Hope your weekend is peachy and if you feel like some cooking or are looking for easy plant-based recipes to ear mark for the following week, these vegan noodles with miso mince may be just right.
Not to be a massive cliche, but this New Year has started with me getting a bit of a kick up my butt so to speak. I’ve broken up with sugar (at least for now). I still have fruit, an occasional date or a teaspoon of maple syrup in a dressing or sauce, but no cakes, cookies, desserts, chocolates – basically things that my body does not need yet my tastebuds love beyond comprehension and cannot be trusted to be around. I have expected this to be insanely hard but somehow it wasn’t, maybe the time was right, I don’t know. Tomorrow is going to be 3 weeks and I feel fantastic, I have so much energy and no cravings – that’s a first for me.
I have also upped my exercise from 4 times a week to 6 or sometimes even 7 to compensate for my (largely) desk job. On the days that I don’t run or go to the gym, I go for long, fast-paced walks around my local woods with a podcast or without, depending how I feel. This has also been a great move for my mood. Because of that, I’ve also been cooking a lot of protein rich meals and this dish of vegan noodles with miso mince is one I have often so I thought I would share. These vegan noodles with miso mince are an uncomplicated and really satisfying dish. I usually have it with a side of kimchi, which I recommend.
MORE ABOUT THE INGREDIENTS
AROMATICS: I used a holy trinity of aromatics typically used in East Asian dishes: spring onions (also known as scallions), fresh ginger root and a clove of garlic. The first two get stir-fried briefly, I use green tops of spring onions to garnish and a grated clove of garlic to lend flavour to the noodles once cooked.
SMOKED TOFU: I used an entire block of smoked Tofoo tofu. This particular brand comes in 225 g / 8 package and is already pressed so if using another brand go for 300 g / 10.5 before pressing, press well and crumble into the dish. I recommend smoked tofu, but if you cannot get it where you live you could use plain and infuse it with flavour by using a few drops of liquid smoke.
SHIITAKE MUSHROOMS: Dried shiitake mushrooms are little flavour bombs, they are shelf stable (last for ages) and very economical. I always have them in my cupboard so that’s what I used in this recipe. I rehydrate them for a day (the longer the better so that they have enough time to soften), then mince the cups really finely (I discard the stems as they are tough and not pleasant to eat) and use the soaking water as stock to cook my noodles in. Instead of dried shiitake, you can use finely diced fresh (about 125 g / 4.4 oz) and half a mushroom stock cube for the liquid. You could also use more common mushrooms, like chestnut/cremini mushroom.
MISO PASTE: I used red miso paste (it’s more flavourful than white miso paste) to flavour my mince with, but you can also use white if that what you already have. I realise that miso should not be cooked at high temperatures if you want to preserve its probiotic properties, but I used it for flavour rather than health benefit in this dish.
CHILLI PASTE: If you are a fan of chilli heat, you can add a teaspoon (or however much you enjoy) of chilli paste to the sauce. I used gochujang but Sriracha or even chilli oil would work just as well.
BROCCOLI: I always make sure to include plenty of vegetables in my dishes and this dish is no exception. I used an entire bag (200 g / 7 oz) of tenderstem broccoli in this dish. I steamed them before adding to the dish but if you don’t mind using extra oil, you can always stir-fry (see step 3). Whether you steam or stir-fry, ensure your broccoli is cut into even sized pieces so that it cooks at the same rate – this often means cutting thicker stems in half or even quarters if needed.
SOY SAUCE: Miso paste adds both flavour and saltiness to this dish, but you do need to add a generous splash of soy sauce too. You could also use some dark soy sauce for colour (I added about 1 tbsp), but that’s totally optional.
PRE-COOKED NOODLES: I used pre-cooked ramen noodles for speed and convenience. They come vacuum packed and are partially cooked. You add them to a hot wok with a splash of liquid and tease them apart with a spatula, they will cook in a couple of minutes.
Chop rehydrated shiitake cups really finely or mince them in a mini chopper. Crumble tofu with your hands, finely dice ginger and cut white and light green parts of green onions into segments, keep the tops for garnish.
Heat the wok up until it starts to smoke, then add half of the oil with diced ginger and spring onion segments. Stir-fry for 30 seconds before adding in the other half of the oil, followed by minced shiitake and crumbled tofu. Stir-fry for a couple of minutes on high heat.
Add in miso sauce and stir-fry until all of the excess moisture cooks out. Once ready, transfer miso mince to a side plate and keep the wok for the next step – do not worry if there is some food stuck to the bottom.
Add pre-cooked noodles and shiitake stock. Using a pair of tongs, flip the noodles a few times in the stock. Once they start to soften, use a spatula to tease them apart. Carry on until cooked then season.
Return miso mince to the wok and add steamed broccoli in too. Combine well, add more soy sauce if needed, serve.
- 4 dried shiitake mushrooms*, soaked in 240 ml / 1 cup water overnight
- 1 tbsp / 15 ml high smoke point oil (I used rice bran)
- 15 g / 0.5 fresh ginger
- 200 g / 7 oz tenderstem broccoli (or other veg)
- 1 garlic clove
- 4 spring onions/scallions
- 225 g / 8 oz smoked tofu*
- 1½ tbsp miso paste, I used red/aka miso
- 1 tsp chilli paste (like gochujang or Sriracha), optional
- 400 g / 14 oz pre-cooked ramen stir-fry noodles
- 15 ml / 1 tbsp soy sauce, plus dark soy sauce for colour (optional)
- 5 ml / 1 tsp maple syrup or sugar
- 10 ml / 2 rice vinegar
- 5 ml / 1 tsp toasted sesame oil (optional)
- Soak dried shiitake in 240 ml / 1 cup boiling water as much in advance as possible to soften them.
- Chop white and light green part of spring onions into 2.5 cm / 1 inch segments, keep the green tops for garnish. Chop ginger into fine dice. Cut stems off rehydrated shiitake and discard, mince the cups very finely with a sharp knife (or in a mini chopper), crumble tofu well with your hands.
- Cut broccoli into same size segments and steam them until knife tender, about 5-6 minutes. Alternatively stir-fry them in more oil, then set them aside and keep the wok for step 5.
- Dilute miso in a splash of shiitake stock, grate a clove of garlic into it, add chilli paste (I used gochujang) if using.
- Heat up a wok until it just begins to smoke, then add half a tablespoon of oil and swirl it around. Follow by white and light green segments of spring onions and chopped ginger. Stir-fry on a low-medium heat for 30 seconds.
- Push aromatics to the side, add the other half of oil, followed by minced shiitake and crumbled tofu, turn the heat up and stir fry for a couple of minutes.
- Add the sauce and stir fry until all of the excess mixture evaporates. Transfer to a plate and set aside, don’t worry if the wok isn’t perfectly clean.
- Combine soy sauce, rice vinegar, maple syrup and sesame oil in a small bowl, you can also add about a tablespoon of dark soy sauce for colour (but that’s not necessary).
- Add ramen noodles to the wok and the rest of shiitake stock. Keep on flipping the noodles in the stock gently and teasing them apart with a spatula until they soften and unravel.
- Season cooked noodles with the sauce you prepared in step 8 and return tofu-shiitake mixture to the pan and stir well to combine. Season with extra soy sauce if needed.
- Divide between two or three bowls, serve with steamed broccoli and sprinkled with spring onion tops sliced finely.
*SMOKED TOFU: I used a whole block of smoked Tofoo tofu. This particular brand comes in 225 g / 8 oz package and is already pressed so if using another brand go for 300 g / 10.5 before pressing and press the water out before using.