Recipe: Top Tomato Ramen
For the tofu and mushrooms
2 ounces firm tofu, drained and cut into four equal pieces
¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce
¼ cup unseasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 ½ sheets nori (a sheet measures 7½ by 8 inches)
¼ cup water
4 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, cleaned and cut into ¼-inch-wide slices
For the broth and noodles
2 to 2½ cups water
2 pounds (about 6 medium) ripe red tomatoes, hulled
2½ tablespoons white miso
1½ tablespoons gochujang (fermented Korean chili paste; available at Asian markets)
¼ teaspoon sugar
Dried ramen noodles from two 3-ounce packages (do not use the flavor packets)
2 red radishes, sliced thinly, preferably using a mandoline
A few drops toasted sesame oil, for garnish
1. For the tofu and mushrooms: Place the tofu in a small bowl. Combine the soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, ½ sheet of nori (torn into a few pieces) and the water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved, then pour half of the mixture over the tofu, which will marinate while you’re making the rest of the dish.
2. Immediately add the mushrooms to the remaining soy sauce mixture in the saucepan; once the mixture returns to a boil, reduce the heat to low and cook for a few minutes. Remove from the heat; the mushrooms will pickle while you make the broth and cook the noodles.
3. During this period, turn the tofu over a few times so all sides can absorb the soy sauce mixture in the bowl.
4. For the broth and noodles: Heat ½ cup of the water in a large skillet or saucepan over medium heat. Arrange the tomatoes top side down in the skillet. Cover with a tightfitting lid and cook for 15 minutes, so the tomatoes soften, using tongs to turn them over halfway through.
5. Working in batches, transfer the tomatoes and the water in the skillet to a food mill placed inside a large mixing bowl. Process to yield 4 to 4½ cups of liquid. Pour enough of the remaining water through the food mill (extracting more tomato flavor) to yield a total of six cups of broth. Discard the solids from the food mill.
6. Transfer the broth to a large saucepan. Stir in the white miso, gochujang and sugar; bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook while you assemble the noodle bowls.
7. Prepare the noodles according to the package directions (without the flavor packets), making sure the noodles are a bit on the firm side. Drain, and rinse with cool water. Fill the same noodle pot with a few inches of water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
8. Meanwhile, place a piece of the pickled tofu in each individual bowl, discarding any remaining marinade. Add equal portions of radish slices, then pour equal amounts of broth in each bowl.
9. Use tongs to briefly dip the cooked ramen noodles into the boiling water to warm them up, then divide them among the bowls of broth, arranging them on one side of each bowl.
10. Strain the pickled mushrooms and arrange them on the opposite side of each bowl, discarding the nori and reserving the strained marinade. Add a drop or two of sesame oil to each bowl, stirring it in.
11. Fold the remaining nori sheet in half. Use scissors to cut it into thin strips, then divide them evenly among the bowls.
12. Serve hot, with the reserved strained marinade on the side.
Adapted by The Washington Post from a recipe by Sandhya Babu