This recipe shows that you can make a good veggie broth for ramen. There are two options for our version of the classic Japanese noodle soup. You can add delicious tamago eggs at the end or make it vegan by adding some crisp fried tofu instead – see our tip. Both are great so take your pick. If you opt for the Ramen eggs, they do need to be made in advance, by marinating boiled peeled eggs in a mixture of soy sauce and mirin.
Put all the broth ingredients into a saucepan and add 1.5 litres of water. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for 30 minutes until everything is very soft and the stock has reduced by about a third. Remove from the heat and leave to stand.
In a separate pan, heat the oil. Add the cabbage and fry over a high heat until lightly browned on the cut sides, then remove from the pan and set aside. Add the onion and carrot and cook until the onions are lightly browned. Stir in the miso paste to coat the vegetables and cook for a further couple of minutes. Put the cabbage back into the pan.
Strain the broth and pour it over the vegetables. Taste for seasoning and add more soy, mirin or sugar to taste. Add the white parts of the spring onions and simmer until the cabbage is tender.
Cook the noodles according to the packet instructions, then run them under cold water and drain thoroughly. Toss them in the sesame oil. Divide the noodles and nori sheets between 4 large bowls, then ladle over the broth and vegetables. Sprinkle the sesame seeds over the eggs, if using, and add these to the bowls, then garnish with the spring onion greens, coriander and beansprouts, if using. Serve with chilli oil and more soy sauce.
Making your ramen vegan
For a vegan ramen, cut a block of extra-firm tofu into chunks, pat dry and toss it in a tablespoon of cornflour. Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a frying pan and fry the tofu until crisp and browned on all sides. Drizzle with a few drops of sesame oil and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Add it to the soup instead of the eggs.
Buying Japanese ingredients
It's getting easier and easier to find Japanese ingredients in large supermarkets. Mirin, dried seaweed, miso paste and dried shiitake mushrooms should be available in the Asian aisle, and larger towns will often have Asian shops. If you can't find them locally most ingredients can be bought online from specialist shops or Amazon.
The Hairy Bikers' Veggie Feasts by Si King and Dave Myers. Published by Seven Dials on 29 October 2020, Hardback £22, eBook £12.99
For more vegetarian recipes from The Hairy Bikers try their recipes for vegetarian enchiladas, mushroom bourguignon and red onion tarte tatin. Visit our hubs for vegetarian recipes and vegan recipes for more meat-free meal ideas.