Ramen

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Not to be confused with those processed, artificially flavored, non-food packets of dehydrated styrofoam noodles, ramen is actually a traditional Japanese dish usually made with a base of pork broth. Real ramen is anything but fast convenience food. Cooking proper ramen requires time and patience, but the result is a mouth-watering bowl of savory deliciousness.

Japanese Flavor for Non-Sushi Lovers Like Me

I love ethnic foods, and Japanese food is no exception. However, I am not a big fan of sushi. I just don’t like the funky, fishy flavor of sushi rolls or other raw fish concoctions.

When I go to Japanese restaurants with friends, I will typically order several appetizers in lieu of sushi. Of course, my delicious flavorful selections come before the rest of the meal, so by the time everyone else’s rolls arrive, they’ve all chowed down on my apps. I’ve left many a Japanese restaurant still hungry.

This recipe was born because I wanted to create a delicious, filling Japanese meal. The seaweed kombu brings a brininess and minerality to the dish that is so typical of Japanese cuisine. Loaded with vegetables and perfectly seared tofu, it satisfies even the heartiest appetites.

Gather your ingredients before starting. This recipe has a lot of ingredients and does take a bit of time, but the end result will not disappoint. Be sure to drain tofu for at least 20 minutes (longer is better) for the best texture and flavor.

Don’t rush the broth. Allowing vegetables to cook thoroughly will give the soup the best flavor. To get a good, rich, and flavorful broth, be sure to taste-test as you cook and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to ensure there is enough seasoning to bring together all the flavors.

Cook mushrooms in a single layer until they are slightly brown on the edges.

The key to cooking tofu is to make sure the pan is evenly heated, use plenty of oil, and be patient! Cook each side of your tofu until it is browned and crispy.

Finally, assemble your Ramen for a dish that is as eye-appealing as it is delicious and satisfying!

Make it a Meal

This dish is hearty enough to stand on it’s own. Finish it off with a sweet treat, like this Vegan Key Lime Pie.

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Prep Time: 30 minutes Cook Time: 65 minutes
Yield:4 servings

Ingredients

For the Broth

1 tablespoon grapeseed oil

3 stalks celery, cut into large chunks

3 medium carrots, cut into large chunks

1 small onion, quartered

4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

4 Chinese or Napa cabbage leaves or cabbage

2 green onions, cut into large chunks

1/2 sheet of kombu

3 thumb-sized knobs of ginger, cut into large chunks

1/4 cup dried shiitake or porcini mushrooms

Handful shiitake mushroom stems (save caps for topping)

Handful fresh cilantro, chopped

2 teaspoons black peppercorns

1 teaspoon white miso

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 1/2 – 1 3/4 teaspoons salt

1 gallon water

Toppings

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 cup cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons sesame seeds

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon grapeseed oil

1 (16-ounce) package extra firm tofu, drained and wrapped in a clean towel for 20 minutes, then cut into 1-inch cubes

1 package Shirataki noodles or rice noodles

3/4 cup Shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced

1 head baby bok choy, quartered

Tamari, sesame oil, red or white miso, rice vinegar, grated garlic, grated ginger, chili oil, red pepper flakes to taste

Green onions, finely sliced on a diagonal

Cilantro leaves

Sesame seeds

Instructions

For the Broth

  1. Heat oil over high heat in a large stockpot. Once hot, add celery, carrot, onion, and garlic and sear for a minute. Then reduce heat to medium.
  2. Next, add cabbage, green onions, kombu, ginger, dried mushrooms, mushroom stems, cilantro, peppercorns, miso, red pepper flakes, as well as salt and cover with water.
  3. Bring to a boil before reducing to a simmer for 60 minutes. Taste frequently, but if broth becomes too salty, add a bit more water. Then add additional salt to taste if needed.
  4. After cooking and adjusting seasonings, turn heat off and then place a large bowl in the sink. Put a colander inside the bowl and then strain broth. Place stockpot back on the stove and then strain mixture again through a fine sieve or a China press. Discard vegetables.
  5. Finally, heat broth to a gentle simmer and season with salt and pepper to taste.

For the Toppings

  1. In a medium bowl, combine salt, pepper, cornstarch, baking powder, and, finally, sesame seeds. Add cubed tofu and gently stir to combine.
  2. After that, heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil and tofu. Cook each cube, rotating till each side is thoroughly browned. As soon as they’re browned, remove from heat and set aside.
  3. After that, place a large pot of salted water on the stove and bring to a boil. Submerge noodles and cook until barely done. Do not overcook.
  4. In skillet from tofu, add an additional teaspoon of grapeseed oil and heat over medium high heat. Add sliced mushrooms and cook until browned.
  5. Then assemble the bowls. Be sure your serving bowls have enough depth to accommodate all of the ingredients. Finally, place noodles at the bottom of the bowl and top with tofu, mushrooms, and bok choy.
  6. Season with your choice of tamari, sesame oil, miso, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger, and chili oil. Lastly, top with hot broth and garnish with green onion, cilantro, and sesame seeds.

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