Serves 4 to 6
Total time: 3 hours (or overnight) || Active time: 30 minutes
Curly noodles in a homemade dashi broth, topped with grilled hoisin tofu, shiitake mushrooms, bok choy and some diced avocado. OMG it’s Grilled Ramen. And it is beyond sublime. The kind of food that brings the room to a hush as you take your first slurpy bites.
This is definitely a date night recipe. Or a marry me recipe. Or a “I just want to do something special for no particular reason, so sue me” recipe. The sweet char of the tofu, and the meaty earthiness of the shiitakes play well with the briny broth. The avocado mimics the fatty boiled egg often atop a big bowl of steamy ramen. And a healthy dose of sliced scallion adds a bright freshness and some crunch.
Also, grilled greens are all the rage these days! Baby bok choy is especially fun, since it’s like two veggies in one: the crisp snappy stems and the velvetty leaves. Even if you don’t want to make the entire recipe, give the bok choy a whirl some time.
To make this recipe not such a pain in the tuchus, make the broth a day ahead, and marinade the tofu overnight. The next day, you’re essentially just boiling the noodles and grilling some stuff. And it is so worth it!
~ You definitely want the right noodles for this! A trip to an Asian grocery should provide you with a wall of ramen to choose from. We’re not talking the kind that come with a flavor packet, just a plain old back of curly looking noodles. However...
~ If you can’t find the right kind of noodles anywhere, than any supermarket ought to have those packaged noodles, and there is often a vegan flavor. So let’s improvise. Lose the flavor packets and just boil the noodles as directed. In these packages, the noodles that have been fried, so, I dunno, whatever your opinion on fried foods, take that into consideration. I suppose some people will be stoked on that and others not so much.
8 oz plain ramen noodles (see note above)
1 recipe Miso Dashi BrothFor the marinade:
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari
3 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lime juiceFor marinating:
12 to 14 oz block extra firm tofu, pressed
1/4 lb shiitake mushroom, rough stems trimmedFor the bok choy:
4 baby bok choy sliced in half
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon saltFor garnish:
1 ripe avocado, diced small
1 cup thinly sliced scallion
In a wide shallow bowl, mix together all of the marinade ingredients.
Slice tofu into 8 even slabs widthwise. Place in marinade for at least 2 hours and up to overnight, flipping occasionally.
Keep the shiitake mushrooms on standby, as they will be dredged in the marinade prior to grilling.
When the tofu has marinated, cook the noodles according to package directions, then immediately cool them under cold running water, and set aside. Also, make sure your broth is piping hot and ready to go, since everything else will happen rather quickly.
Heat up a grill to about 450 F.
We’re going to put the bok choy on the grill first. Brush each half with sesame oil, and sprinkle with a little salt. Place face down on the grill for about 5 minutes, until grill marks appear. Keep the leaves away from the direct flame, if possible, since they will burn if too close to the fire. As you can see, I keep one half of the grill off, so that the leaves don’t burn.
Brush the grill with a little sesame oil, and place the tofu on the grill as well, cooking along with the bok choy for about 5 minutes. Once the tofu is on the grill, dredge the mushrooms in the marinade.
When you remove the bok choy, flip the tofu, to grill for another 5 minutes. Use a thin metal spatula to flip, so that you can really get under the tofu and it doesn’t stick. In the meantime, place the dredged mushrooms on the grill, and let them grill for 5 minutes as well.
Now remove the tofu and mushrooms from the grill. It’s time to assemble your ramen!
Place the cooked noodles in the hot broth to heat through, just for about 30 seconds. Divide into big bowls.
Slice tofu slabs on a bias, and divide amongst the bowls. Add bok choy, mushrooms and and avocado in little piles. Scatter scallion across the top, and serve immediately!