Actually, I ate this type of ramen far into my college years. This is quite a common dorm staple, as many people know. There was something amazing about instant salty soup with tons of noodles in it after a long night of…studying…
When I became vegan, I realized that prepackaged goods like ramen are probably best as a “last resort” food (like, if the zombies show up). When I tried cooking gluten-free, I was ready to give up ramen forever. That is, until I found this amazing product:
Yes, there is finally an organic, gluten-free and vegan ramen noodle on the market! Lotus Foods has a few different varieties of gluten-free ramen. They sell family packs like this one and also single-serve packs! I really loved the quality of these noodles. The shape of the noodle patty is very similar to what I was used to seeing.
This variety is a bit more “wavy” than “curly”, but it looks good all the same! The noodles cook up in about the same amount of time as regular ramen, about 4 minutes or so. I prepared my soup before cooking the noodles to avoid over-cooking. Gluten-free noodles and pasta must be cooked al dente or under or they become mush. =(
The texture of the Lotus ramen was very similar to regular ramen. I thought there was a lack of oily quality, but that’s a good thing in my book! I compensated for the lack of oil in the noodles by adding a little olive oil into my broth. This is totally optional, but I think it made the dish taste more rich and authentic.
The soup that I made for my ramen dish is very robust and velvety. If there is too much salt in it for your taste, you can dial back the tamari and miso, but be aware that it will lose some flavor. Cooking the soup with more mushrooms might help this!
I hope you enjoy this ramen as much as I did. It’s been a very long time since I’ve had a homemade noodle soup like this and it’s so comforting! Eating a bowl of noodles like this is best done on a chilly fall evening with a good book. ^_^
For garnish, I used thinly sliced red beets, gomashio (sesame salt), and marinated kamaboko-style tofu (fish cake). Kamaboko is a processed fish product that is often used for garnishing dishes in Japan. It has a spongy texture and a slightly sweet umami taste. I marinated some extra-firm tofu in dulse seaweed, ume vinegar, and mirin to achieve a similar flavor. I also added some sliced beet to the marinade for a slight pink color. Many kamaboko have white and pink colors to them. (I’m not really sure why…)
You may leave the garnishes off of your soup, but they really are a fun way to liven up your dish! The sweet earthy flavor of the beets cut through the salty miso, the tofu provides a little sweetness and texture (as well as protein!), and the gomashio adds texture and color.
Play around and add other types of garnishes to your ramen! Raw scallion, nutritional yeast, umeboshi, shredded carrot, bean sprouts…the possibilities are endless!
Gluten-Free Miso Ramen
Broth recipe adapted from Kansha by Elizabeth Andoh
- 1 patty of gluten-free vegan ramen (or noodle of choice)
- handful of dried shiitake mushroom slices (or fresh)
- 2 large dried shiitake mushrooms
- 4 cups water/vegetable stock
- 3 Tb tamari
- 2 Tb mirin
- 3 1/2 Tb shiro miso
- 1 tsp ume vinegar
- 1 tsp olive oil, opt.
- 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
- dash dried poultry seasoning
- stamp-sized piece of dried kombu
- 1/3 cup frozen shelled edamame
- 6 large dino kale leaves, thinly sliced (or other leafy green)
- 1/3 cup thinly sliced daikon
- Add all ingredients into a medium stock put except for noodles and miso. Bring to a simmer.
- Prepare the vegetables while waiting for soup to develop.
- Once the soup has begun to simmer, add the miso into the pot over a strainer to catch any solid pieces. Add the vegetables as well.
- Continue to simmer and taste for flavor. Mine took about 25 minutes. Once the broth tastes flavorful enough, remove and discard the kombu and whole shiitake mushrooms.
- Add the patty of ramen noodles and simmer for about 4-5 minutes or until the noodles are tender and al dente.
- Pour into a large bowl and garnish with tofu (recipe below), sliced (raw) beets, gomashio, or anything else of your liking!
Kamaboko-style Marinated Tofu
- 1 block extra-firm tofu, drained and pressed
- 2 tsp ume vinegar
- 2 tsp mirin
- 1 Tb dried dulse
- 2 thin slices of (raw) red beetroot
- stamp-sized piece of dried kombu
- 1 cup of water/vegetable stock
- Combine all ingredients except tofu in a deep container/bowl.
- Slice the block of tofu into small pieces, any shape you like. Place them into the container of marinade and refrigerate over night if possible.
- Take out the tofu when ready to use. It should be slightly pink in color.
Slurp your way to happiness! ^_^