Making ramen broth without pork or chicken might not sound exciting for most people. In my opinion, choosing the right ingredients and knowing the right technique is the key to make a good broth.
I have made many broths with and without meat in the past and with a little help of these flavorful powdered sugar kelp and a touch of my homemade scallion oil, this vegan ramen broth is simple, yet packed with flavor without meat.
I used Instant Pot for this recipe as it concentrates the flavor more than in a regular pot. If you do not have one, you can follow the same steps and requires a longer cooking time. Since an Instant Pot traps all the liquid within the pot, if you would use a regular pot to cook this stock on a stove, you might yield less liquid, yet more concentrate. Adjust cooking time accordingly.
If you have never worked with dehydrated vegetables and herbs before, they intensify the flavor of soups, casseroles and stews. I learned this technique from two Italian Michelin Star chefs who I met in Moscow.
Makes about 2-liter of stock
3-4 dried shiitake mushrooms
1 medium carrot or a palm-size white radish, cut into big chunks
1 medium yellow onion, split in half with but keeping the root intact, skin on (wash off any dirt)
1 whole head garlic, cut in half horizontally, skin on (wash brush off any dirt)
2 slices of ginger
1 piece 10x10cm kombu, wipe gently with clean, dry cloth to remove dust
1 tbsp powdered kelp from Nordic Seafarm
1 tbsp homemade scallion oil (see recipe below) or toasted sesame oil
Make ½ cup
2 scallion/spring onions, trim ends, finely sliced, white and green parts divided
½ neutral flavor oil, such as canola, rapeseed or sunflower oil
In a small saucepan, heat ½ cup oil on medium, add white parts of scallion. Once it starts to simmer, add green parts. Gently swirl the saucepan from time to time. Reduce heat to medium low and slow cook scallion in oil for 20-30 minutes, or until scallions turned darker green, adjust the heat accordingly, do not burn the scallion or the oil will taste bitter. Remove from heat and reserve scallion oil in a sterilized jar. Cool completely before storing in fridge. Scallion oil can be store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Just make sure that you use a clean utensil each time to avoid contamination.
Shiitake: Soak shiitake mushrooms in 1 cup of boiling water, cover and set aside to soften, about 1 hour, remove stems, reserve soaking water. Use a fine sieve to remove any dirt from mushrooms.
Kombu: Soak kombu in 1.5 liter of cold water in a large pot for 30 min. Bring the kombu water to boil, remove kombu and reserve for other recipes.
Instant Pot method
Place ginger, garlic, onion, carrot/radish, soaked shiitake, scallion oil/sesame oil with shiitake soaking water and kombu water into the pot. Close seal and set on MANUEL, HIGH PRESSURE for 15 minutes. When it’s ready, self-release steam until the red cap is down. Remove vegetables carefully, discard and reserve mushroom for other recipes.
Use a fine sieve to filter stock, set aside.
To serve, add 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tsp of chili oil or sesame oil (or both), pour over hot stock and add cooked noodles, garnish with your favourite toppings.
Extra stock can be kept in the fridge for up to 1 week or freeze in portions in freezer for up to 1 month.
Heat scallion oil or cooking oil in a large stainless steel stockpot on medium high. Saute ginger, garlic, onion, carrot/radish until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add soaked shiitake, reserved water and kombu water, bring to boil then reduce heat to low heat, cover and let broth to simmer for 45 to 60 minutes. Remove from heat, taste to season with more salt if needed. Add sesame oil, stir to combine. Use immediately or store for later use.