Is Ramen Ramen without Mushrooms? This is, of course, a vegan question. The broth used for Ramen usually contains meet or at least fish.
So I always thought that in order for Vegan Ramen to be tasty and plentiful, it had to have mushrooms.
Problem: the under 16 year olds of the house have a profound distaste for mushrooms but love Ramen. Some are even carnivorous. You’ll also have friends over who cannot live without meat. How can you cook Ramen for both?
Disclaimer: This is not sponsored by Ikea but, guys, *waving smilingly* you can always get in touch. I’ll sacrifice my principles in a jiffy.
So, without further ado, let me introduce you ot the Ramen Veggie/Meatball glory.
First, you have to make that broth. My inspiration was this recipe by the marvellous Japanese Vegan youtuber, Ryoya who is a sort of diaphanous creature that makes the most compelling videos I have ever seen. It’s called Peaceful Cuisine for a reason.
He uses shitake mushrooms, of course, but that’s off limits for me.
If you take a look at the video, you’ll wonder how that was an inspiration at all. (Probably the grated garlic and the surprising absence of ginger – totally out of character for me.)
So, I rummage in my fridge and decide to cut half a leek, grate a whole garlic clove and add mange-tout and green asparagus to my pot.
I also have a separate pot where I am heating water to cook the noodles.
The satisfying thing with broths, is that you don’t need a lot of vegetables. On the contrary, you need it to be the most delicious brown water you ever tasted with the odd vegetable here and there.
At this point everything is in the pot and the only thing left to do, for now, is to add a good soup spoonful of Miso paste.
I pour water almost to the brim. In the meantime, the other pot has boiling water and I cook the wholewheat noodles in 5 minutes.
Now that’s when it gets clever.
Take Veggieballs and Meatballs purchased at Ikea. They’re cheap and good. Pop them in the oven. They’ll be ready when the Ramen is done.
Now it gets even cleverer.
I watch Nigella Lawson’s channel once in a while and I saw how she prepares her Ramen.
So here is the success of this whole enterprise (thanks Nigella!): radishes.
I’m convinced that this is what makes this broth so good.
Slice them in quarters and add them after the broth has cooked a little (about 10 mns in).
Now it’s time to prepare the fresh ingredients: chopped spring onions and coriander.
It’s also time to put on the table the seasonings: sriracha sauce, sesame oil, soy sauce and…
Rostad Lök! Which is “fried onions” in Ikea Swedish.
Now put some noodles in a bowl, pour the broth over them, and add the veggie or meatballs.
Sprinkle with fresh chopped coriander, fried onions, soy sauce, or anything else that comes to mind and is delicious.
Ok, so in theory I shouldn’t give you the ingredients because the lesson here is that with a bit of boiling water, radishes and miso paste, everything tastes heavenly.
But for having tried cooking Ramen before without such great results, I am convinced that these ingredients top mushrooms. At least the ones we buy in the supermarket.
So here goes, to make your life easier:
For 3 very hungry people:
100 g of mange tout
5 small green asparagus
1 tbsp of miso paste
3 wholewheat noodle nests (from Sainsbury’s)
Coarse salt to taste
Chopped spring onions
And for those who like fiery Ramen, some chilli flakes or Sriracha sauce