We arrived back home late Sunday and I’ve spent the last 24 hours catatonic from exhaustion. Forgives the posting delay. My brain was firing on exactly zero cylinders. That’s not even a real thing to fire on, you know.
Ever since Brittany Murphy passed away in 2009, I’ve watched every single Netflix movie that features her smoky voice and quirky acting. Don’t ask me why. I wasn’t ever a big fan of Clueless, and I so never got around to getting my gangsta on with 8 Mile, but nowadays I feel compelled by her charm and so sit through Love and Other Disasters like it’s a seance with the sacred. Yeah, I’m in therapy.
So, ever since catching BM in The Ramen Girl, which details an American girls struggles to learn the art of true Ramen making in Japan, I’ve yearned for a bowl of real-live ramen. Not the sort you crack open and heat to a curly mush, but the sort made in Asian Ramen Houses, where the broth takes days to create and secret family recipes are viciously guarded.
In need of some sort of inspired dinner after today’s uninspired attempt to wean back to post-vacay life, I figured I had exactly enough energy to make a thang of ramen for the fam. The “oriental” Ramen flavoring contains no animal products, but it’s chock-the-freak full of sodium and other stuff. So I figured I could conjure up some sort of homemade broth using a few natural ingredients.
The result was a bowl of piping hot ramen dotted with tofu, garlicky bok choy, corn, bean sprouts, basil, cilantro, and the breath of heaven. To keep the fam from freaking a nugget over this meal, I thought it would be a blast to let them put their own toppings inside their ramen. A plan that would have worked with the precision of an arrow, excepting the fact that my Eldon friend came by for visit and I forgot to be a mom for two hours of delicious conversation. C’est la vie clever dinner plans. Spontaneous chats with favorite friends are allllllllllways better than carefully built dinner bowls.
One bowl of ramen, one visit from a dear friend, a table full of hungry kids that belong to me? That’s enough to bring a girl out of post-vacation blues and make you feel like living again.
Happy ramen sigh.
Pimped Out Ramen
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 bunch bok choy chopped
- 3 cloves garlic
- ½ onion thinly sliced
- 6 cups veggie broth
- 2-4 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
- 2 ramen packets noodles only
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon tahini optional
- 3 tablespoons red miso*
- ½ block extra-firm tofu cut into small cubes
- ¼ cup basil
- ½ cup scallions
- 1 cup frozen corn thawed
- 1 cup bean sprouts
- optional: limed slices sesame seeds, and red pepper flakes for garnish
- In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the bok choy and garlic and saute over medium-high heat until wilted. Remove to a plate and cover. Immediately add the onion slices. Saute until soft, about 1-2 minutes. Add broth and soy sauce. Bring to a rolling boil. Add the ramen packets and cook for 2 minutes, just enough to loosen the noodles. Remove from heat and toss in the tofu, basil, scallions. Allow to sit for 1 minutes, then scoop into four deep, round bowls. Add a bit of your garlicky bok choy on the side of each bowl, a mound of corn and bean sprouts. Top with a sprig of cilantro and garnish as you please. Serve immediately, while piping hot, with chopsticks for slurping.
- MISO is a puree of fermented soybeans and lends a mild depth to the broth. You'll find it in the refrigerated section of Whole Foods, or in the Asian foods section of most grocers. If you've never tried it, now's the time! Miso appears to offer your body support against breast cancer, with Miso eaters seeing a potential reduced the risk of the disease by more than 20%.