Yesterday The Boyfriend and I went to H-Mart in Cambridge. I love this store so much, at least the grocery part of it. The restaurant area? Not so much. I have been there on two occasions; the first time I ordered the vegetarian sushi roll. I think it was stuffed with tempura veggies? I don’t even remember because it was that bland and boring. I remember thinking that it was a HUGE waste of calories. I told myself the next time, I would only order the pre-made veggie/avocado sushi because that is pretty hard to screw up and I am OK with how bland it is, but I ended up getting sucked in by the Vegetarian Ramen Bowl. Veggies and tofu? Yes please!
Here it is:
The broth was subtle and nicely flavored, I will give them that, but it was so boring and I am so sick and tired of getting bland, boring, vegetarian and vegan food. I see the meat ramen they serve. I smell it and it looks and smells delicious because it is full of flavor. I think a vegetarian or vegan dish should be packed full of even MORE flavors! I want sweet, salty, bitter, astringent and sour in my dish. I like it when each bite is a slightly different experience.
I ate the tofu and some of the veggies/noodles and decided that I would take the rest home and transform it into WHAT I WOULD MAKE IF I WERE SERVING VEGETARIAN RAMEN!
I do give them credit for making a lovely base broth. I’m pretty sure they used kombu. It reminded me of a clear, less flavored kombu infused miso soup.
So, the first thing I did was dry-fry tofu: When it was done, I added brine from some Korean Daikon Pickles I made a couple weeks ago to give it acid, salt and depth of flavor. The tofu went into a bowl to soak up the briny goodness. . Next, I used about 1 tsp. of spicy sesame oil and 1/2 of a small onion and fried it up over medium-high heat. I added a pinch of 5-spice powder and salt. Finally, I added the leftover restaurant ramen. While it was heating up, I added two pressed cloves of garlic and around 1 tbsp. of minced, fresh ginger. I finished the dish with Thai bird chilies, Korean chilies, black sesame seeds, sesame leaves, and pepper. Now THIS is what I’m talking about!
Please understand restaurants, that vegetarians and vegans crave and appreciate flavorful food. It is not that hard to create; I know this, because I have been a Vegetarian/Vegan Chef in restaurants! Please step up to the plate.