Tofu Tom Yum-my ramen

October 13th 2013

I’ve been watching the PBS series David Chang (chef/owner of Momofuku) did in 2012, and he had a really fun and non-pretentious view of instant ramen, yes that dried stuff with the salty silver packet of seasoning that you get 6 of for a $1. He described instant ramen as what “Mac and cheese” was for most kids was ramen at his house, he talked about eating it raw, cooked, etc. We followed David as he ate ramen at all the best spots in Japan (where he worked at ramen shops early in his career) and his overall appreciation for it in all forms. I ate a lot of it growing up, one of the first things I learned to cook was instant ramen, there always seemed if nothing else, a pack of ramen would be lying around. I also love Thai tom yum soup, and one of my friends requested a recipe for it. I actually have never made it, but after a fun trip to the Asian market by my house I got all the ingredients I needed and it was super easy to make. You of course don’t need to add the noodles, when I eat Tom Yum at restaurants it is usually served with some steamed rice, so of course if you want you can sub that or not….this again is a guideline to inspire your own individualized creations. All I can say is this was super tasty, easy, and as long as you can read and get to an Asian market, can be easily recreated at home!
You will need for 2-3 servings:
4 Cups water
1 Tbsp instant Tom yum paste, I got a Thai import that was amazing and only $1.69 for a jar that stays well in the refrigerator whenever you need it. Most pastes consist of shallots, lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, chilies, and dried shrimp paste, you can easily find the vegetarian version if you want to this to be vegan.
½ brick medium firm tofu, cut up into large bites
2 green onions, sliced, green part set aside
¼ Cup bamboo shoots, my market has fresh ones for $1.39 a lb you can of course use canned, or leave them out completely if you no likey.
A handful of canned straw mushrooms, I got unpeeled ones, they were super tasty!
A handful of canned baby corn, sliced
3 or 4 fresh shitake mushrooms, woody stems removed
Two packages ramen, discard seasoning or save it for a rainy day….or whatever.
A handful of cherry tomatoes cut in half, or use a regular tomato, the ripest and tastiest I could find were cherry
Cilantro, enoki mushrooms (optional) and lime to garnish
In a medium sauce pan boil your water, paste, shitake, white parts of onion, when boiling add tofu, add two bricks of ramen, cook 2 minutes or so. Distribute the noodles and goodies evenly between two or three bowls depending on how much you can snarf down in a sitting. Serve with cilantro maybe some enoki mushrooms (I love them, you can cook them a bit if you want or leave them out completely), and some lime wedges. Seriously SOOOOO TASTY! Be ready for a spicy good time, and of course you can adjust the amount of Tom Yum paste to suit your individual palate. Thanks Dave for reminding me of the awesomeness that is instant ramen and Courtney for the idea.