Soymilk Ramen with Katsu Chicken

I first tried a soymilk ramen at the Shoryu restaurant in Soho last December. Having looked into how to recreate it, I couldn’t believe that this broth has no meat stock in it at all and relies on vegetarian ingredients for its intense flavour. It is quite a rich broth, due to the soymilk and so works well with lightly flavoured toppings.

Please note: the ramen egg in my pictures is slightly misshapen- this is from the egg cracking when I was boiling it (it was very cold in my kitchen that day!). I was going to make another one to make a more perfect egg, but then thought why waste a perfectly good ramen egg? It still tastes just as good!

 

Serves 2

Ingredients

1 piece of konbu, about the size of half a postcard

2 dried shitake mushrooms

2 cloves garlic

1 inch piece of ginger

2 shallots

2 tsp. groundnut oil

2-3 tsp. chilli bean paste

2 tsp. white miso (if you cannot find white, use brown and add a little extra mirin for extra sweetness)

250ml unsweetened soymilk

1 tsp. mirin

2 tbsp. mixture from ramen egg

A few drops of la-yu (chilli oil)

White pepper

2 packets ready to use ramen noodles

 

To top

1 batch katsu chicken

1 ramen egg

1 head of pak choi

1 small tin sweetcorn

2 tsp. kimchi

4 sheets of Itsu wasabi seaweed thins or nori

 

Method

  1. To make a vegetarian dashi stock, firstly soak the shitake mushrooms and konbu in 250ml of tepid water for about half an hour.
  2. Put this liquid, with the vegetables, into a small saucepan and heat over a low heat. You want to heat it without the liquid actually boiling. This will take some time but don’t be tempted to put the heat up otherwise it will not taste the same.
  3. Just before the dashi comes to the boil, remove and discard the konbu. Take the dashi and allow to cool slightly, with the mushrooms still in. When cooled enough, take out the shitake mushrooms, squeezing them to release their flavour fully.
  4. Grate the garlic, ginger and shallot finely. Heat the groundnut in a large wok and then add the garlic, ginger and shallot and fry until aromatic.
  5. Add 2 tsp. of the chilli bean paste and fry until everything is well coated.
  6. Take the wok off the heat and add the miso, mixing well. You do not want the miso to boil/ fry.
  7. Return the wok to the heat. Add the soymilk in three stages, mixing in between each addition so that miso and chilli paste have time to melt into the milk. Once all the soymilk is added, add the dashi, ramen egg mixture, mirin and la-yu and carefully heat through, keeping the heat low so that the broth doesn’t come to the boil. Taste for flavour and if you think it needs it, add the extra teaspoon of chilli bean paste. Season with salt and pepper, if necessary. Keep warm while you prepare everything else.
  8. Slice the pak choi thinly on the diagonal and blanch in a saucepan of boiling water on a moderate heat until it wilts and turns slightly translucent. Heat the sweetcorn with a little salted water in the microwave or in a small saucepan.
  9. Heat the ramen noodles, then drain and divide between two ramen bowls. Top with the soymilk broth and top with the various toppings. Place the chicken very carefully on top of the noodles so that it still stays crispy on the top side. Put a teaspoon of kimchi on one side of the bowl and prop two pieces of nori up against the side of the bowl.

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