In the last couple of years, Portland has gone crazy for ramen. We have cult ramen restaurants from Japan (something about the water here being the right pH for good broth), but plenty of smaller, local places, too. The vegan ramen at many of these places, if they even have it, is usually an afterthought, though. So I decided to make my own flavorful plant-based version.
This ramen features sweet potato noodles, making it basically a delicious, spicy veggie bowl, and giving me the perfect opportunity to use my vegetable spiralizer. (I have this one). While you could use regular ramen noodles (upgrade from the kind that come in a block, please), sweet potato or zucchini noodles are a satisfying substitute, and they’ve even started selling them pre-noodled in the produce section of local grocery stores here. Or do half and half, which is an option at my favorite local ramen place (Kayo’s Ramen, which does have good vegan ramen!)
Spicy Curry Sweet Potato Noodle Ramen
2 Tbsp red curry paste (less for less heat)
1/4 cup white miso
1 – 2 Tbsp sambal oelek (ground fresh chili paste)
2 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp vegetable oil
1 shallot (or half of a small onion)
4 cups low sodium vegetable broth
1 (15 ounce) can coconut milk
14 ounce extra firm tofu (or the super firm kind from Trader Joes, if that’s available to you)
3 small sweet potatoes
1 ounce dry shiitake mushrooms
4 baby bok choy, split in half lengthwise
3 small sweet potatoes, peeled and noodled
Take your tofu out of the package, and put something heavy on top to press the water out while you’re prepping the ramen broth. Pre-heat the oven to 400°F.
Soak your dried mushrooms according to the instructions on the package.
In a medium bowl, combine red curry paste, white miso, sambal oelek, minced garlic, ginger, brown sugar, sesame oil, and 1/4 cup water. Stir well or whisk to combine.
Heat the vegetable oil over medium high heat in a large pot, then add the shallots, and saute until they turn translucent, about 2-4 minutes. Stir in the miso curry spice mixture you made, and cook for a few more minutes, stirring, until it thickens.
Add the vegetable broth, coconut milk, and 1 cup of water. Bring to a low boil, then turn the heat to low and let simmer for 20 minutes.
Slice tofu into small cubes. Arrange tofu on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet to prevent sticking and bake for a total of 25-35 minutes in pre-heated oven, flipping once halfway through to ensure even cooking. For a slightly more tender texture, pull it out at 20-25 minutes to check. If you want a firmer texture, cook it for 30-35.
In a medium bowl, prepare an ice bath with lots of ice and water. Heat a large pot of water to a gentle simmer. Add the bok choy and allow to cook for 30 seconds or until the greens turn more vibrant. Transfer bok choy to the ice bath with tongs. (Or, if you have an electric kettle, just bring water to a boil, pour it over bok choy in a heat-proof bowl, and let sit for 30 seconds to a minute before transferring to the ice bath.)
To prepare the sweet potato noodles, heat about a teaspoon of oil in a non-stick skillet on medium-high heat. Saute, tossing with tongs, for 5-7 minutes.
To serve, place bok choy, mushrooms, noodles, and tofu in a bowl, and ladle hot broth over.