After your first taste of high-quality Japanese ramen, there’s no turning back. Ramen is one of those things that seems to have surpassed simply being “food,” developing its own subculture of noodle geeks scouring their locales for the best ramen joint(s).
And if you’re already a ramen snob, you surely know how difficult it is to find a worthy bowl, let alone one that’s made without pork. So we set out to deliver a completely vegan ramen recipe - one that even forgoes the egg in favor of vegan noodles.
NOTE: For your noodles, a good bet is this recipe courtesy of David Chang’s book Momofuku. You can certainly find delicious ramen noodles at Japanese grocery stores, usually in the fresh or frozen section - but most of these WILL contain eggs. For vegan noodles, you might have to go the homemade route, which involves tracking down alkaline salt.
To make the broth
- 2 sliced onions
- 2 lbs button mushrooms, broken up
- 1/2 lb king trumpet mushrooms
- A little rice bran oil (or other neutral oil)
- 8-10 quarts of water
- 1/2 handful fermented black beans
- 1/2 handful whole, peeled garlic
- 8” x 12” sheet of Kombu
STEP 1: If you have a pressure cooker, saute onions, mushrooms and oil in a pressure cooker until all ingredients are nice and browned. If not, use a stockpot and over low hear until browned.
STEP 2: Cover the pressure cooker or stockpot with the water, and add the rest of the ingredients. Cook with the pressure cooker for 30 minutes, or 2-3 hours in the stockpot over low heat. Strain the broth, then season liberally with good quality soy sauce or shoyu to taste.
STEP 3: Make and cook the noodles, but cook them very briefly (45 seconds should do). We’re not going to go through the entire process, but here’s a great link that shows images of everything along with the process. It’s really just flour and water, but without eggs, these noodles get their springiness from alkaline salts. (If you have trouble finding alkaline salts locally, this recipe uses kansui, which is essentially a mixture of sodium carbonate and potassium carbonate that forms an alkaline solution when mixed with water. Science is fun!)
STEP 4 : Plate your broth in a large bowl, then add the cooked noodles. Top with your choice of ingredients. Things that go great are shaved radish, green onions, good quality smoked tofu (we love Hodosoy), bamboo shoots and shredded cabbage.