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Vegan Tonkotsu Ramen

This rich, creamy plant-based Tonkotsu Ramen is redolent of caramelized garlic and ginger and packs a wallop of lip-smacking umami.
Course Entree, Soups & Stews
Cuisine Japanese
Level Beginner
Main Ingredient Noodles
Diet Dairy-Free, Low Sugar, Pescatarian, Vegan, Vegetarian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4 bowl

Ingredients

for mayu

  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 40 grams scallions white part only (finely minced ~3-4 )
  • 30 grams garlic (grated)
  • 20 grams ginger (grated)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce

for tare

  • 4 grams dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 4 grams dried porcini mushrooms
  • 3 grams freeze dried corn
  • 2 grams dashi konbu
  • 5 grams nutritional yeast
  • 1/3 cup white soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup sake
  • 1 teaspoon salt

for ramen

  • unsweetened soy milk
  • nerigoma (see the note at the bottom of the recipe)
  • ramen noodles

Instructions

  1. To make the mayu, add the oil, scallions, garlic and ginger to a small saucepan and fry over low heat, stirring occasionally.
  2. Once the sizzling starts to subside, stir constantly to brown evenly. Keep frying until the mixture is chocolate brown. Turn off the heat and then carefully add 1 tablespoon soy sauce (it will bubble up and spatter).
  3. Turn the heat back on and continue to fry until the sizzlingly mostly subsides and the mixture is coffee brown in color. Remove from the heat and let the mixture cool.
  4. Use a stick blender (or a regular blender) to puree the burnt aromatics and oil.
  5. Crumble the shiitake, porcini, corn and dashi konbu into a spice grinder and grind until it's a fine powder. Add the nutritional yeast and continue grinding until you have a mixture that's the consistency of powdered sugar.
  6. Add the powder to a small sauce pan along with the white soy sauce, sake, and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook for about 3 minutes to burn off the alcohol. Your tare should be about the consistency of gravy.
  7. Boil a pot of water for your noodles.
  8. For every 1 cup of soy milk add 1 tablespoon of tare and 1 teaspoon of nerigoma to a blender. For each bowl of ramen you need about 1 1/2 cups of soup, so if you want to make 2 bowls of ramen, use 3 cups of soy milk, 3 tablespoons of tare and 3 teaspoons(1 tablespoon) of nerigoma. If your soy milk is very rich, you may need to cut it with a bit of water. Blend until smooth and then strain the mixture into a pot through a fine mesh sieve to remove the bubbles and sediment. Heat the soy milk mixture over low heat and make sure it does not boil.
  9. Prepare any toppings you plan to use as the noodles will stretch in the broth if you take too long to get the toppings on. I used menma, woodear, scallions, benishoga, and sesame seeds.
  10. Boil the noodles according to the package directions. I like to boil them for 1 minute less than what the directions say as they will continue to cook once you add them to the broth.
  11. Drizzle some Mayu on top and finish with the rest of the toppings. Serve immediately.

Notes:

Nerigoma is made by grinding whole toasted sesame seed into a butter. Tahini is made by removing the hulls from unroasted sesame seeds and then grinding into a butter. They are similar but not the same. I recommend looking for nerigoma at a Japanese grocery store, but if you can't find it, use Al Wadi brand Tahini (do not use Joyva brand, it will make you ramen taste off).