Sunday, March 30, 2014

Ramen and Stealin'

Because who doesn't love Japanese noodle bowls and Beastie Boys? We've been getting our ramen on in a big way lately and as far as comfort food goes it may actually be surpassing mashed potatoes with miso gravy. The basis of ramen is the broth which is known as dashi, chinese wheat noodles, often hand made, make up the noodle portion and toppings seem to be wide open but often consist of chopped pork or chicken, green onions, seaweed and egg. Traditionally dashi is made with soaked edible seaweed and bonito flakes but we like to keep our ramen bowl user friendly for our vegan pals and include this meal in our ongoing food competition with each other known as "vegan challenge". We cheated a bit with our dashi by starting with a light flavourful vegetable stock, then introduced soaked wakame seaweed and dried shitake mushrooms. The broth was simmered for about half an hour then strained. Taste the broth as it cooks down and adjust seasonings as needed with a bit of tamari. The stock is then returned to the stove and brought back to a simmer before adding udon noodles. Udon are the fresh, fat white noodles that seem a little wormy. Get over it, they're delicious...for worms. The noodles only require about five minutes to cook, then you can portion them into heated bowls and top off with the broth. Erin opted to deck her ramen out with roasted corn and mushrooms, deep fried tofu, bean sprouts, purple cabbage and rapini. It was amazing to say the least and the vegan ramen bar has been set pretty high. The weapons of choice for eating such a dish are chopsticks and wonton soup spoons. If you're anything like us, be prepared to make a big slurpy mess as you eat this dish.

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