Me and my boy have been calling this the covid bowl… 🙂 A super healthy vegan (minus the egg) easy to make ramen that took us by surprise with how delicious it is. Mushrooms really are the future.
Technically a ramen should be wheat noodles, have a bean paste broth, and have an egg on top. When the idea to make a ramen occurred we didn’t have any eggs, bean paste, or wheat noodles… So I suppose this is technically not a Ramen at all but the finish is remarkably close.
We’ll look at it in three stages.
Stage 1 – Prepare the secret
We’re going to prepare the secret ingredients that make us (look like) a pro.
Heat up your frying pan and add the sesame seeds and fry (no oil) until they start to brown and pop. They should start to smell amazing.
Add half of these to a pestle and mortar, with the sugar and white pepper. And grind. If you don’t have a pestle and mortar then improvise and then ask for one for Christmas 🎄. The other half of the sesame seeds you’ll sprinkle on the final result as a topping.
Put this aside and save for later.
Stage 2 – Prepare the base and make your broth
Blitz the garlic, ginger, spring onion and fry in a wide deep frying pan with a good amount of toasted sesame oil (I aim for it to be 1-2mm deep). It needs to be a low heat, we do not want to burn anything.
I actually spent a therapeutic 20 minutes finely chopping these ingredients as part of a way to slow my brain down but my boy chucked it all in a blender and was done in 30 seconds when he made it.
Next add in your “minced mushrooms” and fry until browned. Generally I’ll buy a punnet of the mixed exotic shrooms from Sainsbury’s and save the Oyster mushrooms for toppings and blitz the rest. But you can pretty much use any kind of mushroom although meatier the better. All ramen recipes say to use a stock – we are basically blagging a stock and this base works nicely.
Now stir in the miso paste, keep stirring as we don’t want to burn anything (and the pan should still be on a low heat), add the contents of your pestle and mortar, the chilli oil, and rice wine. Give it all a good stir and then add the water. The chilli oil I originally used as a substitute for the chilli bean paste and as it turns out it might well have been the best happy accident I’ve had in ages. I try to get an equal amount of chilli flakes and oil, as I think the oil itself is the key.
A quick note about ground white pepper… I remember white pepper from when I was a kid and think nothing of it… on researching Asian cooking it turns out it is kind of a secret ingredient that adds heat to a dish without adding fire – it’s hard to explain but it definitely makes a difference.
So, turn the heat up and let it all simmer for 15-20 mins. I think you could probably leave it on for longer if you fancy it being a bit richer, but you may want to add a little more water in the first place (maybe 300ml per person instead of 250).
Stage 3 – Once you’re ready to serve…
I use udon fresh noodles, you can get them in Sainsbury’s by the veg section. A packet is enough for two people. I drop them into boiling water for 2 minutes and then drain them and add to bowls ready to be souped. 👊🏽 if you’re noodles are dry then cook them until they’re ready to eat – check the packet if unsure.
Ladle the broth onto the noodles, they will keep cooking, so quickly add your toppings. Obviously you’ve prepared your toppings already? 😆 Sprinkle on the toasted seams seeds, some finely chopped ‘green bit’ of a spring onion, and a sliced tomato and your good to go. Add a halved boiled egg and some slivers of mushroom (fried or raw depending on whether you forgot to prepare your toppings or not) for that pro look and for extra protein.
Serve with a spoon and chopsticks. Boom.
You’ll notice there’s no added salt in this recipe. You really don’t need it.
These quantities are per person… You may well want to tweak once you’ve made it. I’ve never been too exact with this recipe and it always turns out great.
- Prepare the secret
- 1/2 tsp White pepper
- 1/2 tsp Toasted Sesame seed powder
- 1/2 tbsp sugar
- Prepare the base
- 1 big Garlic clove
- 1 thumbnail of Ginger
- 1 Spring onion
- 1/4 punnet Blitzed Mushrooms
- Make the broth
- 2 tbsp Toasted sesame oil
- Desert spoon Miso paste
- 1/2 tsp Chilli oil
- 1/2 tbsp Rice wine
- 250 ml Water
- 1 Spring onion
- Pinch of Sesame seeds
- 1 Boiled egg
- Half a tomato
- Extra Toppings