Ramen Soup for the Soul
By Nancy Eisman
Ramen is a Japanese adaptation of the noodles introduced in that country by Chinese immigrants in the mid to late 19th century. The noodles are served in a broth flavored with miso and soy sauce and topped with an array of simply prepared ingredients. Hundreds of regional variations exist throughout Japan and other parts of Asia.
Post WWII rice shortages in Japan led to an influx of U.S. wheat flour which increased the availability of ramen noodles. Instant versions came on the scene in the states in the 1980s and in the last few years restaurant-made-from-scratch ramen is growing in popularity.
While traditional ramen is prepared with animal derived ingredients, today you’ll also find modern plant-based versions such as the one featured here. The broth is deliciously flavored with dried shiitake mushrooms, green onions, tamari sauce, umami-rich miso paste, garlic and ginger. Toppings consist of baby bok choy, shelled edamame, and watermelon radishes. Additional flavors finishing this plant-based ramen are sesame oil, Melissa’s new Costa Azul sir-a-cha style sauce, and fresh cilantro.
As always, feel free to substitute any of the toppings for ingredients you prefer and/or have on hand. Flavorful broth + slurpable noodles + fresh toppings = a bowl of tasty, homemade, filling, and fully satisfying ramen. This is most definitely plant-based Japanese-style soup for the soul.
Ramen Soup for the Soul
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 1/2 cups dried shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated
1 ½ cups green onions, chopped
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
3 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
2 tablespoons white miso paste
1 teaspoon agave
6 cups vegetable broth
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
1 cup shelled edamame
2 cups baby bok choy, chopped
1 cup watermelon radishes, peeled, sliced and quartered
1 (8 ounce package) ramen noodles
Melissa’s Costa Azul or sriracha sauce
Fresh cilantro, chopped
In a stockpot heat up the vegetable and sesame oils, and then add in the mushrooms and green onions. Sauté 3-4 minutes and then add in the garlic and ginger. Sauté an additional minute.
Add in the additional broth ingredients, whisk to combine, and bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer the broth for at least 20 minutes.
In the meantime, cook the ramen noodles according to package instructions, rinse with warm water and set aside.
After the broth has simmered, add in the edamame, baby bok choy, and watermelon radishes and cook for 5 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
Place some of the cooked noodles in each bowl. Pour the broth over the noodles. Drizzle with sesame oil and costa azul, and garnish with fresh cilantro. Grab some chop sticks and start slurping!