In case you haven't noticed it's pretty dreary out there. While this is a summer vacation compared to the dreaded East Coast winters I've faced in the past, I still love to curl up with blankets and soup on days like these (a warm dog sleeping next to you doesn't hurt either).
A favorite soup for everyone is ramen. Yummy broth, chewy noodles, and a medley of toppings. It doesn't get much better than that.
Unfortunately traditional ramen is not vegan; the broth contains fish (bonito), pork, and sometimes chicken, and the noodles contain eggs. So the option of going to a Japanese restaurant is out. But no need to fret! You can make easy and delicious vegan ramen at home with just a few tweaks.
I use O'Hana House noodles that are available at Rainbow and Whole Foods in the refrigerated section. The "chow mein" variety has a surprisingly similar effect as regular ramen. It may be taboo for me to make this comparison, but it's the closest thing we've got and it works really well. If anyone knows of a better alternative, I'd love to hear about it!
Vegan Shoyu Ramen
Makes: 2 servings
1 package of O'Hana noodles (each inner packet is good for one bowl)
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp grated ginger (tip: freeze ginger and grate on a Microplane)
1 tsp sesame oil
3 cups water
1 cup kombu dashi soup stock (You can also buy instant kombu dashi like Riken Kombu Instant Dashi at a Japanese market like Nijiya.)
1 Tbsp sake
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
3 Tbsp soy sauce
- tofu (I used Hodo Soy Beanery's braised tofu.)
- spinach (I like to blanch it, line it up, roll it in a towel to get some moisture out, and then slice it.)
- sliced green onions
- nori strips (You can cut your own, or buy a tub of pre-made strips at a Japanese market.)
- shichimi tōgarashi
- other options: shiitake mushrooms, veggie tempura, seitan, steamed or seared vegetables
- Place noodles in a bowl of very hot water to loosen them up.
- Meanwhile, heat sesame oil. Saute ginger and garlic for a few seconds.
- Add water and kombu dashi soup stock and bring to a boil.
- Add sugar, salt, sake, and soy sauce and simmer for a minute.
- Pour broth through a strainer -- you want a nice clear broth with no bits floating around.
Place noodles into two bowls. Pour broth over noodles and arrange toppings. Make it pretty -- it makes a difference!