Depending on where you live, good vegan ramen can be difficult – if not impossible – to find. Even when restaurants carry a “vegetarian ramen”, they often still inexplicably use a chicken broth (why?!?). I’m lucky enough to live in Toronto which is a very vegan-friendly city and thus has many vegan ramen options. But regardless of the availability of ramen, sometimes it’s just nice to make something from scratch at home. Enter Spicy Miso Ramen.
The key to a good ramen is the broth. Traditional Japanese dashi broth is made by soaking kombu, a dried kelp, in warm water for many hours, and then using that kombu-flavoured water to build a stock. I wanted to cut down on the time it takes to make the broth, so I did that by boiling the kombu right along with all the other flavour-enhancing ingredients like onions, carrots, garlic, ginger, chilis, and dried mushrooms. Because kombu has a tendency to get unpleasantly slimy when boiled too long, we remove it halfway though the boiling process so it lends only its distinct flavour to the broth. If you haven’t come across kombu before, you’ll have to head to an Asian grocery or to your local Chinatown to track it down. It really is necessary if you’re hoping to achieve an authentic flavour.
While the broth simmers and the flavours build, we can get going on our other ramen ingredients. We marinate some tofu and pop it in the oven to bake, then we use that same marinade to flavour some grilled mushrooms. We also char some bok choy for a fresh green element to the soup.
All that’s left is to assemble the ramen. Freshly cooked noodles go in the bottom of the bowl and are covered in broth. Then we layer the bok choy, mushrooms, and tofu, and garnish with some fresh green onion and sesame seeds. Mm mm.
The next time you’re craving ramen, you should give this Spicy Miso Ramen recipe a try! Recreating authentic flavours at home is always a rewarding experience. Drop me a line in the comments to let me know how it turns out!