Pre-pandemic, there were a few dishes that I would never attempt to make at home. For example, sushi or ramen, or mashed potatoes. There was no reason for this, other than those dishes being out of the culinary comfort (or patience) zone. But it’s a new world, folks. Despite 2020 seeming like a dumpster fire sometimes, one good thing that came about from social distancing and stay-at-home orders was having more time to learn new things (in my experience, anyway). So, I set out to create a ramen recipe. I’ll leave sushi up to the professionals a little while longer.
I’m proud of how this recipe turned out. Here is why:
- It’s vegetarian, but you’d never guess by the broth. All of the ingredients come together to give you a rich umami taste. The kind that you’d expect in a tonkotsu (pork bone) broth that delivers on texture and flavor for a downright delicious bowl of soup.
- Like most of my recipes, this one is versatile. If you don’t have miso or can’t find it, you can substitute tahini or add more soy sauce. I like to add mirin, sesame oil, and soy sauce to flavor the broth, but feel free to play around here. I recommend tasting as you go and adjusting the amounts to suit your taste. Ponzu or fish sauce make great additions to this soup as well.
- Overall, this ramen recipe is reasonably quick to put together. Like most soups, stews, and chilis, the longer ingredients get to simmer together, the better it will be. Once I have the base of the broth, I like to puree everything together. Pureeing gives the soup a silky, creamy feel. If you are looking to save time, you can skip this step.
Vegetarian Ramen with Miso Shiitake Broth
4 large eggs (optional)
2 tbsp. olive, vegetable, or avocado oil
1 bunch of scallions, whites, and greens separated, chopped
2 inches fresh ginger root, peeled and thinly sliced
1 bulb of roasted garlic, mashed (see note)
½ tsp. red pepper flakes (or to taste)
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 oz dried shiitake mushrooms (a mix of dried porcini and shiitake works too)
1 tbsp. miso paste (see note)
6 cups vegetable broth
3 tbsp. butter, cut into pieces
2 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
2 tbsp. mirin or sake
1 small lime, juiced
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 baby bok choy (about 1 ½ cups), quartered lengthwise
12 to 16 ounces ramen noodles
Radishes or Daikon
- Make the eggs (if you’re not making the eggs skip to step 2). Add the eggs to a medium pot and cover with cold water. Bring the water to a boil. Turn off the heat, cover the pot and let stand for 7 minutes. Drain the eggs, crack the shells, and cool in ice water for 2-3 minutes, then peel.
- Heat a stockpot over medium heat and add the oil. Add the white parts of the scallions, ginger, and garlic—cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the scallions become charred in spots. Add the red pepper flakes and tomato paste, occasionally stirring, until the tomato paste darkens, about 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and miso paste, then stir in broth. Bring to a boil, then remove the pot from the heat. Let it sit for 10 minutes or until the mushrooms are soft.
- Using an immersion blender, puree the broth until smooth. Conversely, you can scoop the solids out into a blender with a couple of ladles of broth and puree, then add back to the pot. Over medium heat, bring the broth back to a simmer. Add the butter one piece at a time, whisking to combine after each piece. Stir in soy sauce, sesame oil, mirin, and lime juice—season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the bok choy and reduce the heat to low.
- Bring a pot of water to boil for the noodles, and cook according to package directions.
- Fill bowls with ramen, top with soup, halved eggs, and toppings of choice. Enjoy hot!
To roast the garlic, cover the bulb in foil and bake for 40 minutes in a 400F oven. Mash cloves once cool enough to handle. Mincing four or five garlic cloves will work too, which you can add straight to the soup. If you’re in a time crunch, use 5 or 6 crushed garlic cloves instead.
If you can’t find miso paste, tahini is a good substitute because it adds the same effect. If neither is an option, add an extra tablespoon of soy sauce.
If you decide to try the recipe, let me know what you think in the comments below. I love hearing your feedback.