Vegetarian Ramen

I recently watched the movie Tampopo (definitely worth a watch) and could not get ramen off my mind after it. The movie beautifully highlights the art of making good ramen. I decided to have a go at making it myself. Below is my version of vegetarian ramen and let me tell you it did not disappoint. 

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"Just touch it. Caress it with the chopstick tips."

Tampopo, 1985

This recipe was inspired by asideofsweet.com.

Ingredients

(recipe yields about two servings)

Sesame Tare

1/2 cup sesame seeds

2 tbsp soy sauce (use low sodium option for a healthier twist)

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup chili oil

1/4 cup peanut butter (creamy or chunky will work)

1 tbsp fresh, finely chopped ginger

Broth

4 cups water

1/3 cup matchstick cut carrots 

1 heaping tbsp red miso

1 tbsp soy sauce (low sodium if desired)

1 cup vegetable broth

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons fresh, finely chopped ginger

tofu

4 1/4 inch slices of 15oz block extra firm tofu

1 tbsp sesame oil

bamboo

100g canned bamboo, drained

1 tsp sesame oil

1tbsp soy sauce

1 1/4 tsp brown sugar

1 pinch chili flakes

the main act

6 ounces ramen noodles (I just used Maruchan)

2 eggs

2 green onions sliced 

2 baby bok choy, blanched, leaves separated

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Instructions

Sesame Tare

1. Combine sesame seeds, soy sauce, brown sugar, chili oil, peanut butter and ginger in a bowl and mix until smooth. I just used a fork, but if you want to get fancy you can use an actual mixer.

Broth

2. Add water, vegetable broth, matchstick carrots, chopped garlic and ginger, miso and soy sauce to a pot and bring to a boil. 

tofu

3. While waiting for the broth to boil, heat sesame oil in a pan.

4. Cut 4 strips of tofu that are about 1/4 inch thick. Gently press as much liquid out of the tofu as possible using a paper towel and fry them in the pan once the oil is hot (drop of water should sizzle when dropped on the pan).

5. When tofu is browned on one side, flip it over and fry the other side. 

6. Place tofu on paper towel after done.

bamboo

7. Drain the bamboo, heat sesame oil in a pan and stir-fry the bamboo for 3-5 minutes. 

8. Add brown sugar, soy sauce and chili flakes to the pan and continue to stir-fry for 3-5 minutes. Place the bamboo with the tofu on the paper towel.

ramen

9. Add the ramen noodles to the boiling broth and cook according to the directions on the ramen package. 

10. Using tongs, split the noodles between two bowls for serving. 

11. Add a couple bok choy leaves to the bowls and pour desired amount of hot broth over the noodles and bok choy. 

12. Top each bowl with the tofu, bamboo, about a tablespoon or more of sesame tare and chopped green onions.

soft-boiled eggs

13. While the ramen cools to eating temperature, boil some water (or use left-over broth) and soft-boil two eggs. When done, carefully peel the eggs (they'll be HOT), cut them in half and add one egg to each bowl. If you want, you can use made-ahead hard boiled eggs, or skip them all together. 

That's All Folks!

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