Sometimes you just need a big, savoury bowl of ramen, without being held up by all of the steaming-hot broth nonsense, am I right?
That’s sort of the idea with Japanese mazemen, which keeps the rich flavour, cascade of toppings, and slurp-able noodles – but leaves the rest behind.
It’s common for traditional mazemen recipes to use pork in some creative way or another, like crispy pork belly, pork fat or a savoury pork broth. The work behind creating the magical mazemen sauce is a lengthy labour of love, not unlike creating a stunning ramen broth.
For the sake of enjoying these incredible noodles at 9pm on a stressed-out summer’s evening, I aimed to make a quick and approachable vegetetarian version that doesn’t let you down in the flavour department.
There is umami, richness, complexity and heat, with everyday ingredients that come together under 30 minutes. It’s the quick summer ramen you didn’t know you were craving!
why it’s delicious
- A quick chili-garlic oil is a flavour-packed base for the sauce.
- Creamy tahini and miso give the noodles a thick and shiny coat of sauce – like you would expect when enjoying a traditional bowl of ramen.
- Green onions work double duty, cooked with the mushrooms and as a fresh and crunchy topping.
- The entire meal reheats very well. I like to warm it up on a pan with a splash of water, just until everything is heated through. A microwave would work too.
- Keep it vegan and add fried tofu or tempeh.
- I like adding a softly set poached egg – the yolk is delicious spilled out over the noodles!
- Chicken would be great ontop as well.
- Get creative with your toppings: kimchi, crispy shallots, nori….the sky is the limit.
Spicy Miso Mushroom Mazemen (brothless ramen)
- 2 packs uncooked ramen noodles seasoning discarded
- 2 cups Shanghai bok choy, thinly sliced
- 1 cup cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
Spice Miso-Garlic Sauce
- 1 tbsp miso paste yellow or white
- 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 tsp ginger, minced
- 1/2 tsp crushed chili flakes more or less depending on heat tolerance
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 2 tsp soy sauce + more to serve
- 1 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp tahini
- 3 green onions, whites and green parts seperated
- 2 eggs* (poached, fried or boiled) optional, to top
- Cook the ramen according to the package directions. Strain and rinse with warm water to remove excess starch. Set aside.
- Cook Veggies. In a large pan, heat 2 tsp oil over medium high heat. When the pan is hot, add mushrooms and whites from onions. Cook for 3-5 min, until they start to soften. Add bok choy and continue cooking for 2-3 more min, until tender. Set aside on a plate.
- Cook Chili-Garlic Oil. In the same pan, add 1.5 tbsp neutral-tasting oil, sesame oil, garlic, ginger and chili flakes. Cook over medium-low heat for 3-5 min, stirring, keeping an eye on the garlic so it doesnt burn. When the edges of the garlic start to turn golden brown, take it off the heat immediatly.
- Mix Spicy-Miso Sauce. Off heat, in the pan with the chili-garlic oil, add miso paste, tahini and soy sauce. Whisk very well to combine. It won't be 100% emulsified yet - don't worry. Add 3-4 tbsp of water, whisking well to combine, until the sauce is emulsified and the texture of a creamy salad dressing.
- Finish Noodles: To the pan with the sauce, add noodles and veggies. Cook over low heat, tossing, until the noodles are coated in the sauce and everything is heated through. Add more water if needed. Taste and add more soy or rice vinegar.
- Serve noodles: Plate with green parts of onions sprinkled over. Great with sesame seeds, a soft-boiled egg (pictured) or poached egg (my personal fave), kimchi and extra hot sauce if you like.