Happy Winter Solstice, return of the Light, the Sun, and a call to remember the hope we can find in the darkest night, which feels infinitely important in these dark days. This soup is a celebration of light in the form of food. I believe in the power of color and intention that goes into creating the food we eat. Make this as simple or as complex as you feel! Most importantly, remember how seasonal foods nourish us on all levels.
This is a flavorful, seasonal version of a ramen bowl, livening up the traditional squash soups that grace many holiday tables this time of year. I created this recipe for an issue on Wellness in Edible Magazine; you can read the full article here. Add as many or as little seasonal ingredients, keep it simple, or try new combinations. Ramen bowls are often characterized by the much sought after flavor profile ”umami”, which means “yummy” in Japanese. In the $1 packets this is achieved with MSG, but it can be activated naturally by fermented foods like soy sauce and miso, seaweed, sun-dried tomatoes, parmesan, etc.
8 cups of bone broth, vegetable stock, dashi or water
1-2 cups of roasted winter squash or pumpkin
Lotus Foods forbidden rice black ramen noodles-2 packages
1 package of frozen chopped shiitake mushrooms or fresh wild mushrooms, about 8 oz.
1 head of chopped escarole (can use other bitter or winter greens also, such as chard)
3-4 cloves of garlic crushed
1/4 cup Adzuki Bean miso paste (you can use any miso paste)
1 bunch of purple or rainbow carrots split lengthwise
Kimchi (spicy pickled cabbage)
1 Purple Daikon Radish cut in rounds
2 medium sized celery roots shredded
1 package of Extra Firm Tofu, cubed
1/4 cup dried Hijiki Seaweed or Wakame seaweed, soaked and strained
1 hardboiled egg per person split in half
1/2 head of Cauliflower florets, chopped
1 Tbsp. tamarind paste (could also use lime juice)
2 tsp. maple syrup
2 tsp. brown or black mustard seeds
1 tsp. of turmeric powder
1 1/2 Tbsp. lightly toasted black sesame seeds (can use white also)
I like to have several bowls on the table filled with the ramen toppings, and create an interactive meal for everyone, so I recommend having bowls ready to put the ingredients in as they come off the stove. You can always prepare the hard boiled eggs ahead of time, as well as the soak the Hijiki or Wakame seaweed. Kimchi is available in all the major health food stores now, and many times at your local market. Cut the purple daikon radish into thin rounds, and if you cannot find daikon radish use a different kind of radish.
Start by heating the oven to 400 F, splitting your rainbow carrots lengthwise into 2 or 4 pieces, depending on their size. Place the split carrots on a cookie sheet, and rub with coconut oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake the carrots until they soften but retain a little crunch, about 15 minutes. Pull out the carrots and transfer to a bowl or plate.
While the carrots are baking, chop up the package of tofu into small squares. In a medium sized bowl, add the tamarind paste or lime juice, 1 tsp. of maple syrup, and 2 Tbsp. of soy sauce. Mix well and add the tofu, coating it with the sauce. Heat 1 Tbsp. of coconut oil in a skillet and scoop out the tofu with a slotted spoon and put in the skillet. Fry it on medium heat until it browns and then pour the rest of the liquid into the pan and stir it in for about 2 minutes. Add the lightly toasted sesame seeds to the tofu. Put the tofu in a bowl and cover to keep it warm.
Chop the escarole loosely and warm about 1 Tbsp. of sesame oil in a skillet. Add the crushed garlic to the skillet and sauté until the garlic begins to get glassy. Add the greens and sauté until they’re softened, mixing the garlic in completely. Transfer to a bowl and cover to keep warm.
Warm 1 Tbsp. of coconut oil in a skillet and add the 2 tsp. of mustard seeds. When they begin to pop, add the chopped cauliflower florets, 1 tsp. of turmeric powder, salt to taste, and a splash of water or broth. Cover the pan and let the cauliflower soften. Transfer to a bowl to add to the finished soup.
I love celery root, and I prepare it simply to show off its unique flavor. In a skillet, warm about a tablespoon of coconut oil, and then add the finely shredded celery root with salt to taste. I like mine crispier, but watch that it does not burn, stirring frequently. Transfer to a bowl for the table.
Add a tablespoon of sesame oil or butter to a skillet to warm. Loosely chop the mushrooms, and sauté in the pan until lightly browned, adding salt to taste. Transfer these to a bowl for the table.
Using two large pots, fill one with water and follow the package direction for the ramen noodles. It is fine to use any kind of ramen noodles you like, but the Lotus Food Ramen Noodles are gluten free and come out a beautiful dark purple color. Strain the noodles and add some equally to each bowl that will be served.
To assemble the broth, add the 8 cups of stock or water to a large pot. Blend in the roasted squash and add the miso. Heat to almost boiling; this preserves the living enzymes in the miso. Add soy sauce to taste and more miso if necessary. Ladle the broth over the noodles and then assemble your perfect ramen bowl with all the fixings.