Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Ramen Noodles with Vegetables, Tofu and Spicy Fermented Black Bean Sauce

     Hot Spicy Vegetarian Gourmet Ramen Noodles!
     Everybody has their own favorite way of dressing up ramen noodles.  Ramen noodle house restaurants in Chinatown, Las Vegas, have taken gourmet ramen noodle entrées to a higher level.  Some of the Vegas ramen noodle house chefs serve traditional ramen bowls, while others create new recipes with trendy food items or international classic food preparations.
     Many home kitchen cooks create gourmet ramen bowls too.  A plain bowl of snack ramen noodles made with a package of dehydrated bouillon can be the start of something nice.  All it takes is a little imagination to turn a package of snack ramen into a complete meal.      
     Fermented Black Bean Sauce is popular sauce in Chinese American restaurants.  Adapting this sauce to a vegetarian style ramen noodle recipe is easy to do.  Adding a little bit of hot chile pepper adds a spicy kick!
     Ramen Noodles with Vegetables, Tofu and Spicy Fermented Black Bean Sauce:
     This recipe yields 1 entrée.
     Jars of Fermented Black Bean Paste are available in Asian food markets and some grocery stores.  Some of these products can be salty.  It is best to taste the black bean paste to check for saltiness, before deciding to add extra salt to a recipe.   
     Step 1:  Boil 1 portion of ramen noodles in a pot of water over high heat.
     After the noodles become tender, drain the water off of the noodles.
     Step 2:  Place the noodles in a container of ice water.
     Swirl the noodles in the cold water till they gain a chewy texture.
     Drain the water off of the noodles and set them aside.
     Step 3:  Heat a sauté pan or mini wok over medium/medium high heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
     Add 1 clove of minced garlic.
     Add 1 teaspoon of minced ginger.
     Briefly sauté till the garlic and ginger are aromatic.
     Step 4:  Add 1/2 cup of mixed green bell pepper and red bell pepper that are cut into small bite size pieces.
     Add 1/3 cup of thin sliced cabbage.
     Add 1/4 cup of chopped onion.
     Sauté till the vegetables are halfway cooked.
     Step 5:  Add 1 cup of vegetable broth.
     Add 1/4 cup of frozen peas.
     Add 1 tablespoon of fermented black bean paste.
     Add 1 tablespoon of Korean style Red Serrano Chili Pepper Paste.  (Sambal)
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of sesame oil.
     Add 1 pinch of white pepper.
     *Taste before adding salt.  Fermented black bean paste is usually very salty!   
     Stir the ingredients together.
     Bring the thin sauce to a boil.
     Step 6:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Add 5 ounces of firm tofu that is cut into 1/2" cube shapes.
     Add the prepared ramen noodles.
     Toss the ingredients together.
     Simmer for a few seconds, till the noodles and tofu become warm.
     *The excess liquid should be evaporated by now and the thin sauce should cling to the noodles.  
     Step 8:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Mound the Ramen Noodles with Vegetables, Tofu and Spicy Fermented Black Bean Sauce a plate.
     No garnish is necessary!
     This is a healthy vegetarian gourmet ramen entrée that tastes great!

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