This spicy vegan ramen is epic, and I don't mind sayin. I luuuuuv ramen. I literally cannot get enough of it. If there is a ramen joint within sight I have to try it. The place up the street makes a vegan ramen that makes me weak at the knees! I have to restrain myself from going up there single day for my fix. So, the pressure was on to create a mind-blowing ramen that would satisfy me enough to stay at home.
With ramen, it's all about the broth. And the noodles. So, being vegan and gluten-free I had two challenges right out of the gate. But, I was up to the challenge, and the results are spectacular.
I used the Massel beef-flavored broth as my base, and booted it up with mushroom powder (fine ground dried mushrooms), tamari, ginger, and garlic. Then, I sweetened it slightly with coconut milk and mirin. I like a slightly spicy back-end note, so I added just a little bit of red pepper flakes. If you don't like spicy, omit them. If you love heat, increase the amount to 1/4 of a teaspoon.
If you're never worked with dried mushrooms before, they're really easy to use. You can purchase dried shiitakes from Asian grocers, most regular grocers, and online. I chop the dried mushrooms into small pieces, and then throw them into a spice grinder or clean coffee grinder and process until you have a fine powder. On average, 1⁄4 cup (4g) dried mushrooms will yield about 2 tablespoons of powder. Do not miss adding the mushrooms. The combo of the Massel beef-flavored broth and the mushrooms gives you an umami explosion. Add the aromatics, and you've got a righteous ramen broth that will satisfy the most discerning ramen aficionado.
I love bok choy, shiitakes (because they're medicinal masters), tofu, and green onions for my fillings, and the toasted sesame oil adds another note of flavor. Because I'm gluten-free I used thick rice-stick noodles in this recipe. To make them taste better, I soak them in the Massel broth. If you're not gluten-free, use regular ramen noodles for the best experience. I'm sorry to say, but I haven't found a really satisfying gluten-free alternative to conventional ramen noodles.
For those of you in the U.S who haven't heard of the Massel broth, use the store locator to find out where you can get the product in your local area. Or, order it from amazon. Aussies, you know the drill.
This ramen has been part of the regular dinner rotation this summer and we are happy Los Angeleans eating dinner out on our new deck under the stars. This is the life.
Do not miss making this ramen. It is just amazeballs.
*I'm an ambassador for Massel, but my opinions are my own.