Vegan Mushroom and Tofu Ramen

Ramen is one of those aromatic comfort foods that is a staple of Japanese households. Ramen houses now abound in the U.S. but the ramen bowls they offer are loaded with oil and mostly not plant-based. You can make your own at home that will be more "whole" and completely plant-based, but with its multiple parts it is best made when you have a larger block of time!

There are four main parts to making a delicious bowl of ramen. There's the broth, sometimes called "dashi", the sauce which flavors the broth, the ramen noodles which are now available in all sorts of whole grain varieties, and the toppings which in this recipe are bok choy, mushrooms, broccolini, tofu, cilantro, black sesame seeds, and chili threads. It is fun to modify the topping ingredients to suit your personal tastes and what you have on hand.

I highly recommend that you review each section of the recipe and set up the ingredients for that section in advance. This technique known as "mis en place" (everything in its place) will greatly simplify the preparation.

Mushroom and Tofu Ramen Bowl

Serves 2

For the Dashi broth:

1 cup chopped yellow onion

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely chopped

4 1/2 cups water

2 inch by 5 inch piece of dried Kombu* (kelp)

6-8 shiitake mushrooms (dried whole shiitake mushrooms will also work)

For the "sauce":

2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

2 teaspoons sugar (or date syrup, or agave)

2 teaspoons rice vinegar

2 teaspoons sake or dry sherry

1-2 teaspoons Siracha (depends how hot you like it!)

For the toppings:

7 oz extra firm tofu, cubed

1-2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

Pepper to taste

1 baby bok choy, sliced in half lengthwise

1 cup broccolini florets

7 oz Enoki mushrooms, separated into thin strands

5 oz Seafood mushrooms

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh ginger

1 tablespoon soy sauce

6 oz ramen noodles

2 teaspoons black sesame seeds

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Chili threads to taste

Place the top rack of your oven racks under the broiler coils and turn oven to "broil" setting.