Easy spring veggie ramen

by Georgia Cadoret

Things are opening up again this coming week - hooray! - which means there are prospects of... what was that word... socialising? Life might start to feel like a bit of a whirlwind as we begin to see friends and family again, which may also mean that caring for our personal health goes slightly wayward as excitement whisks us away. But who can blame us...?

This ramen is super simple, taking up to 30 minutes if you're efficient, and is packed with fresh, immune boosting ingredients like chilli and ginger. The rice noodles are filling but light, and cabbage can be swapped in for any greens you have lying around, such as broccoli, spinach, green beens or kale. It's the perfect quick and easy supper before meeting for drinks (or simple enough to throw together after a few drinks).

For the broth:

2 cloves garlic

3 spring onions (plus one, sliced for the top)

1 chilli (or 2 tsp chilli flakes)

Thumb-sized piece of ginger, sliced

6 large field mushrooms, sliced

Shredded cabbage

Miso 1 tbsp

Tomato 1 tbsp

Dried shiitake mushrooms - 5 large

4 cloves roasted garlic

2 tsp dark soy

1 tbsp sesame oil

One sheet dried nori, torn into strips

Dried rice noodles

For the crispy tofu and egg:

1/2 block firm tofu, cut into cubes

1 tbsp sesame seeds

1 tbsp coconut oil

1 large egg

First, soak the shiitake mushrooms in a bowl with boiling water. They need to steep for at least fifteen minutes.

Put the chilli, 2 fresh garlic cloves, ginger and spring onions into a food processor with a little sesame oil and blitz until you have a rough paste. Heat the sesame oil in a deep pot and add the paste, stirring occasionally for a few minutes. Add the mushrooms and fry off in the paste and oil until they start to brown slightly.

Tip the shiitake mushrooms with their water into the pot. Add 1 litre of boiling water and stir in the miso, soy sauce, tomato paste and roasted garlic cloves. These will give the ramen that deep umami flavour that is more commonly made when using meat. Allow to simmer.

Add the rice noodles to a pot of boiling water and cook quickly, 2-3 minutes. Drain and put in a deep bowl. Add the cabbage to the ramen broth and turn the heat down.

Season the tofu cubes with salt and pepper. Heat the coconut oil in a frying pan on a high heat, then fry the tofu, turning after a few minutes on each side until golden and crispy. Meanwhile, boil your egg in a pan of boiling water on a simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the sesame seeds to the tofu and toss through before transferring to a plate.

To construct your ramen bowl, ladle the broth with mushrooms and cabbage over the noodles; peel your egg and cut in half, sitting it on top, and scatter some tofu around the bowl. Top with spring onion and dried seaweed.