We Be Ramen [Mushroom Ramen]
There is something so comforting about a steaming hot bowl of broth and noodles, isn’t there?
I don’t indulge in Vietnamese, Thai or Chinese as often as I’d like and I can chalk it up to pure laziness. Once I’m through that front door after work, I’m home for the night. It takes me a matter of seconds to kick off my stockings and throw on big baggy sweats. Walking into Chinatown to grab a bowl of ramen and rich pork broth doesn’t happen after that. It just doesn’t. I’m a lazy old fart, I know.
To try and compensate for the lack of noodles in my life, I decided to take a stab at a ramen noodle bowl. My hopes for this dish were not that it would replace my local Vietnamese/Chinese joint, but that it would at least stave of the urges to buy the god awful Mr Noodle packets. Remember those? The ones that, according to some kids in elementary school, gave you salmonella (how elementary school kids know what salmonella is, I have no idea)? And then ones I pined after while I sulked into my ham sandwich? Yes, those ones. I used to watch enviously as kids poured those sodium staked packets into the noodles, smashed them up with the palms of their hands and poured the crunchy noodles into their mouths. Oh, the humanity! Where are my noodles?! Kids are so weird.
I didn’t have the time to make a homemade stock on a weeknight so relied on the help of a box of vegetable stock. GASP! Boxed stock?! Oh, relax. It’s perfectly fine to use. Before I upset any purists, let me tell you what they’ll tell you. Homemade stock is easy to make, easy to freeze and store and is better than any box stock you can buy. However, when it’s 2pm and you want noodles for dinner and don’t have any stock in the freezer, sacrifices can be made. Desperate times…
This ramen bowl took about 20 minutes to throw together and was much better than I had hoped. I punched up the flavour of the broth with some soy, Sriracha and rice vinegar but there is absolutely no end to the ingredients you can add to your broth to make it your own. So feel free to play. In fact, I think you should.
Mushroom Ramen Bowl
Use a mild tasting oil like peanut or canola oil to saute the onions/ginger/garlic in.
The amounts of ingredients I used in this are based on my personal tastes. Test the broth as you go and change things up as you see fit.
2 squares ramen (egg) noodles
1 small onion, diced
2 inch piece ginger, peeled and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 lb mushrooms (I used re hydrated lobster and shiitake)
1 box organic vegetable/beef/chicken stock
1/2 tsp sesame oil
3 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp Sriracha (more if you like things spicy)
1-2 tbsp rice vinegar
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 tbsp lime juice
handful of spinach leaves
handful of sprouts
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
In a large pot of boiling water, cook the noodles to al dente according to package directions. Set aside.
In a large pot over medium-high heat, add enough oil to coat the bottom of the pot. Once the oil is shiny and hot, add the onions and ginger and cook until soft, 5 minutes. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant but not browning. Add the mushrooms and cook until they’ve released their liquid and are browning. Remove and reserve some of the mushrooms to garnish.
Add the stock, sesame oil, soy, hot sauce, vinegar and cumin. Turn heat up and bring the broth to a boil. Lower and let it simmer for 10 minutes.
Ladle into bowls and top with reserved mushrooms, spinach leaves (they will cook in the soup), cilantro and sprouts. Serve with extra Sriracha and soy sauce.