Quick vegetarian ramen
How many ramen lovers do we have out there? Ramen is a de facto food trend, but being landlocked here in the Midwest it takes a bit more time for food trends to filter their way into our neighborhood. But Indianapolis’s food scene is growing (so says Bon Appetit) and with it, we can now get real ramen — “real” being authentic, fresh noodle ramen with complex savory broth, not the 50-cent flavor-packet variety.
One of our favorite ways to get inspiration for our kitchen is to go out to restaurants and taste new flavor combinations, either in our own city or when travelling. Mediterranean and Mexican cuisines are our comfort zone, but after grabbing ramen at a local restaurant (Rook) this weekend, we were inspired to up our Japanese slash Korean game.
Our restaurant ramen experience was fantastic — savory broth full of umami (that fifth savory sense), creamy poached egg, curly noodles, if you’re me, spicy sriracha: the ultimate comfort food in a bowl. When we went to recreate it to our kitchen, however, we tried for vegetarian ramen and found we couldn’t quite create the savory, slow-cooked broth we were looking for. (But not for lack of trying.) So instead, we revamped the recipe into a quick, easy and fresh version, made with vegetable broth and aromatics like ginger and garlic, with a ton of vegetables thrown in: greens, shiitake mushrooms, peppers, green onion, radishes. And to top it off, we were able to find fresh ramen noodles from our local Asian grocery.
And guess what: not only did we bring our camera (which produced one of our favorite shoots ever), this time we brought our microphone along for the ride! This week’s podcast is all about how that restaurant experience turned into this recipe — which we created especially for the podcast. Check it out below, and we’d love to hear — are you a ramen fan? Do you have favorite recipes, or tips?
- 4 eggs
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon ginger
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 quart vegetable broth
- 3 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon mirin
- 8 ounces shiitake mushrooms
- 4 cups young baby greens (we used a mix of young Asian greens and tatsoi)
- 3 sweet peppers (optional)
- 3 green onions
- 16 ounces ramen noodles (fresh if possible)*
- 4 radishes, for garnish
- Purchased garlic chili sauce, for garnish
- Fill a medium pot of water and bring it to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Gently lower the eggs into the water with a spoon and simmer for 7 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare a bowl of ice water. When the eggs are done, place them in the ice bath and let them cool completely, then gently peel. Keep the water in the pot and use it to cook the ramen (go to Step 4).
- Meanwhile, thinly slice 4 cloves garlic. Peel and mince 1 tablespoon ginger. In another pot, heat 1 tablespoon sesame oil and 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium high heat. Add the garlic and ginger and saute for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add 1 quart broth and bring to a simmer. Add 3 tablespoons soy sauce and 1 tablespoon mirin.
- Remove the stems from the shiitake mushrooms and thinly slice them. If necessary, wash the greens. Thinly slice the sweet peppers and green onions (cut the onions on the bias). Thinly slice 4 radishes for a garnish, and set aside. Place the mushrooms in the broth and cook 5 minutes. Add peppers, green onion and greens and cook for 1 minute.
- Meanwhile, reheat the water used for the eggs and boil the ramen noodles until just tender, around 2 to 3 minutes.
- To serve, place noodles in a bowl and top with broth, vegetables, and soft-boiled eggs. Garnish with radishes and garlic chili sauce.