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Spicy Ramen with Tofu and Sesame

Nick Knowles
  • Serves: 4
  • Preparation: 25
  • Cooking: 50
  • Ready: 75

Suck your noodles up spaghetti-style and have a noisy, fun and tasty meal!


  • 4 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 6 spring onions, sliced
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 2 fat garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons white miso paste
  • 1 litre veg stock
  • 2 star anise
  • 3 tablespoons light soy sauce, plus extra to serve (optional)
  • 160 g soba noodles
  • 100 g baby spinach
  • 1 tablespoon chilli oil
  • 200 g smoked tofu, cut into thick slices
  • 1½ tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 100 g beansprouts
  • 1 tablespoon dulse seaweed (optional)


Heat 3 tablespoons of the sesame oil in a deep saucepan over a medium heat. Add half the spring onions, the ginger, garlic and half the chilli. Fry gently for 5–7 minutes before stirring through the miso paste. Stir to combine and pour in the stock and star anise. Bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 20–25 minutes until all the flavours have combined well. Stir through the soy sauce.

Meanwhile, bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Add the noodles and gently boil for 4–5 minutes, before quickly straining and running under cold water to stop the cooking process. Drizzle with the remaining sesame oil and set aside. Place the spinach in a small pan over a medium heat along with 1 teaspoon of water, then cover and cook for 3 minutes or until wilted.

Heat the chilli oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the tofu slices and fry on either side for 3 minutes or until golden brown and lightly crisp. Set aside on kitchen paper and sprinkle with the sesame seeds.

Ladle the broth into 2 deep bowls, fill with a generous nest of noodles and a handful of beansprouts, then top with the remaining chilli, tofu, spinach and remaining spring onion. Sprinkle over the seaweed, if you wish, if not, pour over an extra glug of salty soy sauce.

Additonal notes

Recipe courtesy of BBC Books

Taken from Proper Healthy Food: Hearty Vegan and Vegetarian Recipes for Meat Lovers by Nick Knowles, published by BBC Books

“So the Chinese and Japanese have been arguing for some time over who invented ramen. It probably originated in Mongolia. Either way, I’ve been in noodle houses in Japan where it’s good manners to suck your noodles up spaghetti-style, making as much noise as possible. Tell the family this and have a noisy, fun and tasty meal.”

Twitter: @MrNickKnowles

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