Meera Sodha’s recipe for vegan white miso and tofu ramen

 

 

A silky bowl of noodles made rich with soy milk and topped with crunchy vegetables

When I think about food courts in shopping centres, my mind jumps to soggy chips, sad burgers and sticky tables. But tucked away in an unassuming corner of Westfield Stratford is a joyful little Japanese canteen called Shoryu, where I recently had my mind blown by a ramen dish called white natural. Unlike the pork-dominated ramen dishes we’re used to, this version is made with soy milk and white miso, making it intensely delicious and silky. With apologies to Shoryu, I have tried to replicate it for your benefit here.

White miso and tofu ramen with chilli garlic asparagus

You’ll need a blender to make this. You can buy podded and frozen edamame beans in big supermarkets; any leftover miso-tahini paste is great in a salad dressing.

Prep 10 min
Cook 25 min
Serves 4

For the noodles
4 tbsp dried shiitake mushrooms 
1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped 
2cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped 
150g white miso paste, or 6 tbsp (I like Clearspring)
1 tbsp tahini 
2 tbsp rapeseed oil 
3 tbsp soy sauce 
1 tsp konbu powder (optional) 
1 litre soy milk (Bon Soy is particularly good)
Salt
400g soba noodles (again, I use Clearspring)

For the tofu and asparagus
Rapeseed oil 
250g fine asparagus 
100g edamame beans, defrosted
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
½ tsp chilli flakes
⅓ tsp salt 
½ tbsp fresh lemon juice 
280g extra-firm tofu, cut into 0.5cm-thick slices
1 tbsp soy sauce

Put the shiitake in a heatproof bowl, cover with 200ml just-boiled water and leave to soak for five minutes. In a blender, blitz the mushrooms, onion, garlic, ginger, miso, tahini, oil, soy sauce and konbu powder.

Heat a nonstick frying pan on a medium heat and, when hot, scrape the paste out of the blender and into the pan. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently, then add the milk, little by little, until it’s all mixed in – make sure it doesn’t boil, or it may curdle – then add salt, if need be, and take off the heat.

Next, cook the noodles to the packet instructions, drain, rinse under cold water and drain again.

Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan over a high flame. When it’s smoking hot, throw in the asparagus and edamame, leave for a minute, then turn and leave for a minute more, so both char a little. Add the garlic, chilli, salt and lemon juice to the pan, stir for a minute, then transfer to a bowl.

In the same pan, heat another tablespoon of oil, if need be, then fry the tofu for a minute on each side, until golden and crisp (when it’s ready, you’ll be able to turn the slices easily with a spatula). Add the soy sauce for the last minute, then transfer to the asparagus bowl.

To assemble, divide the noodles between four bowls. Reheat the miso soup, if you need to, and share among the bowls. Lay some tofu slices to one side of each bowl, share out the asparagus and edamame beans evenly, and serve hot.

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