Vegetarian Ramen

By Catherine Lamb
November 6, 2014
10 Comments


Author Notes: I've had some great bowls of vegetarian ramen in my time -- ones that pack just as big of an umami punch as its pork-y counterparts. The key is hitting that perfect balance of sweet and savory by throwing in all the tongue-tingling ingredients you have in your arsenal, then letting the whole thing get friendly on the stove for a couple hours. A generous portion of springy, chewy noodles doesn't hurt, either.Catherine Lamb

Makes: 4 generous servings

Ingredients

For the broth:

  • 1 cup dried mushrooms, preferably shiittake
  • 2 carrots, cut into thirds
  • 1 onion, cut in half (you can leave the skin on)
  • 2 stalks celery, cut into thirds
  • 6 to 8 garlic cloves, smashed
  • One 2-inch section of ginger, smashed
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, cut into thirds and smashed (optional)
  • 8 cups cold water
  • 1 sheet kombu, wiped with a damp cloth
  • 2 tablespoons bonito flakes (technically not vegetarian, but recommended for fish eaters)
  • 1/2 cup mirin
  • 1 cup shoyu (Japanese soy sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 to 2 squirts sriracha, or pinch of red pepper flakes

For the ramen bowl:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 packet extra-firm tofu, pressed of its moisture
  • 1 tablespoon oil with high smoke point, like peanut
  • 4 packets ramen or udon noodles, preferably fresh
  • Thai basil
  • Lime wedges
  • Green onion, sliced

Directions

For the broth:

  1. Add mushrooms, carrots, onion, celery, garlic, ginger, and lemongrass (if using) into a large stock pot along with 8 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer. Add in kombu and bonito flakes, if using. Simmer stock for 2 to 3 hours.
  2. Pour stock into a bowl through a fine mesh strainer. (I recommend reserving the mushy, cooked carrots for snacking.) Return stock to the pot.
  3. Add in soy sauce, mirin, brown sugar, and Sriracha. Stir. Taste for seasoning: Add more soy sauce if you want it saltier, more Sriracha for spice, more brown sugar for sweetness. If the flavor is too strong, add in more water to dilute. Play around until you have a flavorful, balanced broth. Turn down the heat to keep it warm while you prepare your other ingredients.

For the ramen bowl:

  1. Boil a large pot of water with a pinch of salt. Cook eggs to desired doneness -- I like mine cooked for 6 minutes so the yolk is nice and gooey in the middle. Remove eggs from water, keeping it simmering for ramen noodles. Cool eggs, peel, and drop gently into the broth while you prep the rest of your ingredients.
  2. Slice drained tofu thinly. Heat oil in a wok or non-stick skillet until smoking, then layer in the tofu, making sure none are overlapping. Cook for a minute or two until brown on the underside, then flip and cook for another two minutes. Drain tofu on paper towels.
  3. Drop noodles into boiling salted water and cook according to package directions. Drain.
  4. Divide broth between four bowls, then divvy up noodles, eggs (I cut them in half before serving), and fried tofu into broth. Garnish with Thai basil, green onions, and squeezes of lime. Slurp away.
  5. If you want an even heartier bowl of vegetarian ramen, consider adding roasted vegetables like sweet potatoes, eggplant, or tomatoes. Cube them, then roast in a 425° F oven with salt and pepper until wrinkled, soft, and caramelized, then add to broth.

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Reviews (10) Questions (0)

10 Comments

libby July 13, 2015
To: geekbearinggifts : Thank you! Looking forward to changing things up!
 
geekbearinggifts July 13, 2015
Glad I could help!
 
geekbearinggifts July 13, 2015
For a vegan alternative to the bonita flakes, use dulse flakes or other dried sea vegetable flakes. They are available in bags or shaker jars in Asian markets and some health food stores.
 
libby April 15, 2015
I'm grateful for this recipe - I have a friend who is vegetarian, so the bonito flakes were not an option for her. We did add 1/2 tsp of nutritional yeast to the broth. You wouldn't think it would make a difference but it did! We make dashi for miso soup with kombu & nutritional yeast also...it is all about the broth.
 
mhgoblue February 2, 2015
This is one of the tastiest things I've ever made. Thank you so much for the recipe.<br /><br />My broth cooked down quite a bit and I had to add 4.5c of water to dilute enough to eat. The second time I made it I doubled the broth so I could freeze half for a rainy day and it worked beautifully.
 
Chrissy January 10, 2015
I made this last night, without tofu, and it was amazing. Wouldn't change a thing.
 
jeane January 6, 2015
Am I right in thinking that any leftover stock can be frozen?
 
Author Comment
Catherine L. January 8, 2015
Yes, it freezes well!
 
jeane January 27, 2015
That's great - many thanks!
 
AntoniaJames November 6, 2014
I'll definitely be making a big batch of this before my ramen-loving eldest returns for Thanksgiving in a few weeks! Sounds so good. Better, actually, than the meaty versions. ;o)