I was super excited to cook lunch for a few of my yogi friends the other day. A just cuz get-together in the middle of the week was possible for us with a flexible sched. For most, it's a major no-no to try out a new recipe when you have guests over. Cooking is a way for me to express myself creatively, try new things and show my love for others. So, yup, I chose something that I love to eat but have never made at home. Ramen!!!!! There's something so soul warming about soup so Ramen was the way to go for this yogi gathering.
Not only that, I had to make it Vegan and Gluten-free for a couple of friends respectively. It did take a bit of research and mindfulness just because it's not one of my go-to recipes. No worries.
I followed this recipe by the awesome Minimalist Baker to make the broth, https://minimalistbaker.com/easy-vegan-ramen/ This blog is a great resource and source of inspo for simple and delish plant-based cooking. For sourcing the ingredients, I'm fortunate to have an Asian market and a healthy produce and grocery store super close by. At the Asian market, I found a variety of miso. It comes in a tub that was a bit too large for me so I passed on that. But, the Asian market is a great place to find fresh veggies that you don't normally come across. I picked up a jar of garlic chili paste from an extensive selection on the shelves.
I found most of the ingredients for the Ramen at my neighborhood Sprout's market. A great find, to my surprise, were the dehydrated Shiitake mushrooms at about $1.99 for a small bag. I fully expected to pay a lot more for them. These are a must to develop a deeply rich broth.
I found a Miso Soup paste in a tube there--Original Miso & Easy broth concentrate--it contains Bonito fish for the Umami flavor so it isn't vegan. I found out later that there is a Vegetarian version as well. Since this was a new product for me, I tasted it first then added it little by little so that it wouldn't be overpowering. After layering in seasoning, I tasted the broth and adjusted, I found that I needed a bit more Reduced Sodium Tamari Sauce. Coconut Aminos or Bragg's Aminos could be used in place of Tamari and would still be Gluten-free.
So, Bonito fish, news to me. That's why I skipped this ingredient-Miso paste in a tube for my Vegan friend and reserved some broth in a separate pot. Most Miso contains just a few ingredients; water, miso (fermented soy bean paste), tofu, and seaweed of some form. If you're going for the Vegan version, you just have to read the ingredients and check that the Miso doesn't contain Bonito fish. I also had a little extra help for the Vegan broth with a container of Trader Joe's Miso Ginger Broth. I couldn't use it for my Gluten-Free friend because it contained soy sauce, lol. I tasted TJ's Miso Ginger broth and it actually had a good flavor but I took it anotha level with the aromatics, Shiitakes, spices and vegetable broth. For a quick weeknight dinner, I'd totally use this as a base. https://www.traderjoes.com/fearless-flyer/article/1511
Using the Minimalist Baker's recipe for the broth was a great starting point. Using the Shiitakes, lots of garlic, onion and fresh ginger were key for making a tasty broth. I'd like to try it again using traditional White Miso paste rather than the tube version to compare.
I used Gluten-Free and Vegan noodles from Lotus Foods made with millet and brown rice. They were super easy to make and affordable. The smaller package can be found at Target but the larger pouch is about $7 at Costco. More and more, I've been finding great plant-based, organic products there and the larger sizes work well for feeding my family of quatro. For my next ramen adventure, I may shop for fatter noodles at the Asian market. I'd love to find thick spinach noodles that they use in the Vegan ramen at my fave spot Tajima on Convoy. http://tajimasandiego.com/
I love food where you can build your own; whether it's tacos, veggie bowls, ramen. I flash fried tofu and stir fried the broccoli and baby bello 'shrooms to add to the ramen. Prepping the veggies was a big time saver. I laid out the toppings on the table; matchstick carrots, sliced jalapeños, (not traditional but it's SD, ya know?), green onions, semi-crunchy oven roasted kale and edamame along with the garlic chili sauce and Sriracha. I think it was a hit and I'll definitely make this again.
For dinner that night, I just boiled some more ramen noodles and reheated the soup. My son and I added medium-boiled eggs to our hot ramen bowls. Yum! Yum!