I’ve long been a fan of Japanese ramen. It’s like a warm embrace in a steaming bowl of deliciousness and yesterday’s wet weather lent itself nicely to having a bowl for supper. The air has felt very autumnal over the past few days, which makes me incredibly happy. Cosy clothes, crisp mornings and bright blue skies, crimson leaves and steaming hot ramen recipes. What’s not to love? It is undoubtedly my favourite time of the year, for so many reasons, but mostly for the warming hearty food.
There are many variations of Japanese ramen, using a different base for your broth, they pretty much all start out with a stock of some kind, usually pork. I used a mushroom stock for mine as I wanted a vegetarian version. I made a mushroom stock using dried mushrooms soaked in boiling water and opted for a Shoyu or ‘Soy Sauce’ flavoured ramen. The depth of flavour from the mushrooms is incredible.
You really can throw this together in just 15 minutes, and it’s so versatile, you can swap out your base broth and toppings depending on what you have in. You can use miso instead of soy, or teriyaki if you have it. In terms of toppings, pak choi, spring onion, bean sprouts and water chestnuts are all great. The best part for me is the boiled egg, when it soaks in the salty broth it’s just delicious.
- 50g Shiitake mushrooms
- 50g Exotic mushroons
- 40g dried mushrooms, such as porcini
- 100ml light soy sauce
- 2 tsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 small garlic clove, minced
- 1 small piece of ginger, peeled and minced
- 1 medium egg
- 1 stalk of pak choi
- 2 spring onions, finely sliced
- 1 red chilli, finely sliced
- Small bunch coriander, finely chopped
- 1 nest of wholewheat egg noodles
- 1 tsp sesame seeds
- 1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
- Soak the dried mushrooms in 500ml of boiling water for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, boil one medium egg. Six minutes is perfect for that still slightly gooey yolk. When your egg has only 2 minutes left, set a steamer on top of the saucepan and pop in your pak choi.
- Add the soaked mushrooms in their stock to a pan, add the fresh mushrooms, the soy, rice wine vinegar and the noodles.
- Add the garlic and ginger and a twist or two of freshly cracked black pepper.
- Leave the broth to simmer on a very low heat until the noodles are just cooked.
- Meanwhile peal the egg, cut in half and place in a deep serving bowl with the pak choi.
- Remove the noodles from the broth and place in the bowl, pour the hot broth and mushrooms into the bowl.
- Garnish with spring onion, chilli, coriander and sesame seeds.
I’ve made this dish twice, once for my husband and once for my best friend. Both times I was met with amazing feedback, and I have to admit, it’s one of my best yet. I’m a huge fan of Asian flavours and this really has it all going on. It’s fresh, zingy and sweet. There are no carbs and the veggies are served raw so it’s super healthy. Using medium chillies in raw form adds a nice heat, not too much, but enough to let you know it’s an Asian dish. There is something fun about food you can eat with your hands, just load up the Romaine lettuce cups with crunchy Asian slaw and top with some sticky fragrant chicken. Roll it up and get stuck in.
This recipe is great for when you’re entertaining because everything can be prepared in advance. The slaw can be prepped and stored in a container in the fridge (undressed), the slaw dressing can be made and popped in a jar with a lid (no need to refrigerate). Prepare the chicken by slicing and covering with the marinade in a glass bowl, wrap with cling and store in the fridge until needed. When you’re ready you can have everything ready and on the table within minutes.
Don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients, because some of it is store cupboard stuff and the rest is mostly just veggies. I’ll be entirely honest, the preparation takes a little longer than most dishes I cook, but it’s just a case of finely slicing the veggies. Why not stick the radio on and practice your knife skills one afternoon? You’ll be glad you spent the time when you taste how delicious this dish is. It’s like a party in your mouth, seriously!
Just look at those colours. This dish makes me long for those fresh spring days that we all know are just around the corner. Why not brighten up a dull February day with this vibrant dinner? If you’re veggie or vegan, this dish will work equally well with Quorn or Tofu. You can also leave out the nuts if need be, but they do add another welcome texture if you can have them.
Marinade for chicken:
- 60ml teriyaki marinade (the thin kind)
- 1 tsp honey
- Juice and zest of 1 lime
- 4 large cloves of garlic, minced
- Thumb sized piece of ginger, minced
- 1 medium chilli, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp cornflour
- 2 Romaine lettuces
- 6 leaves of red cabbage, very finely sliced
- 150g Bean sprouts
- 1 medium red chilli, very finely sliced
- 7 spring onions, very finely sliced
- 1/2 a large carrot, , very finely sliced
- 20g freshly chopped coriander
- Small handful of roughly chopped peanuts
Reserve 2 finely sliced spring onions, a small handful of chopped coriander and a tsp of sesame seeds for garnish on the chicken once cooked
- 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp honey
- Start by preparing the marinade for the chicken. Add the marinade ingredients to a glass bowl and add the diced chicken. Stir well to ensure the chicken is fully coated. Cover and store until needed.
- Chop the romainne lettuce in half, using the top sections (they look like little cups), set aside on a large platter.
- Mix the ingredients for the slaw dressing together and place in a bowl/dressing jar on the platter with the lettuce.
- Chop all of the slaw ingredients (except the bean sprouts) add to a bowl, leaving out the peanuts for garnish. Combine the ingredients and place in a large pile on the platter with the lettuce cups. Garnish the slaw with chopped peanuts and fresh coriander.
- Heat a little oil in a large pan (or wok), add the chicken and pour in any access marinade. Cook for about 8 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
- Mix the cornflour with a tbsp of water and stir this though the chicken until the sauce thickens.
- Place the cooked chicken on a serving plate and top with the spring onion, coriander and sesame seeds.
- Serve the chicken with the Romaine lettuce wraps and the Asian slaw, garnished with peanuts.