Warm up with a big bowl of ramen noodles with flavourful miso and mushroom broth. A comfort food recipe to say goodbye to this year.
I write you from a train. It’s freezing cold and I am so tired. I find myself craving a bowl of ramen. While rocked by the moving train’s lullaby, I find myself reflecting on the past year.
It has been another challenging year, a shady year I’d say. At least in 2020, everyone openly recognised the disaster and we found union in facing the tragedy together. 2021 came with much promise, much expectation. It brought me instead apathy and stagnation. In the UK, we spent almost half of this year staying at home, saving lives – as the government motto inexorably repeated. We spent the other half of the year ignoring Covid, never mentioning its name, it became my he-who-must-not-be-named.
I feel so mentally exhausted at the end of this year. I am a bit disappointed with myself as so many of the things I wanted to achieve are still left on a scrappy list I wrote last January. What hurts is that this year I really tried hard, but it didn’t matter, things just did not happen.
I started the year in a hopeful puddle of dreams, but I have spent so much time sitting in it that now I feel left just with a mud of doubts.
That’s the danger of immobility, you only see the world from a very limited perspective.
If I change point of view, I can see the beautiful moments that constellated the year. A wonderful birthday in unicorn pajamas, the smell of the ocean on a cold day, my family’s hug in the hot Italian sun after much time apart, the smiling belly of my friend with a new life ready to shine, one year married to the love of my life, friends sharing their new adventures with promises to keep and houses to build.
From this point of view, I can see, very well hidden, a bit of gratitude to myself. After so much time in lockdown, deprived of life, I now feel a new determination to eat life alive. So many opportunities I would have normally overlooked, I now capture and treasure. Visiting new cities, talking to strangers, eating in a restaurant, running in the cold, starting a food blog.
Starting a food blog. I had this dream, but I felt I wasn’t enough. One day this year, after so much time wasted in finding no time (and no courage), I just went for it. I can see, very well hidden, a bit of pride.
I love writing this blog, cooking, and sharing it all with you. It takes a lot of determination as well – as you might guess from the number of typos, I write it very early in the morning or very late at night. A new motto should probably be: Writing your thoughts, saving your life.
Back home, I can now dissolve the miso paste in boiling water, finely chop the mushrooms, and lovingly mix all the ingredients in a nourishing bowl of ramen noodles.
I deeply love this recipe and made it again and again last year. Its flavours tell my story.
It takes a bit of patience to chop the mushrooms, fry the tofu and watch the broth come together. But the house will soon start smelling like a home, and your efforts will be paid off by those delicious and silent spoonsful of soup.
It’s a simple soup, yet so special.
A quiet way to say goodbye to 2021.
I normally conclude the year with a new promise. This time I want to conclude it with a thank you. A thank you to my dears, the ones who walk me through this journey. I thank you because I know I’ll find you still here, next to me, in the next year. 2022, here we come, a bit muddled in our doubts, a bit hopeful in our dreams.
Vegan mushroom ramenCourse: MainsDifficulty: Medium
Warm up with a big bowl of ramen noodles with a flavourful miso and mushroom broth. It takes a bit of patience to chop the mushrooms, fry the tofu and watch the broth come together. But the house will soon start smelling like a home, and your efforts will be paid off by those delicious and silent spoonsful of soup.
- Step 1
200 g shitake or oyster mushrooms
200 g chestnut mushrooms
1 tsp soy sauce
- Step 2
250 g tofu
1 and a half tbsp of plain flour
1 tbsp soy sauce
- Step 3
3 minced garlic cloves
1 tbsp grated ginger
1 tsp chilli flakes (optional)
1 tbsp sunflower oil
2.5 l of boiling water
1 vegetable stock cube
2 tbsp white miso paste
100 g mushrooms (from step 1 – not an additional ingredient!)
150 g pak choi
30 g carrot
- Step 4
300 g ramen noodles
500 ml hot water
- Step 5
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 spring onions
Sesame seeds to decorate
- Patiently slice all the mushrooms and fry them with a spoon of soy sauce over high heat for 10 minutes. Set aside.
- Slice the tofu into small rectangles and fry it with a spoon of sunflower oil and a spoon of flour for 10 minutes. Set aside.
- Fry minced garlic, ginger, shallots, chilli flakes, carrot’s peels, minced mushrooms with a bit of oil till brown for around 5 minutes. Add 2 liters of boiling water, one cube of vegetable stock, and two spoons of miso paste to the delicious base. Let the broth simmer for 15 minutes.
- Soak ramen noodles into hot water following the instructions on their package.
- Add two spoons of rice vinegar and one spoon of soy sauce to the broth for extra flavour. Let’s make the ramen bowl: add the noodles and one ladle of broth. Decorate with the mushrooms, ramen, sliced spring onions, and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.
- Ramen tastes better when eaten immediately, I don’t advise storing or freezing it.