I can’t even explain how much I miss going out to my favourite Thai, Chinese and Japanese restaurants. In fact I JUST MISS GOING OUT! A couple of weeks ago, we finally caved in and ordered takeout a couple of times so we could support our local restaurants and so I could have a break from cooking every single night.
Fear not. Staying home doesn’t mean you can’t create your own “better than takeout” recipes. This one was a perfect example and a HUGE hit. It has even made it onto the weekly roundup with a few minor tweaks here and there. This week, I made this ramen bowl with shrimp and next week I’m going to do a vegan version with tofu. If you are going vegan on this, make sure to do what I always do with the block of tofu. Press the heck out of it so it is as dry a bone. You want to get it as crispy as possible. Just cube the tofu, coat it in a bit of cornstarch, season with turmeric, salt and pepper (just like the shrimp you see here) and fry in oil to crisp. See? Now you’ve got your vegan game ON.
And speaking of pantry staples….was I even speaking of pantry staples? No, but I will now.
Let’s talk about the jar of peanut butter you have in the cupboard. Do you know how versatile, affordable, nutritious, and delicious it is? I mean, I always love to use peanut butter in baked goods or just to shmear on toast, but let’s think outside the jar for a second here.
I LOVE LOVE LOVE adding it to savoury dishes such as this ramen soup or in salad dressings. I promise you are going to thank me for this later.
This “meal in a bowl” is so good on it’s own, but kicking it up a notch with some added protein is the way I like to serve it. It’s thick, creamy and almost pasta-like. So satisfying and a great lunch or dinner meal anytime of the week.
Why did I love this so much? I think it was the dreamy, peanut coconut broth which was super easy to make. The blend of spices here also takes this dish to the next level. Oh wait. I’m also obsessed with the colour that turmeric adds to the shrimp. That rich golden hue is simply beautiful.
Quick tip here. Even though the soup only takes 20 minutes to prepare, let it simmer for longer to ensure that the flavours have a chance to intensify. The ramen noodles only take 5 minutes to cook, so add them in after the broth has a chance to simmer for a while. The last thing you want here is mushy noodles.
As for the vegetables, you can add in just about anything you have on hand. I happened to have frozen mixed asian veggies but you can used diced carrots, zucchini, broccoli – sky is the limit here.
Here’s something that may make you feel better about this whole ordeal we are currently going through. You can gussy up your ramen noodles without having to gussy up yourself. I ate these in my pajamas with my hair up in a bun and no makeup on. See how relaxing that sounds?
I’m looking at the bright side and know there will be one soon. Stay safe and strong.
- 16 black tiger shrimps
- salt and pepper
- sweet hungarian red pepper
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- 2 teaspoons coconut oil
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, finely grated
- 1 tablespoon red thai curry paste
- 4 cups organic vegetable broth
- 1 400ml can full fat coconut milk
- ⅓ cup smooth peanut butter peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons light soy sauce or tamari, I use this soy free sauce
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup, honey or agave
- juice from ½ a fresh lime
- ½ to 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes or to taste
- 2 packages ramen noodles (discard the seasoning package)
- 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil or avocado oil
- 350g or 12 oz mushrooms, sliced
- Vegan version optional - ust omit the shrimp and use 1 block of firm tofu, well drained and pressed
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari
- 2 cups mixed vegetables of choice (I used a frozen asian blend of veggies)
- toasted peanuts
- toasted sesame seeds
- Prepare the shrimp by seasoning it with kosher salt, pepper and a sprinkle of sweet hungarian red pepper and the turmeric paste.
- Peanut coconut broth
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Roast the garlic and ginger briefly while stirring, about 1-2 minutes. Then add the curry paste and sauté briefly. (At this point, you can also add other vegetables, sauté and then cook.)
- Pour in the coconut milk and broth and bring to a boil. Then stir in the peanut butter, soy sauce and maple syrup. Simmer the broth for about 10 minutes. Then add the ramen noodles and simmer for 5 minutes (or according to the packing instructions). (While the broth is cooking, prepare the tofu and the mushrooms.)
- For the Vegan Version you can make crispy tofu and mushrooms instead of the shrimp
- Drain the tofu, wrap in kitchen paper and squeeze. Then cut into cubes and optionally marinate with the turmeric and corn starch (then the tofu will be crispier).
- Heat the peanut oil in two pans (or in one large pan). In one pan, fry the tofu until crispy from all sides. In the other pan fry the mushrooms until golden brown. Then add the mushrooms to the tofu, glaze with the soy sauce and stir to combine until evenly coated and nicely browned.
- Serve your Thai peanut ramen with the crispy tofu and mushrooms. Sprinkle freshly chopped scallions, parsley, peanuts and sesame or any other toppings on top.