The ultimate vegan ramen
March 4, 2015 3:46 AM   Subscribe

Climbing Mt. Ramen, vegan-style. For the past four years, J. Kenji Lopez-Alt of Serious Eats has gone vegan for the month of February.
This is hands-down the best bowl of ramen I've ever made. And it can all be yours—with a little bit of heavy-duty climbing, that is. It's a bear of a recipe with many moving parts and tons of individual elements that need to come together in one bowl at the end. Set aside at least half a day for this project because you won't be making it on a weeknight. That said, it's not very difficult, technique-wise, lots of simmering and straining and just a bit of roasting. Come with me. I can lead the way and put the anchors in for you, but you're going to have to pull yourself up to the top.
posted by Lexica (16 comments total) 56 users marked this as a favorite
 
We're beginning packing up our apartment to move into our new house this month, but I am totally tackling this once we get settled. This is the sort of vegan food project Shepherd and I love to do!
posted by Kitteh at 4:06 AM on March 4, 2015


I was assured that we were past peak ramen. Apparently I was lied to. We just started getting dedicated ramen shops in my area and the likelihood of them serving vegan ramen hovers around zero.
posted by vuron at 5:10 AM on March 4, 2015


That'd be a false Ramen peak
posted by MOWOG at 5:39 AM on March 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


This sounds like something I would be very willing to pay someone else to put together. It also looks a bit like the mushroom ramen I had from the Jewish ramen place in Brooklyn, Dassara. I don't know if it was vegan, but it had a several load of mushroom flavour in it!

Vegan laksa next please!
posted by asok at 5:49 AM on March 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


The best ramen I've had has generally been vegetarian or vegan.
posted by and they trembled before her fury at 6:07 AM on March 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


I don't cook much these days, but this looks like a worthy effort for a nice quiet Sunday. I used to make quicky ramen for me and my ex as a comfort food meal. It was good, but this looks like it'll go the extra mile into greatness.
posted by ursus_comiter at 6:51 AM on March 4, 2015


We're beginning packing up our apartment to move into our new house this month, but I am totally tackling this once we get settled.

[makes note to self to bring a really nice bottle of wine to Kitteh and Shepherd's housewarming party in hopes that they will one day make ramen for me]

Charring aromatics before you use them to make soup broth is a great trick to use if you want to impress the hell out of your dinner guests without making too much of a fuss in the kitchen; it adds a magical-tasting sort of je ne sais quoi to the meal. When in doubt, always chuck your pre-broth onions, ginger, and galengal under a broiler or hold them over an open flame on a gas stovetop.

While I cannot in good conscience endorse human consumption of eggplant in any form or fashion, I'm super-intrigued by the notion of using roasted sweet potatoes a) in ramen at all and b) to create a creamy-textured broth that really sticks to the noodles as they're slurped. Whenever I see "vegan" and "creamy" I immediately start trying to figure out where the $15 worth of soaked cashews is going to come in.

As much as I love (LOVE. LOVE!) J. Kenji López-Alt and Serious Eats, I must draw a line at substituting chili powder for shichimi togarashi. Just... omg, please don't do it. If you want to make this recipe but you can't find Japanese seven spice, drop me a MeMail and I'll mail you a whole bottle! Or you can hit up Amazon and snag the same stuff I use for $3 shipped. And if you stumble across it lingering in the back of your pantry one day and can't figure out what else to do with it, just mix it up with some nori furikake and sprinkle it on top of rice. Yum.
posted by divined by radio at 7:49 AM on March 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


This intrigues me, but I wonder about puréeing sweet potato in the broth. I imagine that would give the broth a faintly mealy texture. Has anyone tried anything like this?
posted by amtho at 8:25 AM on March 4, 2015


I love Serious Eats' Food Lab posts and for the past couple of years I have been so delighted by the Vegan Experience. There are so many opportunities for thoughtful culinary problem solving in vegan cuisine and I love that someone as brilliant as Lopez-Alt is giving them some attention. Even though Austin has a ramen shop with a killer vegan ramen, I still planning on giving this a go.

I made the best vegan nacho cheese sauce for our Super Bowl party and while mine didn't look as smooth as their picture does (no doubt due to a crappy blender) it was a huge hit. Sure beat the hell out of nutritional yeast goo.
posted by marshmallow peep at 8:41 AM on March 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


Steam the sweet potato first then puree in a blender with some of the broth. I just did this yesterday with chalky white sweet potatoes, they smoothe out for sauce.
posted by Oyéah at 8:57 AM on March 4, 2015


I wonder about puréeing sweet potato in the broth

I have another recipe involving pureed sweet potato in broth and it is FANTASTIC. Proceed without hesitation.
posted by ikahime at 10:05 AM on March 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


TIL that tare is A Thing that normally goes at the bottom of bowls of ramen. Looking it up just now, apparently it's the same thing as eel sauce, which is the same stuff you eat as a dipping sauce with yakitori? So now I'm really into the prospect of whipping up a big batch of it and eating it on everything. I bet it makes an exceptional glaze on this expertly-grilled tofu.

My local ramen dispensary has a smoked tofu & spicy miso ramen bowl that is 100% vegan and out of this world delicous. Several omni friends have remarked that the flavor of the miso broth is just as savory and multi-faceted as non-vegan broth, but I've never been able to make it anywhere near as good at home. Maybe tare is the key!

I made the best vegan nacho cheese sauce for our Super Bowl party and while mine didn't look as smooth as their picture does (no doubt due to a crappy blender) it was a huge hit. Sure beat the hell out of nutritional yeast goo.

OMG. I super-duper miss Food for Lovers vegan queso (RIP at the commercially-packaged-and-sold level, but the original recipe lives on) and will thus be checking out this recipe with all due urgency. Also kinda freaking out about this dehydrated miso and olive pseudo-parm concoction!
posted by divined by radio at 11:23 AM on March 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


All I want to know is WHAT OIL DID HE USE??
posted by bibliogrrl at 3:53 PM on March 4, 2015


Vegetable or canola, according to the full recipe page.
posted by angeline at 5:53 PM on March 4, 2015


I enjoyed a vegan treat today, in the form of sauteed green garbanzo beans in the pod. I used hot olive oil, fresh chopped garlic, dill, and sumac spice, which is lemony. I read you sautee in something flavorful, then flash steam in the pan. The hulls hold the flavoring, but you pull the chick peas out of the hull, with your teeth. The recipe I read said they fall between artichoke and asparagus in flavor. I added a little spike for the last thing. They were great, I have never tried them before. It must be the early season in mexico. I found them at a mexican market.
posted by Oyéah at 8:47 PM on March 4, 2015


It also looks a bit like the mushroom ramen I had from the Jewish ramen place in Brooklyn, Dassara.

Damn you for making me think there was a kosher ramen place in New York.
posted by cosmic owl at 7:16 PM on March 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


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