August 11, 2013

Grilled Ramen

by IsaChandra

Serves 4 to 6
Total time: 3 hours (or overnight) || Active time: 30 minutes

Grilled Ramen

Curly noodles in a homemade dashi broth, topped with grilled hoisin tofu, shiitake mushrooms, bok choy and some diced avocado. OMG it’s Grilled Ramen. And it is beyond sublime. The kind of food that brings the room to a hush as you take your first slurpy bites.

This is definitely a date night recipe. Or a marry me recipe. Or a “I just want to do something special for no particular reason, so sue me” recipe. The sweet char of the tofu, and the meaty earthiness of the shiitakes play well with the briny broth. The avocado mimics the fatty boiled egg often atop a big bowl of steamy ramen. And a healthy dose of sliced scallion adds a bright freshness and some crunch.

Also, grilled greens are all the rage these days! Baby bok choy is especially fun, since it’s like two veggies in one: the crisp snappy stems and the velvetty leaves. Even if you don’t want to make the entire recipe, give the bok choy a whirl some time.

To make this recipe not such a pain in the tuchus, make the broth a day ahead, and marinade the tofu overnight. The next day, you’re essentially just boiling the noodles and grilling some stuff. And it is so worth it!

Grilled Ramen

Recipe Notes

~ You definitely want the right noodles for this! A trip to an Asian grocery should provide you with a wall of ramen to choose from. We’re not talking the kind that come with a flavor packet, just a plain old back of curly looking noodles. However…

~ If you can’t find the right kind of noodles anywhere, than any supermarket ought to have those packaged noodles, and there is often a vegan flavor. So let’s improvise. Lose the flavor packets and just boil the noodles as directed. In these packages, the noodles that have been fried, so, I dunno, whatever your opinion on fried foods, take that into consideration. I suppose some people will be stoked on that and others not so much.

8 oz plain ramen noodles (see note above)
1 recipe Miso Dashi Broth

For the marinade:
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce or  tamari
3 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

For marinating:
12 to 14 oz block extra firm tofu, pressed
1/4 lb shiitake mushroom, rough stems trimmed

For the bok choy:
4 baby bok choy sliced in half
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon salt

For garnish:
1 ripe avocado, diced small
1 cup thinly sliced scallion

In a wide shallow bowl, mix together all of the marinade ingredients.

Slice tofu into 8 even slabs widthwise. Place in marinade for at least 2 hours and up to overnight, flipping occasionally.

Keep the shiitake mushrooms on standby, as they will be dredged in the marinade prior to grilling.

When the tofu has marinated, cook the noodles according to package directions, then immediately cool them under cold running water, and set aside. Also, make sure your broth is piping hot and ready to go, since everything else will happen rather quickly.

Heat up a grill to about 450 F.

We’re going to put the bok choy on the grill first. Brush each half with sesame oil, and sprinkle with a little salt. Place face down on the grill for about 5 minutes, until grill marks appear. Keep the leaves away from the direct flame, if possible, since they will burn if too close to the fire. As you can see, I keep one half of the grill off, so that the leaves don’t burn.

Brush the grill with a little sesame oil, and place the tofu on the grill as well, cooking along with the bok choy for about 5 minutes. Once the tofu is on the grill, dredge the mushrooms in the marinade.

When you remove the bok choy, flip the tofu, to grill for another 5 minutes. Use a thin metal spatula to flip, so that you can really get under the tofu and it doesn’t stick. In the meantime, place the dredged mushrooms on the grill, and let them grill for 5 minutes as well.

Now remove the tofu and mushrooms from the grill. It’s time to assemble your ramen!

Place the cooked noodles in the hot broth to heat through, just for about 30 seconds. Divide into big bowls.

Slice tofu slabs on a bias, and divide amongst the bowls. Add bok choy, mushrooms and and avocado in little piles. Scatter scallion across the top, and serve immediately!

  • August 11, 2013 at 5:35 pm: Jared

    I’m with you on grilling bok choy. It’s life changing.

  • August 11, 2013 at 6:03 pm: Erin

    I have been eating homemade ramen (even make the noodles by hand) a few times a week since the beginning of the Summer. I am so into this recipe it’s not even funny. You read my mind, Isa!

    • August 11, 2013 at 6:07 pm: IsaChandra

      Wow, what recipe do you use for the noodles? I’m a notoriously crappy noodle maker.

  • August 11, 2013 at 7:05 pm: Jeshua!

    Well, now I have to buy a grill!

  • August 11, 2013 at 9:20 pm: Krista

    This is one gorgeous dish! I so wish I had a grill…

  • August 12, 2013 at 5:56 am: Elizabeth

    I’ve never grilled Chinese greens. I’ll have to give this a go. Noodles and grilled hoisin tofu you can’t go wrong with.

  • August 12, 2013 at 5:41 pm: Federico

    I usually make the dashi soaking the kombu and shiitake mushrooms overnight in the fridge. I have never done it, but the next day you can add the vegetables to the dashi and bringing to the boil. I remove the kombu before the water starts to boil, otherwise it releases its bitterness. Then I reduce the heat, let simmer for 30 minutes and finally add the miso.
    I wonder if I can grill the rehydrated shiitake.

  • August 12, 2013 at 9:04 pm: Sarah

    Yum! This looks great. Totally had Pad Thai last night and it reminded me of ramen, can’t wait to try this!

  • August 12, 2013 at 10:25 pm: Susan

    I admit I have no methods to grill. I’m going to try to make this anyway, probably in a skillet or in the oven. I love any opportunity I can come up with to visit my local Asian grocer and adding avocado to anything makes it better.

  • August 13, 2013 at 12:17 am: Michelle

    @Jesuah!: You can sear bok choy in a large pan with a lid on it (though be cautious of the timing, otherwise they get limp because of the steam from having the lid on), or you can use a grill pan (like a cast iron Lodge pan; they’re vegan, as they’re sprayed with soy oil rather than lard or a variation of butter. You can also use a non-stick, though i personally stay away from Teflon. Those are readily available at major retailers and home goods stores). Now you don’t need a grill! (Though how you’ve survived without one is beyond me ;-) )

  • August 13, 2013 at 4:00 am: Kate

    I made the broth tonight; will try making this with udon noodles tomorrow. Looks great :) .

  • August 13, 2013 at 6:30 pm: Robert

    These pictures are stunning! My eyes can barely take in all of the yumminess!

  • August 13, 2013 at 7:16 pm: Jeannie

    Can you use a George Foreman type grill to grill the bok choy? I do not have a grill.

  • August 13, 2013 at 10:32 pm: Crista

    this looks heavenly…..

  • August 14, 2013 at 3:28 pm: Lu

    Wow! Thanks for sharing this vegan ramen recipe!!! Love it!!!

  • August 15, 2013 at 12:58 am: Mary Seed

    I never thought to grill bok choy, it is one of my favorite veggies. This looks amazing!

  • August 16, 2013 at 3:32 pm: Renee

    Hi Isa!
    I just wanted to hop on and let you know that I HEART your cookbook (Appetite For Reduction) and recipes! I work as a registered dietitian, teaching nutrition in an outpt clinic. I recommend your cookbook and website OFTEN! Keep up the excellent work!!!!

  • August 16, 2013 at 8:37 pm: Jeana

    Just tried the bok choy on the George Foreman grill. It was fabulous!

  • August 17, 2013 at 9:47 pm: Schoen

    I shared this recipe with my husband and he made it for me for Friday date night this week. It was AMAZING…In fact, we’re making it again tonight!

  • August 19, 2013 at 12:39 am: OtherChandra

    Isa Chandra = you rock my fam’s world! Thank you for yet another delish dish!

  • August 19, 2013 at 1:38 am: Laura

    Grilled/smoked veggies are such game changers. Love this.

  • August 23, 2013 at 12:22 pm: Pam J

    This was an awesome recipe. It was all I could do to not consume the whole pot of broth before adding the rest of the ingredients it was so good. Great, healthy, comfort food.

  • August 23, 2013 at 11:48 pm: Kt

    I need this in my life, pronto.

  • August 24, 2013 at 1:55 pm: Jade Asian Greens

    Love this! How simple, nutritious and perfectly easy! We’re going to feature this on our Facebook page and link here so people can see how you made it, and your lovely photography. Please come LIKE us on Facebook for more recipes and tips on super healthy Asian green vegetables like baby bok choy, gai lan, dau miu (pea shoots), yu choy, gai choy, etc.

    –Your friendly Southern California farmers at Jade Asian Greens

  • August 25, 2013 at 2:40 am: Madeline

    I made this for dinner tonight and it was fantastic. I don’t have a grill, but I used a cast iron grill pan and it worked perfectly. Not everything fit at once, but I just grilled in batches and it was fine.

  • August 25, 2013 at 1:56 pm: Kate

    Been waiting to have time to make this…broth today, grilling and assembly for tomorrow (Monday) after work. Drooling already!

  • August 26, 2013 at 6:14 pm: chels

    Lovely! I made it with the homemade dashi broth and just grilled up everything in my cast iron pan on the stove. It was perfect! Thanks isa :)

  • August 27, 2013 at 1:54 am: Kate

    As promised, made the broth and marinated everything last night. The dinner came together in a snap (grilled indoors, ’cause it was pouring after work) and it was crazy good. Grilling with the toasted sesame oil is genius.

  • August 29, 2013 at 5:08 pm: Michelle

    Made this and loved it…even though hubby burnt most of the ingredients on the grill. Definitely going to be making this again and again.

  • September 9, 2013 at 4:58 pm: Lily

    This is the most flavorful broth!! WOW!! SO glad I made it, there is nothing store-bought that ever comes close.

  • September 10, 2013 at 4:11 pm: Ashley

    This looks fabulous! Love the combination of veggies in here, and the grill marks make it extra pretty!

  • September 23, 2013 at 11:44 pm: Annie

    FYI. Hoisin sauce is oyster sauce, which is not vegetarian.

    • September 24, 2013 at 5:28 am: IsaChandra

      FYI, that is not true.

  • October 3, 2013 at 9:55 pm: Audrey

    You should call this a Grilled R-AMEN !! Good job on that one, it’s delicious xo

  • October 17, 2013 at 8:30 am: alexa

    Yum! Didn’t have shiitake, used champinions, and added some liquid smoke to their marinade (OMG, yum). But for me, avocado is the best. Great, brilliant, genius! It’s beautiful. Avocado in ramen rocks.

  • October 27, 2013 at 4:44 pm: sharmaluna

    Nice recipe. taste once this Indian foods

  • November 30, 2013 at 3:48 am: mommy sube

    mommy sube here; this look sooooo good think I will make it for dinner . will let u know tomorrow , how it turned out

  • December 2, 2013 at 3:29 am: joel

    Followed it to a T, it was very delicious! the tofu was a bit sweet for my tastes, next time i will swap the hoisin for soy sauce and a bit of sesame oil.

  • December 6, 2013 at 4:04 am: Lowie

    Stimulating to both eye buds and taste buds! In my experience it goes over well with Omni’s too! My word of warning: when grilling the shiitakes, consider using a grill plate. They really shrink!!! I lost half of mine down the cracks :(

  • January 1, 2014 at 3:45 am: Ashley

    Yum yum my husband made this tonight for a fun New Years Eve meal, especially because our two year old loves noodles more than any other dish. It was SO freakin’ delicious. We couldn’t find ramen noodles- or didn’t try hard enough to find them- and used pad Thai noodles and it was still so yummy. We love you, Isa. You’ve changed our lives.

  • January 10, 2014 at 6:57 pm: Joe

    FYI This shit is delicious!!!!!! Making it again tonight for like the 3rd time.

  • February 10, 2014 at 10:45 pm: Bobbi

    Oh my oh my Made it and had it for supper It’s another keeper. Tim says “please make it again”. Grandaughter came by an sucked down a bowlful hehe! Made the broth over the weekend and let the tofu marinate for about 48 hours. Isa, Thanks

  • February 10, 2014 at 10:49 pm: Bobbi

    Used a ridged griddle indoors under an exhaust fan Worked just fine.

  • May 19, 2014 at 10:29 pm: kaenhu

    Hoisin sauce is completely vegan.

    But alas, being Vietnamese I associate it completely with pho and not ramen so the grilled hoisin tofu part didn’t work so well for me. I’m doing this again because it was otherwise delish. Either omitting the tofu altogether or maybe omitting the hoisin sauce and using more sesame oil as one poster suggested or more soy sauce.

    Thanks so much for all the great Asian recipes. I get tired of doing the same stir fries over and over. :-)

  • July 25, 2015 at 6:51 pm: tim

    Hey Isa,
    Can you tell me please how many grams of protein per 100/g serving is there?

  • December 14, 2015 at 2:35 am: Kaenhu

    Just wanted to comment that you can buy fresh ramen noodles in Asian markets and some gourmet/speciality grocery stores. My speciality grocery store has it with the fresh pasta. I grew up with fresh ramen noodles so I am a bit of a ramen snob (sorry). I tried this recipe twice with packaged dried noodles, including the right kind at the Asian store and they just really cannot compare to fresh ones. I don’t make my own noodles but for sure you can get several different options for fresh noodles in the Asian market. This is a great recipe with fresh ramen. Thank you Isa.