More soup here, inspired by the continued cold weather! Ramen is a traditional Japanese noodle soup that has been enjoying quite a renaissance lately in the Bay Area (there seems to be a new ramen joint popping up every week here), so naturally I had to join in the fun. Ramen is traditionally prepared with wheat flour noodles, but rice noodles are a cheap, easy and perfectly tasty gluten-free substitute. A rich broth is poured over the noodles, and then all sorts of fun toppings can be added. My version (which makes no pretense of being a traditional ramen) uses a simple veggie-miso broth, with fresh gailan (Chinese broccoli) greens and tofu for protein, and is topped with scallions and caramelized roasted eggplant slices. This is a perfect one-bowl dinner that’s fun to prepare, delicious, makes a nice presentation, and is super-healthy! Serves 4.
- 2 Chinese eggplants
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 14 oz package rice vermicelli noodles
- 2 Tbsp miso paste (I use a mellow red miso)
- 1 veggie bouillon cube
- 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp sriracha sauce
- About 8 stems of gailan (Chinese broccoli – can easily substitute with bok choy)
- 1 block firm tofu
- 2 scallions
Fire up your oven to 400F. Drizzle a baking sheet with the olive oil. Slice your Chinese eggplants in 1/4″ thick slices and lay them on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with the sea salt. Flip each piece over so it now has oil on both sides.
Roast for about 10 minutes until they are perfectly soft, caramelized and brown.
Warning: these eggplant slices are super yummy and addictive. Make sure to save enough for the soup!
While the eggplant is baking, boil two medium pots of water (for the soup, it’s worth actually measuring out about 6 cups of water – for the pasta, doesn’t matter as much).
Add the rice noodles to the boiling water and let them boil for about 3 min until cooked through, then drain, rinse, and set aside.
For the broth: to your soup pot, add the miso paste and the bouillon cube and whisk until both are fully dissolved (miso broth tends to be very cloudy).
Bring the broth to a gentle boil over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, slice up the greens into bite-sized pieces and add to the broth, along with the sesame oil, soy sauce, and sriracha, and give it a stir.
Cut the tofu into 1/2 inch cubes and add those in as well.
Let that cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring periodically. Thinly slice the scallions and add half to the broth, reserving half as a soup topping.
Now, to assemble your ramen bowls: put a handful of noodles into a large soup bowl.
Next, ladle a generous portion of broth and tofu/greens over the noodles.
Finally, arrange a few slices of the roasted eggplant over the top, and sprinkle with scallions.
Enjoy hot. Yum yum yum!