26th Sep 2018
Broth is vital to ramen – it’s the soul of the bowl and if you don’t get that right, it doesn’t work. Although I love chicken stock, it’s good to have a vegetarian one as well. Too often they lack oomph, but get a few dried shiitakes, roasted veg and kombu involved and your umami factor rises quickly. The other important element is the tare seasoning, made here with chilli, miso and citrus.
Vegetarian Ramen with Baby Corn and Pickled Shiitakes
Prep 15 minutes
Cook 15 minutes
1.2 litres vegetarian mushroom stock (see recipe below)
2 tbsp rice vinegar
150g tenderstem broccoli
100g baby corn, blanched
250g dried ramen noodles or 400g fresh
2 large carrots, julienned
75g bamboo shoots
4 spring onions, chopped
For the miso chilli tare seasoning
1 tbsp yuzu or lime juice
2 garlic cloves, grated
2 tsp sriracha or other hot chilli sauce
1 tsp grated ginger
togarashi spice mix, nori squares, dollop yuzu kosho or yuzu or lime juice, to serve (optional)
Prepare the vegetarian stock (see recipe below), fishing out the shiitake mushrooms from the vegetables before discarding the solids. Slice them and place in a small bowl with the rice vinegar and a sprinkle of salt.
In a small bowl, mix together all the miso chilli tare seasoning ingredients and set aside.
Chop the broccoli into 5-7.5cm pieces.
Bring a pan of water to the boil and add the eggs. Boil for 6 minutes and then remove and leave in iced water to cool. Peel and set aside. Use the same boiling water to blanch the baby corn and broccoli for 1 minute. Drain and rinse in cold water.
Heat the stock and bring back to a boil. Whisk in the miso chilli tare seasoning.
Boil the noodles for about 3 minutes until al dente, stirring so they don’t stick together. Drain and divide among four bowls.
Pour the stock over each bowl.
Add some broccoli, baby corn, carrot, bamboo shoots, half an egg and the mushrooms.
Serve with your choice of toppings, like togarashi, nori paper and yuzu kosho or yuzu or lime juice, to sprinkle over the top.
Thin alkaline wheat ramen noodles are paramount here – available from Asian stores or online. The added alkaline is what gives the noodles their characteristic chewiness. Avoid packs of pre-cooked ramen or dried square rafts – both are poor quality and too soft.
Vegetarian Mushroom Stock
Roasting the vegetables ahead and adding dried mushrooms bring a rich depth to this veggie broth.
Makes 1.2 litres stock
Prep 10 minutes
Cook 2 hours
1 leek, cut in chunks
2 large carrots, cut in chunks
4cm ginger, sliced
2 onions, quartered
20g dried shiitake or porcini mushrooms
1 head garlic, cloves broken apart
1 bunch spring onions, chopped
2 pieces kombu seaweed
25g bonito flakes
60ml soy sauce
Preheat the oven to 200°C or 180°C fan forced. Place the leek, carrot, ginger and onion in a large baking tin. Season and roast for 30 minutes. When cooked, pour everything from the tin into a large stockpot.
Add the dried mushrooms, garlic, spring onion and kombu. Pour in 2 litres water. Bring to the boil and then turn down to the lowest simmer.
Place a lid on top and keep almost entirely closed, leaving just a small crack open. Simmer for 1 hour 30 minutes, adding the bonito flakes in the last 5 minutes, and then strain the liquid into a smaller clean pot.
Pour in the soy and mirin, tasting to see if the stock needs additional salt or soy.
Extracted from My Asian Kitchen by Jennifer Joyce (Murdoch Books, approx €22.50). Photography by Phil Webb.
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