Rich, creamy and bursting with umami, we could eat Veg Ramen anyday! Here’s how to nail a vegetarian Tonkotsu style broth (yes! It's possible) and make a fantastic vegetarian ramen from scratch!
If you’re a ramen lover, I know what you’re thinking. ‘Vegetarian ramen? Seriously?’ The same way Denver says ‘No such thing as a veg biryani!’ Sorry, but I beg to differ!
In case you haven’t been introduced to the world of ramen noodles yet, here’s introducing the best ramen in the world - The Tonkotsu ramen! Tonkotsu literally means ‘pork bone broth’ in Japanese, and these take an entire day or overnight to make. Tonkotsu ramen is wildly popular for its rich and creamy broth that’s bursting with flavours of pork.
Just like the Thukpa recipe we shared last week, the vegetarian ramen broth is the star in this ramen recipe. It’s rich, creamy and full of umami from the tomato paste and shiitake mushrooms. But what truly brings this dish together is that drizzle of chilli sesame oil on top. You’ll be surprised at how satisfying and tasty this ramen is without the meat.
Tonkotsu Style Veg Broth
Tonkotsu broth is different from all other Japanese broths. It’s cloudy and thick, and not clear like the others. This veg ramen broth gets it’s flavours from the blended dried shiitake mushrooms, tomato paste, spring onions, and ginger. Both shiitake and tomato paste have intense flavours that are deep and complex. With aromatics and seasoning from soy sauce and toasted sesame oil, this broth is world class!
Chilli Garlic Oil
If the broth is the foundation, the chilli oil is the spunk in this ramen recipe. Chilli oil is made with red chilli flakes, garlic, and black and white sesame seeds. It’s a simple oil but looks can be so deceiving! The chilli oil really amps up the flavour of the ramen, plus it’s SO GREAT for presentation.
Ramen with Vegetables
Ramen is traditionally topped with veggies like mushrooms, carrots, chives, and so on. We prefer adding raw vegetables to our veg ramen - even the mushrooms. The idea is to thinly cut or slice the veggies so that when you pour piping hot Tonkotsu broth on top, the veggies steam and get cooked!
Note: If you are not comfortable with the idea of raw veggies, feel free to lightly saute them in oil or steaming them separately before adding them to your ramen bowl.
Here are some more toppings for this veg soup for you to choose from:
- Preserved bamboo shoot
- Sliced scallions
- Raw enoki mushrooms
- Blanched/grilled baby bok choy leaves
- Soft boiled marinated eggs
- Sliced braised pork belly (if you eat pork, of course)
Assembling a Bowl of Vegan Ramen:
- In go the ramen noodles
- Followed by raw button mushrooms, raw carrots, raw chives (and any other toppings)
- Spoon in the piping hot broth
- Garnish with grilled baby bok choy
- Drizzle some chilli garlic oil
We are big on Ramen and noodle soups, and we were just so excited to try this recipe. And I do hope you’ll like it too! Post your thoughts below!
This recipe is inspired by the Vegetarian Ramen recipe in my favourite food magazine Bon Appetit!
More Comforting Asian One Pot Meals:
- Veg Thukpa
- Vegetarian Pho
- Burmese Khow Suey
- Asian Veg Stir Fry with Steamed Rice
- Chinese Hot & Sour Soup with Ramen
Watch How to make Vegetarian Ramen Recipe Video
Tonkotsu Style Vegetarian Ramen
Chilli Garlic Oil
- ¼ Cup Vegetable Oil
- 4 cloves Garlic thinly sliced
- 1 Tablespoon Sesame Seeds Black and White
- 1 Tablespoon Red Chilli Flakes
- ½ Teaspoon Salt
- 2 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
- 4 Spring Onions thinly sliced, whites and greens separated
- 1 Ginger peeled, 2" piece, thinly sliced
- 2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
- 8 Dried Shiitake Mushrooms
- 6 Cups Water
- 1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
- 1 Teaspoon Toasted Sesame Oil
- 4 - 6 Bok Choy
- 2 Tablespoons Chives finely chopped or tied into a knot
- 1 Cup julienned Carrot
- 1 Cup thinly sliced Mushrooms
- 1 - 2 Cups Cooked Noodles
Chilli Garlic Oil
- Add ¼ cup oil to a large heavy bottomed pot over medium heat and allow it to heat up. Once hot, add sliced garlic and fry for about a minute or until garlic is turning golden on the edges. Add sesame seeds and cook for about a minute.
- Turn off the heat transfer to a bowl. Add the red chilli flakes and salt and stir to combine. Set aside.
- Wipe down the pot and add two tablespoons of vegetable oil. Heat on medium flame. Once hot, add ginger and the white part of the spring onions and fry for 2-3 minutes. The spring onions should be lightly charred.
- Add tomato paste and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once it begins to stick to the pot and slightly darken in colour, add the shiitake mushrooms.
- Add five cups of water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes or until the mushrooms have softened. Remove from flame and allow it to cool down for 10 minutes.
- Strain the broth using a sieve or a strainer, making sure to reserve the broth. Transfer the sieved solids to a blender. Add 3-4 ladles of strained stock and blend until it becomes a smooth purée. Combine 1 cup of water to remove any excess purée left in the food processor.
- Transfer both the strained stock and purée back to the pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add soy sauce, toasted sesame oil and season with salt. Reduce heat to low and keep warm until ready to serve.
- Grill the bok choy on medium high flame until soft, tender and lightly charred. Set aside.
- Add cooked noodles, mushrooms, carrots and chives to a deep bowl. Pour piping hot broth over it. Ensure the broth is extremely hot as it needs to cook the mushrooms. If the broth is just warm, the mushrooms will be undercooked. Alternatively, you can saute the mushrooms with some oil and salt and add it to the bowl as well.
- Add the grilled bok choy and sprinkle with spring onion greens. Pour a spoon or two of chilli oil over it and enjoy!
- Ramen Noodles: We used 2 packets of Koka instant ramen noodles for this recipe. You can use any brand of your choice. You can also use any type of noodles if you can’t find ramen noodles.
- Mushrooms: Alternatively, you can saute the mushrooms with some oil and salt if you’re unsure of adding raw sliced mushrooms. Be sure not to overcook the mushrooms if you saute it as they will cook further when you add it to hot broth.
- Feel free to add any vegetables or toppings of your choice, this is a very flexible recipe.