It’s easy to assume that all Asian food is dairy-free. But the fact is, a lot of restaurants do add dairy. I’ve noticed it quite a bit with ramen houses, in particular. Trendy broth bases are frequently enriched with a little butter, milk, or cream. So I was intrigued by this vegan miso ramen recipe from the cookbook, East, by Meera Sodha.
Creamy Vegan Miso Ramen with Shiitakes, Tofu, and Asparagus
This recipe is a sample from Meera’s latest cookbook, East: 120 Vegan and Vegetarian Recipes from Bangalore to Beijing. She modeled it after a restaurant favorite.
In an unassuming corner of Westﬁeld in Stratford, east London, is a joyful little Japanese canteen called Shoryu, where I had my mind blown by a ramen dish called “white natural.” Unlike pork-dominated ramen dishes, white natural is made with soy milk and white miso, making it intensely silky. With apologies to Shoryu, I have tried to replicate it here.
East contains 120 vegetarian recipes, drawing inspiration from Bangalore to Beijing. Not all of the recipes are dairy-free, but quite a few are. And in my opinion, the vegan recipes are intriguing enough to warrant consideration. They all boast rich flavors like this creamy vegan miso ramen.
Special Diet Notes: Creamy Vegan Miso Ramen
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free /non-dairy, egg-free, nut-free, peanut-free, vegan, and vegetarian. We’ve added notes to make this recipe gluten-free, if needed.
- ¼ cup dried shiitake mushrooms
- 1 onion, chopped
- ⅓ cup white miso
- 3 tablespoon soy sauce (can sub gluten-free tamari)
- 2 tablespoons canola oil (can sub another cooking oil)
- 1 tablespoon tahini
- 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- ¾ inch ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 quart (4 cups) soy milk
- Salt, to taste
- 9 ounces ramen noodles (gluten-free, if needed)
- 2 tablespoons canola oil, divided (can sub another cooking oil)
- ½ pound ﬁne asparagus (or normal asparagus halved lengthwise)
- ⅔ cup frozen edamame beans, defrosted
- 2 garlic cloves, ﬁnely sliced
- ½ tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon crushed red chili ﬂakes
- ⅓ teaspoon salt
- 10 ounces extra-ﬁrm tofu, drained and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce (can sub gluten-free tamari)
- Put the dried shiitake into a heatproof bowl, cover with ¾ cup of just-boiled water, and leave to soak for 5 minutes.
- In a blender, puree the mushrooms (with their soaking liquid), onion, miso, soy sauce, oil, tahini, garlic, and ginger.
- Put a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and, when hot, scrape the paste out of the blender and into the pan. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the soy milk, a little at a time, until it’s all mixed in. Make sure it doesn’t boil, or the soy milk may curdle. Add salt, to taste, if needed. Remove the pan from the heat.
- Cook the ramen according to the package instructions, drain, rinse under cold water, and drain again.
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large frying pan over a high heat. Once hot, add the asparagus and edamame, leave for 1 minute, then turn and leave for 1 minute more. They should char just a little. Add the garlic, lemon juice, chile, and salt, stir for 1 minute, then transfer the vegetables to a bowl.
- In the same pan, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Add the tofu and sear for 1 minute on each side, until golden and crisp (when it’s ready, you’ll be able to turn the cubes easily with a spatula). Add the soy sauce and gently stir to coat. Transfer the tofu to the asparagus bowl.
- To assemble, divide the noodles between four bowls. Ladle the miso soup into each bowl (reheat it, if needed). Place the tofu cubes on one side of each bowl, evenly divide the asparagus and edamame between each bowl, and serve hot.