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Ramen with Sesame-Miso Broth and Baked Crispy Tofu

Ramen with Sesame-Miso Broth and Baked Crispy Tofu


For the baked tofu:

  • One 12- to –15-ounce package extra firm tofu

  • 1 tablespoon tamari, shoyu or soy sauce or light soy sauce

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

  • 1 tablespoon canola or olive oil

  • White pepper

For the base-enriched broth:

  • 2 quarts chicken or vegetable bone broth or stock

  • About ¼ cup tamari, shoyu or soy sauce or light soy sauce

  • About ¼ cup white miso paste

  • About ¼ cup Chinese or Japanese sesame paste or sesame tahini

  • 2 tablespoons brown rice or rice wine vinegar

  • 1½ to 2 inches ginger root, peeled and grated or minced

  • 4 cloves garlic, grated or crushed and minced

  • About 1 teaspoon white pepper

For the bowls:

  • 9.5 to 12 ounces ramen noodles (3 to 4 servings)

  • Three or four 6-minute boiled eggs (1 per bowl), peeled and halved (optional)

  • 2 tablespoons canola or olive oil

  • 1 pound mixed mushrooms, stemmed and wiped and sliced

  • 1 large shallot, chopped

  • Salt and white or black pepper

  • ¼ cup Shaoxing or sherry

  • 4 cups stemmed and shredded kale, spinach, cress or Savoy cabbage

  • 1½ cups matchsticks or thin julienned carrots

  • 1 cup matchsticks or thin julienned raw baby beets

  • 1 cup matchsticks or thin julienned radishes

  • 2 bunches scallions, thin-sliced on long bias, whites and greens

  • 1 cup shredded shiso leaves or cilantro leaves

  • Toasted sesame seeds or togarashi or other sesame chili topping (optional)

  • Chili paste, oil or sauce, to pass


Serves: 3 to 4

For the tofu, preheat oven to 400˚F, rack at center, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice the tofu into planks, then into bite-sized pieces and arrange in single layer on kitchen towel and cover with another. Drain 30 minutes. Whisk up the soy, cornstarch and oil, add the tofu and toss to coat lightly. Season with white pepper and arrange in single layer on baking sheet and bake 25 to 30 minutes to crisp. Remove and reserve.

For the broth, warm stock in soup pot and whisk up soy, miso, sesame paste and vinegar, add to stock along with ginger, garlic and white pepper and bring to low boil, then reduce heat to low to keep warm.    

For the bowls, heat a pot of water to boil for ramen noodles, 4 to 5 quarts of water. 

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat with oil, 2 turns of the pan. Add the mushrooms and brown them well until crispy at edges. Turn down the heat slightly and add shallots and toss a minute or so, then season with salt and white or black pepper, add the rice wine or sherry and toss a minute more, remove from heat. 

Cook ramen to package directions, 4 to 5 minutes, and drain. Divide between 3 to 4 bowls. 

Arrange tofu, cooked mushrooms, greens, carrots and beets and radishes if using, scallions and shiso around the bowl and on top of a nest of noodles. Ladle the base stock over the bowls in equal amounts and sprinkle with sesame or topping of choice and pass chili oil or sauce at table. Serve with chopsticks and soupspoons.

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