Ramen(ish), starring broccoli! Two heads of broccoli are used in three different ways in this soup.
The key to this light but flavourful ramen is a) to char the vegetables before putting them in the stock and b) getting a good chili oil to drizzle on top. You can either buy one or make it yourself.
Use whatever noodles you want here, but I’d recommend sticking with Japanese-style noodles like soba, ramen, or udon. They hold up better in the hot broth. I went with soba (which are not ramen noodles but I like them).
- 1 medium onion, cut in half (skin left on)
- 1 head garlic
- 3 inches (8 cm) ginger, sliced crosswise
- 1 bunch scallions, green parts finely sliced, white parts reserved
- 2 large carrots, peeled and julienned, peels reserved
- 2 large heads broccoli, crown broken down into florets, stems peeled and julienned, peels reserved
- 1 tbsp neutral oil
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- Black pepper to taste
- Big handful dried mixed mushrooms
- 6 inches (15 cm) konbu
- 1 bunch radishes, cut into eighths
- 1 tsp neutral oil
- 1 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup mirin
- 1/8 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 block extra-firm tofu (350-450g) pressed, drained, and cut into small cubes (about 45 per block)
- 1 tsp salt OR 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tbsp neutral oil
- Your choice of noodles
- Chili oil
- Togarashi (optional)
- Broth: Toss the onion, garlic, ginger, carrot and broccoli peels, and white scallion parts with 1 tbsp of oil. Arrange on a foil-lined baking sheet and broil until the vegetables are nicely charred in spots. You could also do this on a grill.
- Put the charred vegetables, dried mushrooms, and half the konbu in a large stock pot. Fill with enough water to cover the vegetables by a couple inches. Bring to a boil uncovered then reduce the heat to a brisk simmer. Cover and let simmer for 60-90 minutes. Taste and season with a little salt, but don’t add too much as the tare (concentrated soup base) will have more salt. Strain the broth, put it back in the pot, then add the rest of the konbu. Keep on a low simmer until you are ready to serve.
- Roasted broccoli: Preheat the oven to 425 F (220 C). Mix the broccoli with the sesame oil, salt, and pepper on a large baking sheet and spread it out as much as possible. Roast for 15-20 minutes or until crispy around the edges.
- Crispy tofu: Toss the tofu cubes with the salt, cornstarch, and oil and arrange on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 20-30 minutes at 425 F (220 C) or until good and crispy.
- Vegetable topping: Heat the tsp of neutral oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the julienned carrots and broccoli stems plus the radishes and stir-fry until lightly browned in spots. Add a splash of water, cover, and turn down the heat to low. Let steam for two minutes.
- Shoyu tare [tah-ray]: Mix the soy sauce, mirin, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and water together. This is the flavour base of the soup.
- To serve: Cook the noodles according to the package directions right before you are about to serve. To warm bowls, add a few spoonfuls of tare, a good amount of piping hot broth, then the noodles. Top with roasted broccoli, stir-fried veg, crispy tofu, scallions, chili oil (not optional!) and togarashi (optional). If you’re not vegan, you could also throw in a jammy egg marinated in some of the tare (you’ll have extra). Enjoy!