Nourishing Ramen / by lee tilghman

I woke up with a headcold last week and it took me out for 2 days straight. I had the chills, fever, aches and was incredibly fatigued.  As you can imagine, to heal myself of the sickness, I paid really close attention to what I was putting into my body. I downed lots of fluids - water, apple cider vinegar, homemade Juice from my friend Becca- but what I really wanted was some homemade soup.

This is what I look like when I'm sick and friends bring me fresh pressed juices in mason jars to drink in bed. Oh, Los Angeles life. 

This is what I look like when I'm sick and friends bring me fresh pressed juices in mason jars to drink in bed. Oh, Los Angeles life. 

It's not a mystery why we crave soup while we are sick. The warming broth of soup nourishes us from the inside out. Liquids help flush out our organs and help replenish cells when we are working hard to fight an illness off.

There's a place down the street from me called Silver Lake Ramen. I've yet to go, but I hear it's incredible. I wasn't up for standing in line for a bowl of ramen, and I love a good challenge- so I made a ramen noodle soup of my own with some of my purchases from the farmer's market. And, it was out of this world. This is quite possibly one of the best dishes I've created in my recent memory! I think the roasted fennel makes it. Roasting fennel slightly caramelizes it and darkens its normally bright and licorice flavor. I also know that adding caramelized onions sautéed in garlic will make any dish stand out. That is something my father taught me. He taught me how to sauté an onion before he sent me off to college. Thank you, dad!

This goodness can easily become vegan if you forego the egg. It's also gluten free because I use rice noodles, which you can find at almost any grocer these days! Rice noodles have become a favorite of mine - they are SO good in soups and cold salads as well! Peanut butter noodles anyone?

Ingredients:

  • 1 qt. vegetable broth of your choice (I used a specialty fermented vegetable miso broth I found at Dave's Gourmet Korean Foods, a vendor available at most Los Angeles farmer's markets)
  • 2 cups glass noodles
  • 1 head fennel, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 leaves swiss chard, chopped into thin leaves
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 1 cup moringa leaves (I understand that moringa is hard to find. If you don't have moringa, feel free to use any green that you can access- broccoli, spinach, kale)
  • coconut oil
  • salt and pepper
  • nutritional yeast

Garnish:

  • 1 green onion, minced
  • 1/4 cup red pepper, chopped
  • 1 soft boiled egg
  • 1/4 avocado, sliced
  • red chili pepper flakes
  • sesame seeds

Steps:

  1. Start by preheating the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Place fennel, garlic, and nutritional yeast, in a large bowl. Pour 1 T coconut oil over them and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Place on a tray or glass pan and let bake in the oven for 35-45 mintues or until tender with a fork. Watch closely! Oven times vary.
  3. Over medium low heat, put 1 T coconut oil on a saucepan. Add your onion. Let cook for a few minutes, then add 1 of the minced cloves of garlic. Add 1/4 cup filtered water. Cover your onions and let cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Set aside.
  4. Over medium low heat, put 1 T coconut oil on a saucepan. Add your chard. Let cook for 1 minute, then add garlic. Cook for an additional 3 minutes. Set aside.
  5. Bring a pot of water to boil. Cook glass noodles 4 minutes or until al dente. Drain and let sit aside.
  6. In a large soup pot, place broth into pot over low heat. TIP: If you want, add some filtered water to the broth to give yourself more stock to work with. Many times broth is pretty concentrated and you can water it down. Just be sure to use filtered water!
  7. Add the roasted fennel, sautéed onions, chard and moringa to your stock. Transfer some soup to a large bowl for eating. 
  8. To soft boil an egg, place your egg in a pot with 1" covered water.  Set the stove to high heat, until the water comes to a boil. Watch carefully! Once water comes to a boil, let boil for 3 minutes tops. Turn off the water and place your egg in a bowl full of ice water so it stops cooking. Peel your egg and cut in half. 
  9. Add your green onions, egg, pepper, chili flakes, avocado, and sesame seeds.
  10. Slurp and enjoy!