RAMEN WITH PINK EGGS
I haven’t met a child who doesn’t like noodles and the beauty of ramen is its versatility, so as long the noodles and broth are at the heart of the dish, you can select your own favourite veg, toppings and other additions. This version is based on what goes down well in my house – the pink eggs are fun and add a protein element to the noodle bowl, as does the smoked tofu.
Preparation time: 10 minutes, plus standing and infusing
Cooking time: 20 minutes
1.25l/44floz/5 cups vegetable stock
8cm/31/4in piece fresh root ginger, cut into 4 pieces and flattened with the side of a knife
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tbsp reduced-salt soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp 5-spice powder
2 star anise
1 heaped tbsp dried wakame seaweed or nori flakes, or you could use 2 handfuls of shredded spinach or other greens
325g/11/12oz brown rice spaghetti or wholewheat noodles
2 carrots, cut into long, thin strips
3 spring onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
1 red pepper, deseeded and cut into long, thin strips
200g/7oz smoked tofu, cubed
1 tbsp black or white sesame seeds, to serve
4 large eggs
2 large cooked beetroot
2 tsp reduced-salt soy sauce
To make the pink eggs, hard-boil the eggs for 5 minutes or until the white is set but the yolk is still runny, then drain and refresh under cold running water to stop the eggs cooking any further.
Meanwhile, use a hand-held blender to blitz the beetroot to a purée. Spoon the beetroot into a bowl that is large enough to hold the eggs and stir in the soy sauce. Peel the eggs and immerse them in the beetroot mixture. Leave for at least 1 hour until the outside of the eggs are stained pink, or leave, covered, in the fridge until ready to eat.
Pour the vegetable stock into a large saucepan and add the ginger, garlic, soy sauce, 5-spice and star anise. Stir well, bring up to boiling point and turn off the heat and leave the broth to infuse for at least 1 hour. This stage is not essential but it certainly adds to the flavour of the broth.
If using the wakame, soak it in cold water for 5 minutes until softened then drained. (The nori flakes do not need pre-soaking.)
To reheat the broth, bring it almost to the boil then turn the heat down and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the ginger and star anise from the broth and discard.
Cook the noodles in a separate pan following the instructions on the pack.
Divide the noodles between four large serving bowls. Drain the wakame and add to the bowl with the carrots, white part of the spring onions, red pepper and tofu then pour the broth over. Remove the eggs from the beetroot mixture (you can save it for the Big Veg Chilli on page xx). Halve the pink-stained eggs and place on top and serve sprinkled with the green part of the spring onions and sesame seeds.
Hero food: Carrots
There’s some truth in the belief that carrots can benefit eyesight, since they protect against sight issues caused by vitamin A deficiency.