vital components the immune system. Cold and flu, I’m looking at you. Research has demonstrated they may also help control inflammation in the digestive tract and soothe an overactive immune system.
Grab a spoon— soup’s ON.
Vegetarian Ramen Bowl
Makes: 2 servings
For the broth aka “dashi”:
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
- 2 dried shiitake mushrooms*
- 2” x 4” piece kombu (dried kelp)*
For the ramen soup bowl:
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced finely
- 1” piece fresh ginger root, peeled and minced finely
- 2 scallions, white and green parts separated and sliced thinly
- 4 teaspoons fermented broad bean paste or chili bean sauce*
- 4 teaspoons miso*
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar*
- 1 tablespoon white sesame seeds + 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds*, toasted and ground finely into a powder (I toasted mine in a skillet for ~5 minutes, stirring constantly, and then ground them in a clean coffee grinder- you can also use a mortar and pestle or a super high speed blender or food processor)
- 4 teaspoons soy sauce
- 2 cups plain unsweetened soy milk
- 1 cup of the dashi broth (from recipe above)
- 1 teaspoon ground white pepper*
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Ramen noodles (can also use gluten free wide rice noodles)*
- Steamed corn
- Mung bean sprouts
- Soft boiled eggs
- Thai basil*
- Mushrooms (I used shiitake and enoki*)
- Green part of the scallions
- Black and white sesame seeds
- = You are sure to find these ingredients at your local Asian grocery
** = To soft boil an egg, bring a pot of water to a boil, gently lower in eggs, let them cook for 6 minutes exactly, then remove from pot and shock them in an ice cold water bowl until you’re ready to use them. They will be easy to peel but handle delicately so the yolk doesn’t break
- First you’re going to make your broth (aka dashi). Place the water in a saucepan and add the shiitake mushrooms and kombu. Let them soak for 30 minutes on the counter, then place on the stove. Start to bring the water to a slow boil, then remove the pot from the stove right before I turns into a rapid boil. Discard mushrooms and kombu- if you leave them in the water to soak, the broth will get too slimy. Set broth aside.
- Next, heat up that sesame oil in a medium saucepan over medium low heat. Add garlic, ginger, and white part of the sliced scallions and cook for a few minutes, until fragrant. Add fermented broad bean paste/chili bean sauce along with miso and cook for another minutes or so, stirring constantly so they don’t burn.
- Add the rice vinegar, stirring the bottom of the pot to release any bits that might be stuck to the bottom. The rice vinegar will help you release these flavorful bits more easily. Add in ground sesame seeds along with soy sauce and cook for 30 seconds.
- Add in soy milk slowly, stirring constantly so the bean paste and miso is dissolved before all of the soy milk is added. Add 1 cup of your dashi broth, ground white pepper, and a dash of salt and pepper to taste. Turn down heat to low to let this “ramen soup” stay warm.
- Next, make your ramen noodles by boiling the noodles and draining. When done, divide noodles into two bowls and pour the finished warm ramen soup over them. Add suggested toppings and serve.