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Creamy Vegan Lemon-Tahini Mushroom Ramen

“Who the hell was this guy, barging in to deny me my ramen?”

-Wataru Watari

When I was doing my vegan month, back in November, I reached out to some friends who were vegan, or who had been vegan in the past, to get some recommendations. My biggest cheerleader, supporter and encourager was my baby sister. Not only did she give me lots of advice for surviving the month, she also gave me some recipes or referred me to several blogs that had helpful, delicious and quick but healthy meals.

One of these was Budget Bytes, and I instantly fell in love with a couple of her recipes, including this Creamy Coconut Lentil Curry and, as you can probably guess, her Vegan Creamy Mushroom Ramen. In fact, I’ve made both of them several times since that month and both are so good that I would definitely recommend them and you should try them in their original form.

Once, I’d made the Mushroom Ramen once or twice, I started adding different spices to it and over the course of the next few months, while I’ve kept her method, I have added to her ingredients. I kept envisioning a lemon and sesame flavoured creamy mushroom ramen and after several attempts, which I abandoned with lemongrass, I came up with the recipe below. Almost from the beginning, I began adding garlic, ginger and chiliflakes which are natural pairings for me with any Asian dish but the turmeric is my sister’s ingenious idea and I totally stole it from her (thanks, babes!). Like I said, getting the lemon-sesame combination took a little bit of time but eventually (in fact just in the last week) I came up with a broth that I just love and I am sure that you will, too.

Some health benefits include:

  • pak choi can decrease the risk of cancer
  • mushrooms are cholestrol free
  • spinach is good for your iron levels
  • ginger can reduce damage to your arteries.

Creamy Vegan Lemon-Tahini Mushroom Ramen

Adapted from Budget Bytes

Serves 1

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp tahini, if your tahini has separated be sure to stir it back together before getting the tbsp’s for this recipe
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/ 1/4 tsp of sesame oil
  • 325ml boiling water, more if needed
  • 1 vegetable bouillon cube such as Oxo or Knorr.
  • 1/2 tbsp sunflower or vegetable oil*
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely minced or crushed
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger, including any juices from the ginger
  • 1/4  1/2 tsp of chiliflakes (I use the  1/2, but if you prefer less spice I’d go with the smaller amount)
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 115g of sliced chestnut mushrooms**
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to season
  • 1 bulb of Shanghai pak choi/bok choy, washed and bottom part of bulb discarded
  • 1 package of Instant Ramen Noodles, I use either Koka or the Hearty Food Co. ones from Tesco. You only need the noodles so you can discard the seasoning package
  • 1/2 cup spinach, washed
  • 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk, I use either Chaokoh or Thai Gold Organic
  • 1 bunch basil leaves, washed and stems removed***
  • 1 green onion/scallion, sliced thinly on the diagonal
  • sesame oil, for drizzling

Method

  1. Pre-heat a small pot on medium heat. My stove goes from 1-6, so I put it on 3.
  2. Put the lemon juice and tahini in a small glass or cup and whisk together. I used a spoon to stir first and then I whisked with a small whisk to get rid of as many lumps as I could.
  3. Add the sesame oil and whisk again. Don’t worry if it is still a bit lumpy as the broth will help to smoothen it out.
  4. Crush your bouillon cube into a jug, I use a spoon to prevent the glass from cracking, and stir the broth.
  5. Then add a little broth to the lemon-tahini mixture, again using a spoon to prevent cracking, and whisk until smooth. Set aside for a minute.
  6. To the pot, add the vegetable oil and heat for a couple of seconds. Then, add the mushrooms, garlic, ginger, chiliflakes and turmeric and stir with a wooden spoon. The oil will be sopped up by the mushrooms and the pot will look very dry. Don’t worry, this is supposed to happen. Now add the salt and pepper
  7. Stirring occasionally, for the next 10 or so minutes, let the mushrooms and spices cook. Over the next 10 or so minutes the mushrooms will release moisture back to the pot. You want to continue cooking them until the pot dries up again. If any of the spices seem to be sticking to the bottom of the pot, that’s okay as they will be released when you add the broth. (see image above)
  8. In the meantime, stir your small cup of lemon-tahini broth back into the bigger jug. It will look kind of creamy in colour. You need 400ml of broth all together, so if you need to, add a little more boiling water.
  9. Once the mushrooms are ready, as in the bottom of the pot looks dry again, add the broth and bring to the boil by turning up the heat to 5.
  10. Once boiling add the pak choi, making sure the thicker ends are completely submerged in the broth. Then, add the noodles pushing them down into the broth and let the pak choi and the noodles boil in the broth for 3 minutes. I recommend setting a timer.
  11. Turn off the heat but leave the pot on the same ring. Stir in the spinach and once it wilts, remove the pot from the heat.
  12. Add the coconut milk, stirring to combine.
  13. Put everything in a big bowl, add the basil to the middle and then top with the scallion and drizzle a little sesame oil on top. Alternatively, put the scallion in the middle, drizzle over the sesame oil and place the basil in a circle around the onions.
  14. Grab a spoon and some chopsticks and dig in.

Tips

*Don’t use olive oil in Asian cooking. It affects the flavour and really doesn’t work here. Sunflower or vegetable oil are more neutral.

**The original recipe called for baby bella mushrooms. I never found these here in Ireland in any of the local grocery shops. They may be available in some speciality shops. I have used one large portobella mushrooms with a few chestnut mushrooms. I sliced it to the same width as the chesnut mushrooms and then cut into threes so that they were same size the others. Both versions tasted great. I don’t have a mushroom brush, so I use a damp papertowel to clean the dirt off.

***In my local grocery shop I couldn’t find Thai basil and I haven’t made it to the Asian market in a while. I just used the normal basil. If you can find Thai basil, let me know what you think as I think it would definitely bring this up a notch.

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