As Meera Sodha writes in her new cookbook, “East: 120 Vegetarian and Vegan Recipes from Bangalore to Beijing” (Flatiron Books, $35), this recipe for Caramelized Onion and Chile Ramen evolved from an unlikely place: a French onion soup Sodha tasted in a cafe in Paris.
In her recipe, sticky sweet onions combine with miso, stock and sake to make a flavorful and comforting soup. Cooking sake can be found in most supermarkets and online, but you can substitute Chinese rice wine or dry sherry. Can’t find choy sum? We think bok choy would work just fine.
Caramelized Onion and Chile Ramen
1 large onion, finely sliced
3 cloves garlic, finely sliced
½ teaspoon salt
1 bird’s-eye chile, finely sliced
6½ cups vegetable stock
2 tablespoons cooking sake
1½ tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon brown rice miso
7 ounces ramen noodles
½ pound choy sum, cut into 2½-inch pieces
4 soft-boiled eggs, optional
Chile oil, to serve, optional
In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, warm 5 tablespoons of oil over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic and salt, stir to coat in oil, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until the onions become translucent. Reduce the heat to its lowest setting and continue to cook for 30 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. The onions will gradually caramelize and color, eventually breaking down to form a soft, sweet paste.
Add the bird’s-eye chile and stock, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and add the sake, soy sauce and brown rice miso, stirring well to combine. Check the seasoning and adjust if need be.
Cook your noodles according to the package instructions. Refresh in cold water and stir in a little oil to keep them from sticking together.
Finally, bring the broth back to a boil, add the choy sum and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until tender. To serve, divide your noodles between four bowls and ladle the broth and greens over the noodles. If you’re serving the eggs, peel them, halve them and pop on top of the bowls, and serve with some chile oil if you like.
— From Meera Sodha’s “East” (Flatiron Books, $35)
Contributed by local news sources