The first time I ever tasted sesame ramen was at a vegetarian cafe in Osaka
called Oribio. It was wonderful! *insert starry-eyed cat emoticon here* However, it's too far from where I live so I had no choice but to remember their flavors and use it to inspire me in my home cooking. So, I came up with this recipe-- a recipe me and my husband craved for several times during the past winter (actually, very much until now). It just doesn't look as appetizing as it really is because I never had time to actually do food pictorial with this ramen because I don't want to ruin the noodles and it's just so good I can't wait to dig on it. ^_^;
**Oribio is a vegetarian restaurant in Osaka (Japan) that do not use alcohol and vegetables under the onion family (onion, garlic, leek, and the like), and uses organic produce as much as possible. Check out their webpage at http://oribio.org/english_top
Ingredients (serves 2)
・ fresh or dried ramen, 2 packs
・ water, 5 cups
・ ground sesame seeds, 5 tbsp
・ VCP, 1 1/2 tsp
・ mushroom powder, 1 tsp
・ kombu powder, 1/2 tsp
・ black pepper (to taste)
・ chili powder (to taste)
・ bean sprouts, 200g
・ chingensai (or pak choi), 1 stalk
・ sesame oil, a little
・ ajinomoto (to taste)
・ tenkasu (as preferred)
・ whole sesame seeds, as topping
1. Fill a pot with 5 cups of water. Put over medium high heat. Season with VCP, mushroom powder, kombu powder, black pepper, chili powder and ground sesame seeds.
2. On a hot fry pan, pour a little sesame oil and stir-fry chingensai and season with black pepper, ajinomoto and whole sesame seeds. Set aside.
3. Once the pot of broth (or dashi) is boiling, add bean sprouts and boil for 3 minutes.
4. In another pot, cook ramen noodles according to package instructions. Drain the water with a strainer and put the noodles in a big bowl. Put desired amount of tenkasu on the noodles.
5. Pour dashi with bean sprouts on the noodles and tenkazu then top it with the stir-fried chingensai. Sprinkle with more sesame seeds.
6. Serve immediately!
Tips and Tricks
You might wonder if you can cook the noodles straight in the dashi you made in the first pot. Well, I've tried doing that. For dried noodles, it worked out just fine. But for fresh ramen noodles, I suggest cooking it in a separate pot and straining the water because it's quite salty.
LEFT: My husband's version includes fresh raw egg cracked on the bowl right after serving.
Tenkasu is a byproduct of cooking tempura. As seen on the picture of tenkasu on the right, these are crunchy bits of deep-fried tempura batter.
When buying this, be careful in choosing because some are shrimp- or whatever-flavored.
A vegetarian for 12 years and a kitchen warrior since I moved in to Japan, my favorite battle has been winning over my husband's interestingly complicated taste buds.