Ramen is one of those dishes that everybody loves. Homemade delicious broth, slurpy noodles, and all kinds of toppings you can imagine - what is not to like! Perfect for windy, cold, and dark autumn weather. Ramen can be extremely simple if using store-bought broth and noodles. It can be even more effortless by ordering in from your favorite takeaway. BUT if you want to create something truly special and have a few hours to spare, give this recipe a try. And imagine the amount of packaging you can avoid using by preparing the broth and noodles from scratch (I hate excessive packaging and always try to buy free from plastic to reduce my ecological footprint as much as possible).
I have given the amounts in this recipe for two people, but any time I make stock, I always use my largest pot to make more and just freeze anything left over to use in future stews, soups, curries, etc.
Once you have the broth and noodles, you only need to think about the toppings. I always like adding soft boiled eggs (obviously not vegan, but I only use eggs that are 100% free-range. I know this because a friend of mine has chickens who run around freely and are hugged every day), sliced mushrooms, and edamame on top. Cilantro, green onion, and sesame seeds are also mandatory for me and then anything else that I happen to have – sometimes boiled and fried potato halves (I only add those if I have some boiled potatoes left over from a different meal), sometimes grilled, baked or fried eggplant rounds. I sometimes also add prawns as I am not vegetarian.
Feel free to add anything you like, and if you are missing some of the toppings I have listed - no worries, even only the noodles and broth taste good, the toppings are just a bonus!
Vegetarian Ramen Made from Scratch
Cooking time: 2 hours
Serves: 2 (but I recommend to double or triple the recipe)
For the noodles:
6 oz flour
1 ½ tsp baked soda (not baking soda – check the notes)
½ cup water
For the broth:
1 tbsp rapeseed oil
1 large onion, roughly chopped
1 large carrot, roughly chopped
3 ½ oz ginger, roughly chopped
1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
1 star anise
1 l boiling water
1-2 tbsp sesame oil (be careful and start by adding just a little – some sesame oils are extraordinarily pungent, and adding too much is not a good idea. I used the light oil, but if you have dark toasted sesame oil at home, start by only adding ½ tsp, taste and add more if needed)
½ dl soy sauce
Soft boiled eggs
Boiled potatoes, sliced in half and fried until crispy (in butter or oil)
Thinly sliced young button mushrooms
Roasted eggplant rounds
Toasted sesame seeds
For omnivores prawns or leftover pork roast or anything else you can think of
Mix flour with baked soda, and then add water. Start by mixing with a fork, then continue kneading with your hands.
This is not a soft dough, and it is not supposed to be. Kneading will be challenging, but do not give up. Think about it as a workout instead :). In about 5 minutes, you should have a ball of dough that holds together. If this does not happen, add a tiny bit of water, but only one teaspoon at a time.
Cover the ball of dough in plastic and leave to rest for 30 minutes.
Use the pasta machine to cut the noodles. Cut the dough in two and press it as thin as you can with your hands. Then start in the widest setting and let it through the machine at least four times. The dough will fall apart a few times but push it together any time it does and keep putting it through the machine. Don’t worry if it takes more than four passes; just give it time. Once the dough seems to be holding together, start by turning the setting to the next highest number and pass it through each setting one time. My machine has six levels, and I stopped at three – this was just enough to get good noodle shape. If your device has the linguini cutter, now use this to get noodles. If not, just cut them manually.
Boil the noodles in salty water for few minutes just before serving.
For the broth:
Fry the onion, carrot, ginger, and celery for a few minutes in oil. Add the star anise and keep on frying for a few more minutes until the onion is translucent, and the kitchen is full of amazing aromas.
Pour over the hot water and simmer on low for about 40 minutes.
Strain the stock and season with sesame oil and soy sauce.
Baked soda is more alkaline than regular soda, which, in turn, changes noodles' texture to be chewier compared to only using regular flour. To get baked soda, just take regular soda powder; lay it on a baking sheet covered with parchment, and bake for an hour at 250F. As you only need a tiny bit for this recipe, store the rest in an airtight jar. Warning – do not touch pure baked soda as it can irritate the skin. Once you get to kneading the dough, it is okay to handle it as it is mixed with other ingredients by then.
If you don’t have several hours to cook (completely okay, there are more important things in life), feel free to use the organic stock from the store and season it with star anise and ginger. Start by frying chopped ginger in a bit of oil in the bottom of a bot for 5 minutes, then add the star anise and fry for another minute. Cover with stock, bring to boil, and let it simmer in very low for 15 minutes.
I often make my own stock because I love cooking. This is an excellent way to use up any leftovers you have from prepping other meals – carrot and potato peels, ends of leeks and asparagus, onion tops etc. In this recipe here, I wrote down the things I always add to stock but feel free to add other vegetable scrapings. As long as they are clean, they can not ruin your stock (however, purple cabbage and beets might not be the best idea as they turn your stock from clear to purple-brown-red).
If you don’t feel that baking the soda and rolling out noodles – use the store-bought noodles instead and cook by packet instructions.
By Kadri Raig
Kadri is a food blogger and yoga teacher from Estonia. She loves to spend time in the kitchen, but most of her recipes are simple and don’t take more than 20 minutes of active cooking time. She thinks that everybody can find time to cook healthy food at home, it is just a question of planning. "I work in an office full time, teach yoga 7-8 hours a week and write a blog. So if I manage to cook most of my meals, then so do you!" Connect with Kadri and enjoy many more of her delicious healthy recipes on her website here: www.kahvliga.ee.
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