I find great comfort in a steaming bowl of ramen. It’s the very meal that taught me how to truly eat alone. On rainy, cold days I’d sneak away from the office to slurp in peace, no cell phone at the table, no magazine to set my gaze, just me in a booth practicing self love and shamelessly dribbling broth down my chin.
It’s a rewarding sensory experience, eating ramen, with your face hovering just above the bowl, eyes dodging hot splashes of liquid, hands working together to pick up the slippery noodles and a spoonful of broth to wash them down. Your nose dampens with droplets of steam and lips smack glazed with oil. It’s food therapy, really.
My favorite place to eat Ramen is at at Two Ten Jack in East Nashville. It’s a trendy, low light kind of place that always makes me feel all vibey and cool. If I’m splurging, I’ll start with a bowl of their crispy brussels with miso vin and then order the sake tataki, a seared salmon roll with ume paste and a side of sake. But the real reason I’m there is for their yasai shoyu, or vegetable ramen.
If you’ve ever had ramen, I mean real ramen, you know that it typically takes long hours to prepare authentically. Large vats of broth are left simmering for days on end and much like sushi, it’s a skill that can take a lifetime to learn. But also like sushi, it can absolutely be prepared at home in the same amount of time you’d make a pot of soup.
This recipe for Shoyu Vegetable Ramen with Black Garlic Oil and Shiitake Mushrooms is built on flavors of fresh ginger, toasted sesame, salty shoyu sauce and garlic. It simmers with green onions, curly strips of collard greens and a bit of soy glaze for depth. Ladled over ramen noodles, it’s topped with half a hardboiled egg, a sprinkle of green onion tops and pinch of Furikake seasoning. Drizzle another spoonful of garlic oil if you like or pepper a pinch of chili flakes about if you want to heat things up. I like to serve ramen with chopsticks, a Chinese spoon and a cup of unsweetened coconut milk to cool the mouth.
This vegetable ramen recipe is perfect on a damp, chilly night when you're longing for warmth. It’s immensely comforting, healthful and delicious. I hope you enjoy a bowl or two alone, or slurp unabashedly with someone you love. Because truly, there’s no point in being dainty about it, you’ll only offend the chef.
HOW TO MAKE FURIKAKE SEASONING
- 2 sheets toasted nori
- 1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
- 1/2 tsp. coarse sea salt
- 1/2 tsp. sugar
Using scissors, cut the nori into small pieces. Use a mortar and pestle (or coffee grinder) and combine 1/8 cup toasted sesame seeds, salt and sugar. Next, combine nori with ground sesame mixture and remaining 1/8 cup whole sesame seeds. Store in an airtight container and enjoy sprinkled over ramen or rice.
How to make Black Garlic Oil:
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 10 medium garlic cloves, minced (about 3 1/2 Tbsp.)
- 1/4 cup toasted sesame oil
Combine oil and garlic in a small saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring until it starts to brown. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until garlic turns deep brown, almost black (about 15-20 minutes).
Remove pan from heat and add sesame oil. Transfer to a blender and blend on high until completely mixed, about 30 seconds. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 months.
Shoyu Vegetable Ramen with Black Garlic Oil and Shiitake Mushrooms
- 4 eggs
- 6 cups water
- 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 1/2 lb shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and caps thinly sliced
- 1/2 bunch collard greens, ribs removed and chopped
- 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced, white and green parts separated
- 1, 2 in. piece of ginger, minced
- 2 Tbsp black garlic oil
- 2 Tbsp sesame oil
- 4 Tbsp soy glaze
- 1/2 cup Shoyu Sauce
- 1/2 tsp. sea salt
- 1/2 lb ramen noodles
- For Garnish: Thinly sliced scallions (green part), Furikake seasoning, chili oil or red pepper flakes
- Make the Furikake seasoning and black garlic oil using the above instructions. Both are easy to make ahead of time and store well in airtight containers.
- Bring a medium pot of water to a rolling boil. Gently place the eggs in the water and boil for 6 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and rinse under cold water for about one minute. Set aside to cool.
- Prepare your ingredients: remove mushroom stems and thinly slice caps, thinly slice scallions at an angle and separate the green and white parts. Roughly chop your collard greens and mince your ginger.
- In a large pot or dutch oven, heat 1 Tbsp vegetable oil on medium high heat. Once hot, add mushrooms and cook until browned and softened, about 8-10 minutes.
- Add ginger, black garlic oil, scallions (white parts only), and sesame oil and cook for about 1-2 minutes.
- Add Shoyu sauce, soy glaze and 6 cups of water. Bring to a simmer. Then, add collard greens and simmer for about 10 minutes.
- While the broth simmers, cook your ramen noodles in a pot of boiling water according to manufacturer recommendations. Drain noodles and set aside.
- Peel and cut your hardboiled eggs in half and set aside.
- Once broth has simmered, remove from heat and salt and pepper to taste. Add in red pepper flakes (or chili oil) for a bit of spice if you prefer or allow guests to add to their own individual bowl.
- Place a heaping pile of noodles in each bowl and ladle the broth until full. Top with half of the egg, green onion tops and a pinch of Furikake seasoning.
Set the table with condiments including a dish of Furikake seasoning, additional black garlic oil, chili flakes or chili paste, toasted sesame seeds and finishing salt so guests can adjust the flavor as they wish.