Tuesday, August 16, 2022

The Secret To Vegetarian Ramen: A ‘Fat’ That Tastes Amazing

Soup is a favorite food of mine now matter what the season, but if you’re a vegetarian, some soups don’t have the same joie de vivre that the meat based ones can have. This is especially true when ordering what passes for vegetarian ramen at many restaurants.

Ramen is typically a blend of dashi broth made from seaweed and either a pork broth with lots of fat or a bonito flake fishiness. Excellent choices if you eat meat, but if you don’t, you’re usually relegated to a much thinner stock, both in mouthfeel and in taste. The seaweed is rich in glutamate, the main ingredient in MSG, which gives you that umami sensation on your tongue.

Legendary Ivan Ramen shop in NYC blew my veggie socks off, thanks in major part to their silky, oily, rich flavored and vegan broth. After much research, the secret is not very well hidden on the web, lucky for all of us. It’s oily richness also makes a great place to stick our good friend cannabis, for a two-birds-one-stone scenario.

Photos by Maria Penaloza

Ivan Veggie Fat

Original version Ivan Orkin, edited by Danielle Guercio

  • 1.5 cups oil, neutral in flavor like canola or vegetable oil
  • 5 strips of kombu seaweed
  • 5 strips of nori seaweed
  • 20 garlic cloves, whole peeled
  • 1 bunch scallions
  • ½ oz cannabis infused oil *
Photos by Maria Penaloza

Peel garlic and heat in a slow cooker with oil and rough chopped scallions, heat until garlic is tender.

Photos by Maria Penaloza

Strain and keep all of those luscious cloves to make garlic bread or smush on vegetables and meats, return oil to slow cooker. Place seaweed in blender and grind as much as possible, then stir into oil.

Photos by Maria Penaloza

Infuse for at least one hour, then remove and strain for use or refrigerate overnight and strain the following day for stronger flavor. I like it to be more mild since kombu usually goes in the water based part too. You can alternatively use powdered kombu and nori and then leave in the mixture, you will need to blend it really well and allow a full day for the powder to settle into the oil.

Photos by Maria Penaloza

Once heating and straining is complete, no matter when/if you do it, stir in the cannabis oil. This lets you keep all the THC in the mix and it won’t overheat or attach itself to the other items you’re straining out.

Photos by Maria Penaloza

*Cannabis Infused Oil

Decarboxylate 3.5g of finely ground cannabis at 225 degrees for 20 minutes in a tightly sealed, oven safe container. Put in lidded mason jar or vacuum sealed bag with cannabis and four ounces of canola oil. Heat in water bath just under boiling for at least 1 hour. Strain and chill to use in recipes.

Now that you have this flavored and scented oil, go ahead and use a tablespoon per person you’ll be serving to take your broth go from basic to baller.

Store in the fridge for up to two weeks or freeze it in four servings. This means anytime I want to make ramen in a pinch I can make it as good as when I fully plan it out. You can also use this oil in other soups or to season meats and veggies, after they’re cooked if you want to keep as many cannabinoids in the mix as possible.

Photos: Maria Penaloza

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