The following is one of those recipes that encapsulate comfort within a bowl.Thick udon noodles get paired with a fragrant broth, and then everything is topped with my Thai-spiced twist on vegan karaage-style fried chicken.
Dried kombu [an edible form of seaweed popular in East Asia] gets used here to make a savoury infusion known as 'Dashi'. A staple part of Japanese cuisine, dashi is traditionally made by soaking umami-packed ingredients such as 'Katsuobushi' (dried bonito flakes), 'Niboshi' (dried anchovies/sardines), or dried shiitake mushrooms. For day-to-day vegan dashi, we can use kombu to replicate those seafood flavours typical in Japanese and Southeast Asian cooking.
This recipe was written for us by @anotherplantbased boy.
Aromatic Base Serves: 2
- 10g Dried Kombu
- 1 litre Filtered Water
Thai Fried Chick'n
- Begin this recipe by making your kombu dashi. Combine the dried kombu and filtered water in an airtight container, and leave the mix in the fridge overnight.
- The next day, bring the kombu and soaking liquid to a 60°c simmer; hold this temperature for 1 hour. Discard the kombu and strain your remaining dashi through a fine sieve.
- For the lime sprinkle. Using a spice/coffee grinder, blitz your dried lime until roughly flaked. Add the gochugaru, sea salt and MSG. Continue to grind the mix until you achieve a coarse powder. Store in a sealed container for up to 1 month and use as a seasoning salt.
Make Your Broth
- Begin your broth by peeling the garlic, ginger and shallots. Add all the ingredients for the aromatic base into a food processor. Blend until smooth, stirring with a spoon to check for lumps. Add a splash of water if required to achieve a smooth paste.
- Add the paste into a cold saucepan, and place over medium heat. Fry off the mix until fragrant.
- Slowly add the coconut milk, ensuring any large lumps have melted into the broth. Follow this with 400ml of the strained dashi, and stir until everything has combined.
- Turn the heat to medium-low, and allow the broth to simmer away whilst you prep the remaining elements.
Make Your Toppings
- For the fried 'chick'n'. In a bowl, combine the flour and spices; mix well. Add the vegan chicken, tossing until evenly coated.
- At this point, begin cooking the beansprouts and noodles. As we are using dried udon, a longer cook time is required. For the noodles, fill a large saucepan with water and bring it to a boil.
- Once boiling, quickly blanch your beansprouts for approximately 30 seconds before removing them and placing them into an ice bath to remain firm.
- Add your noodles to the boiling water, and cook according to the packet instructions. At this point, try your broth, and adjust the seasoning to taste.
- Meanwhile, to fry the chick'n, fill a high-sided saucepan with an inch of oil. Bring the oil to a heat of approximately 180°c; you can test if it is hot enough by checking for air bubbles when placing a wooden utensil into the oil.
- Fry the chick'n pieces for approximately 4-5 minutes, flipping halfway through. Once cooked, remove with a set of tongs and place in a bowl lined with kitchen paper. Season the chick'n to taste with the lime sprinkle.
- To serve, drain your noodles well and divide them between 2 deep bowls. Remove your broth from the heat and pour it across both servings.
- Cube your tofu, and add it along with the chick'n. Drain the beansprouts, placing them on the side of the bowls.
- Lastly, garnish each with sliced radishes, spring onion and a pinch of lime sprinkle.