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Vegan Ramen with Brown Rice Noodles

Oh mama.

First, just to clear the air - I have never actually had a bowl of real ramen. Yes, I've had the packaged instant ramen noodles back in the day. Does anyone else remember that terrifying phase in the 90s where kids just ate crunchy ramen noodles out the bag at lunchtime? Though I was sad at the time, looking back now, I am so glad my mom wouldn't let us do that. And I've had some fish or veggie ramen out at restaurants before, and they've been wonderful. But I have never had a bowl of delicious, high quality ramen out a good Japanese place or ramen shop - here in Canada, or when I was in Japan.

But don't worry. My guy T, who has indeed tried and loved many a real ramen in his day, loves this version just as much. So do I. I bet you will too.

It's super quick to make, very warming and satisfying on a cool winter evening, you can use up all the odds and ends kind of veggies in your fridge, and really let's be honest: eating squiggly noodles is just fun.

Vegan Ramen (with Brown Rice & Millet Noodles)

for two.

Ingredients

  • 2 packages of brown rice ramen noodles. I use this one here, by lotus foods. FYI - they have it at Costco - a 10 pack for around $10 <3
  • 4 - 6 cups of water, or soup stock (we like a lot of broth with our noodles, so we use 6 cups)
  • Veggies of choice. We love: thinly sliced daikon or turnips, carrots, mushrooms of any kind, broccoli, greens - especially cabbage, and green onions.
  • Protein of choice: chickpeas, or some tofu are delicious. Sauteed tempeh would also be mega-yum.
  • lemon juice or vinegar.
  • 3 tsp miso paste of choice (we rotate through mugi miso, a millet miso I picked up, and brown rice miso) OR 1 tbsp shoyu.
  • some spice, if you like it hot: chili pepper flakes, a dash of cayenne, some grated fresh ginger
  • dash of nori flakes or other seaweed flakes.

Directions

  1. Heat up a dash of toasted sesame oil in a large saucepan.
  2. Saute your veggies, starting with the green onions (you can add a pinch of salt), and then add the rest one at at time, starting with the thicker or longer cooking veggies first. Leave out the greens to add in later (unless you're using cabbage, if so, throw them in now).
  3. If using tofu, add it in now and saute for a richer flavour. You can also throw it in later.
  4. Add in soup stock / water.
  5. Bring to boil, and let simmer with the lid on until veggies are fairly tender. If you slice your veggies thinly, then probably around 10 - 15 minutes.
  6. Somewhere along the way, add in a squeeze of lemon, or a dash of brown rice vinegar, and any spices you desire. If using shoyu rather than miso, add the shoyu in now.
  7. Add in sliced greens, and the ramen noodles, and let simmer for about 4 minutes (as per package instructions).
  8. If using Miso, after you put the noodles in, stir your miso with a bit of water or some stock, and add to the pot. let simmer on low (not boiling) for about 4 minutes.
  9. I usually throw in some seaweed flakes near the end, after the noodles are added.
  10.  Enjoy! I like mine with a fresh squeeze of lemon or lime.

Soba soba soba.

Soba. Soba Soba.
So...yummy!

Piles of delicious noodles.
Warm broth.
Vegetables infused with toasted sesame flavour.
Chewy lemony tofu.

In other words, comfort in a bowl.
I can count on one hand the number of times I have eaten noodles in the last few years.

It's sad, because I was in Japan where Udon and Soba were a plenty.
But, it was hard to find 100% buckwheat noodles...most places use a mix of wheat/buckwheat noodles in soba, and udon, while insanely delicious, is made with wheat flour. I did indulge a few times, and loved every bite, but it was very infrequent.

Well, I found all buckwheat noodles here. And it's plenty cold right now (Winter seems to have forgotten that it missed it's chance...March is not time to start blizzarding and freezing). And on a Friday, simple meals are much appreciated. So here it is:

Sesame Veggie Soba Bowl

Ingredients (for 2 big servings):
* 2 bundles of soba noodles (usually they come pacakged with each serving wrapped in a little paper band).
* 6 cups water
* few pinches of sea salt
*2 Tbsp kuzu or arrowroot powder (for a slight thickening)
*1 Tbsp sesame oil
*1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
*1 head of broccoli in small pieces (including the stem)
* 2 smallish carrots, in thin rounds
*2" of daikon, in thin half moons
*half a package of firm pressed tofu (2 servings), cut into pieces and marinated in lemon juice, shoyu, and a few drops sesame oil for at least an hour if possible
* grated or minced ginger to your preference, or about 1Tbsp ginger juice
*1T or more shoyu or tamari (your preference).
Directions
1. Boil water. Add salt, then noodles. Boil according to pkg (mine said for 6 mins).
2. Scoop out noodles into a colander, and rinse with cold water. Let noodles drain.  Keep the noodle water.
3. Mix kuzu/arrowroot powder with a tiny bit of water, stirring until lumps are gone.
4. Add kuzu and ginger juice to noodle water and stir occasionally, letting it come back to boil, then simmer.
6.  Meanwhile, sautΓ© veggies in sesame oils with a lid on. If they become dry, add a teeny tiny bit of water.
6. When veggies are 80% cooked (just about soft), add them to the broth. Shake the condensation from the lid into the noodle pot. Trust me on this one---it's very flavourful.
7.  Add shoyu or tamari to the broth, to taste. Let simmer for at least 5 minutes.
8.  Meanwhile, saute tofu in pan until browned a bit on each side, adding water/oil if needed.
9. Put noodles into the bottom of 2 bowls.
10.. Once the tofu's browned, add it to the veggies and broth. Simmer for ~3 mins.
11. Scoop veggies and tofu into each bowl, and then pour the broth over top.
One of the most satisfying meals I've eaten in ages.

P.S. Recommended eating utensils are chopsticks. Slurp and pour the broth into your mouth straight from the bowl.
How do you like your noodles?