A Japanese-inspired ramen dish made with a simple light tasting broth.
There’s just something so charming about ramen, isn’t there? I find it enjoyable sitting down to a big bowl of noodles swimming in a hot broth with various toppings. It may just be the soup fanatic in me, but I love it.
For my ramen, I went for a light and simple broth. It doesn’t take many ingredients but they get along so nicely with each other and the results are tasty. I start with some onion, ginger, and garlic sauteed in a bit of oil. When everything gets golden brown and crispy looking, I deglaze the pan with mirin. Mirin is a sweet Japanese cooking wine. It gives a really nice flavor to the broth and it pulls up all the delicious brown bits that get stuck to the pan.
No storebought broth is needed for this recipe. All I use next is water and salt. Sounds too easy but we’re not done yet! After simmering for half an hour, I add kombu. This sea vegetable is briny and a tiny bit fishy. Three small strips are simmered for only four minutes. You’d be surprised how much the flavor develops from the kombu alone.
The very last ingredient I add to the broth is sweet white miso paste. I remove a ladle of broth from the pot and mix it with the miso paste to ensure I can get out all of the lumps before adding it back to the pot. The miso adds umami and some more saltiness. At this point, you should taste the broth to make sure it’s seasoned well. Add more salt to taste if necessary.
Of course, now all that’s left is to dish out the broth and noodles and add your toppings. 😀 I’ve listed the toppings I used in the recipe below under “optional toppings.” If you are interested in the seitan I used, it was a recipe from the Hot For Food cookbook, Vegan Comfort Classics by Lauren Toyota. The recipe was called Saved by Seitan. However, you can use any homemade or store-bought vegan protein (such as tofu or tempeh). Just know that seitan will need to be made well ahead of time.
- 1 tbsp oil
- ½ of a medium sized onion, cut in large chunks (not diced)
- 3-4 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
- 4-5 large slices of ginger
- ¼ cup mirin
- 8 cups of water
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 strips of kombu (mine were about 7 inches)
- 1 tbsp sweet white miso paste
- 4 servings ramen noodles (10oz) (I used buckwheat ramen)
- blanched asparagus
- thawed peas and/or corn
- green onion
- sliced radish
- chili oil
- toasted nori
- sesame seeds
- pan-fried tofu or pan-fried seitan
- In a medium-sized soup pot, heat the oil over medium-low heat. Once shimmering, add the onion, garlic, and ginger. Saute for 10 minutes until the onions look golden brown and there is a nice browning to your pan. (Refer to pictures)
- Deglaze the pot with the mirin. Stir it up and allow the alcohol to cook out about 30 seconds.
- Add the water and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
- While the broth simmers, prepare your ramen toppings.
- Bring a separate pot of water to boil for the noodles.
- Cook to package instructions.
- Strain noodles and rinse with cold water to halt cooking. Set aside.
- Keep the heat at a simmer and add the kombu. Continue simmering for 4 minutes.
- In the meantime, add a ladle of the broth to a small bowl along with the miso paste. Whisk the miso into the broth until there are no more lumps. Set this aside.
- Once the broth has finished the 30 minutes of simmering, strain the broth. Discard the vegetables. Add the miso mixture and stir to incorporate.
- Portion out the noodles into 4 bowls. (If you plan on saving some for leftovers, toss leftover noodles with a bit of oil and refrigerate separately from the broth.)
- Add your toppings and then ladle the broth over the noodles.