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I'm trying to gain some variety to my ramen by producing different types of broth. Mostly veggie based, however I'm open to other ideas. I have one type of ramen broth that we like but so far every variation from it has produced a failure.

Right now the broth itself involves:

  • Paprika
  • Crushed red pepper
  • salt
  • soy sauce
  • mushrooms

This is boiled on low heat for an hour. Sometime for myself I will add Locoto. After making the broth, I stir-fry on high heat in olive oil a mixture of :

  • ginger
  • garlic
  • soy sauce.

It works out well and we like it but so far every experimentation outside of this mixture makes a failure (even though this first recipe was itself an experimentation).

Can someone give a gentle nudge to another broth combination? Particularly I'd like to try to make a curry-based broth.

  • youtu.be/Wf0McesjcWo this guy has a whole bunch of ramen videos – mroll Aug 6 '18 at 18:14
  • Welcome to Seasoned Advice! :-) Translated the South American names into English, except Locoto which is something local. ;-) Could you edit your question as to what you do with the stir-fry and the ramen (just dump all three together? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ – Fabby Aug 7 '18 at 1:37
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    Welcome to the site @VincentM. Recipe requests are off-topic here, unfortunately, if you have a specific problem you are trying to solve maybe we can help. – GdD Aug 7 '18 at 8:48
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My answer is similar to part of JestersKing, and to Douglas' -

I make a full on vegetarian "dashi" broth. I roast a pan of vegetables lightly tossed in oil - I'm looking for just a bit of browning and carmelization -

Carrots, celery, halved unpeeled onions, a whole unpeeled head of garlic.

That goes into a pot with a couple of pieces of kombu seaweed, a good-sized chunk of ginger cut into slices, parsley, a couple bay leaves, and some whole peppercorns. That gets brought to simmer for an hour or two, strained into the soup/broth pot, then I add some brown miso and adjust with just a touch of soy sauce, and salt and pepper. Soy sauce is definitely a good unami source, and Cook's Illustrated often finds that combining different unami sources (miso is also a good one) seems to give kind of a multiplicative effect.

That's a completely vegetarian miso "dashi" broth. I first stumbled on a variation of this, specifically, for use with ramen (along with spicy-seasoned grilled tofu and grilled baby bok choy). It's especially great if you have a pasta roller and make the ramen noodles yourself (use a recipe that calls for using baked baking soda - this adds the alkalinity similar to the lake water in the original Japanese region that gives ramen noodles their distinct characteristics). In terms of variety, if you set some aside and don't add miso, it's quite different (and more like the original recipe I started from).

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    oh hey, this is cool. I'm gonna have to try this at work because we have pounds upon pounds of kombu at the restaurant I'm at and a new chef who's not a fan of dashi. I'll check this out. thanks for the idea. – JestersKing Aug 8 '18 at 23:47
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I'm not aware of any vegetarian Chinese soup stock. Typical ramen stock is "Superior stock" I think. See this link for a reference recipe: https://www.homemade-chinese-soups.com/soups-stocks.html

My advice would be, if you want to make something that is vegetarian, AND, DELICIOUS then you should throw away your idea of making something Chinese styled and instead stick with the French classic: Equal parts onions, celery and carrots. Simmer those and you will have an absolutely delicious stock. Add some light soy sauce to season, and then see how that fits to your ramen.

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Aromatics are your friend, especially in vegetarian cooking. Try loading your broths up with onion and shallot while simmering. instead of, or in addition to, sauteing your garlic, ginger and soy add them straight to your broth and they'll change up the flavor profiles immensely. Additionally, try sauteing the whole mixture in a small amount of oil before adding your water, cold, to the pot.

Option two, if you're okay with fish, is Dashi. Ramen being a traditional Japanese dish, you can try an Ichiban Dashi and adjust flavorings as needed.

Dashi is a light broth made from Kombu, which is kelp and Katsuobushi, which is dried shaved bonito (a fish, relative of the tuna) flakes. This broth is the traditional base for many Japanese soups, including the ubiquitous miso soup that you find in sushi restaurants. It's flavour is light and slightly fishy but it's packed with umami and is "relatively" vegetarian if you are okay with eating fish.

Mix it with miso paste, soy and a light amount of ginger for a miso ramen, or steam some clams in it with shallot, ginger and lemon before adding your noodles for a rich seafood broth and garnish with green onion and chili. Really, the limit is your imagination because the flavor is neutral enough that you can pair it with nearly anything. here's a link for a basic dashi, if you like.

  • Dashi is a good suggestion, and can easily be made without fish (katsuobushi). – moscafj Aug 8 '18 at 13:26
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I would add a tablespoon of miso to each bowl and pour broth on top.

And for a veggie ramen broth I would also add onion (both spring onions and white, peeled), Dashi (made with Kombu seaweed and Shiitake mushrooms) and ginger.

A pressure cooker is your friend if you have one.

I like to add wakame, pickled ginger and shichimi togarashi (Japanese powdered spice) to the finished bowl too.

Why not make some steeped eggs to throw on top?

For British (large) room temperature eggs I do this:

  • Prick round end of egg with a pin
  • add to pan of already fast-boiling water
  • remove egg after 6 minutes and 20 seconds
  • Plunge boiled egg into ice bath to stop it cooking
  • when egg is cold, carefully peel
  • submerge peeled egg in steeping liquid made from light soy, mirin and water.
  • Ensure the egg is submerged by placing a kitchen towel on top while steeping overnight in fridge.

You could add curry spice (powdered coriander and/or powdered cumin) to the egg steeping liquid. I like to add star anise and some dried chilli.

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