Sometimes when I get home from work I’m too tired to cook anything special. Occasionally, however, I start thinking about cooking something that requires preparation and precision. And that thought leads me to ramen. Here’s a vegan version I made just a few weeks ago.
For the broth: I didn’t have any miso paste, so I couldn’t use the same method I used in my previous ramen post. I started with a large spring onion and about six button mushrooms, all roughly chopped. I cooked these in a deep pot in some canola oil over medium heat, seasoned with salt and pepper, letting them get nice and caramelized. This took about 15 or 20 minutes. Then I added about a half a cup of soy sauce, and then filled the pot with water. I brought this up to a boil and then let it simmer while I prepped the rest of the ingredients. After about 20 minutes I used my immersion blender to get it nice and smooth. I checked for seasoning and then let it sit over low heat.
For the toppings: In a small pot I boiled equal parts water, soy sauce, and rice vinegar. I chopped up a handful of green and wax beans, and then cooked those pieces in the soy-vinegar mix for a few minutes. They soaked up a lot of flavor but retained a bit of crunch. After removing the beans I did the same with large pieces of napa cabbage. I also had a nice small zucchini, which I sliced on my mandoline to get uniform slices, and seared these in canola oil. It only took a few minutes, and I seasoned them with salt and pepper. Finally I cut a block or super firm tofu into thin slices.
To assemble the soup: I boiled the noodles in some lightly salted water, and then drained them and put them into a bowl. Then I poured the hot soup over the noodles. I arranged the sliced tofu and zucchini on top of the broth. Then I added a spoonful of the beans, and then the napa cabbage. I drizzled some chili oil over the top and garnished with sliced greens from the spring onion I’d used for the broth.
It all came together for a great summer dinner. Sure, it took some time (and about four different pots and pans), but sometimes for a good meal I’m willing to take the time (and clean the mess).