Monday, September 7, 2015
Vegan Mofo: Make Something Inspired By a Film
Today, for Mofo, we're supposed to make something inspired by a book or film. And this was kind of a no-brainer for me since I make something inspired by one of my favorite films every single weekend. Ramen!!!! Inspired by the 2008 Brittany Murphy film The Ramen Girl.
I had this lovely bowl on Saturday morning, in my PJs while watching Lost (yes, I'm just now starting this series, and I'm only on season one, so no spoilers!). It's a ritual that I've been doing every weekend for years — sleep in, get up and feed the critters, make ramen, eat in PJs while watching one episode of an hour-long series. I've enjoyed ramen while watching Mad Men, The Walking Dead, Girls, Newsroom, Downton Abbey, Big Love, etc. And now I'm on Lost.
But back to that film inspiration. If you're not familiar with The Ramen Girl, here's the basic plot: Abby (played by Brittany Murphy, RIP) moves to Japan with her boyfriend because he's working there. But in the first few minutes of the film, they break up. And then she's all alone in a strange country where she doesn't speak the language. So she happens upon a ramen shop, and she comes in and eats noodles. And they make her feel better. Before you know it, she's learning the art of ramen from the chef Maezumi, Karate Kid-style.
Sure, it's a little cheesy. But if you love ramen as much as I do, it's really great to see it glorified in the film. Ramen is essentially treated as a fine art and, perhaps, the key to happiness in this movie. And I believe those things are very true. Nothing makes me feel better than a bowl of noodles.
There's a lot of talk in the film about making a perfect broth. But I'm not that picky. For my homemade ramen, I usually use the flavor packets that come with the soup, but I add a few extras, like garlic powder, sesame oil, or ponzu. Sometimes, I buy the authentic noodle packs from the Vietnamese grocery store. Most of the ones at my local market are made with artificial meat flavors, so they're vegan. Like these artificial chicken and ginger noodles.
But they're still loaded with MSG, which I'm fine with, but sometimes I like to eat healthier. My faves are Koyo (baked ramen) and Lotus Foods (gluten-free ramen).
I don't have a recipe to share, just a basic formula. So here ya go.
Bianca's Guide to Making Ramen
1 package vegan ramen
1/4 package firm tofu
1/2 cup frozen veggies (my faves are corn, peas, carrots, and green beans)
Soy sauce, tamari, or ponzu
Sriracha or Yellowbird sauce (I put Yellowbird Habanero in mine!)
Sesame oil or chili oil
Put about 2 cups of water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cut the tofu into bite-sized cubes, and saute in a skillet with non-stick cooking spray and some spices (I love garlic powder!). Saute until browned.
Add the frozen veggies to the boiling water in the saucepan. Allow it to come back to a boil. Add the noodles and boil according to package directions. Turn off heat and add in the tofu and ramen seasoning packet.
Stir in any extra spices — garlic powder, soy sauce, hot sauce, black pepper, sesame or chili oil. And serve with chopsticks and a wide soup spoon! Eat in PJs while watching TV.