Umami Bomb: Vegetable based ramen tare

This recipe is based on a few ideas I had floating around my head and inadvertently may have created the best tare I have made yet. It is so rich and packed with intense flavor, even as it cooked the smells were making me salivate.

It all started with some recipes I read about demi-glace sauce. I was trying to find inspiration in other cuisines that could be transplanted into ramen. I opened up Google and started searching for soup bases, mirepoix, sofrito types recipes from other cultures. That's when I happened upon this great Chefsteps recipe. I though that perhaps this fused with some more traditional Japanese ingredients could make and interesting Umami rich tare for my ramen broths and I think i may be on to something really great, although probably non-traditional when it comes to ramen.

Demi-glace (English: "half glaze") is a rich brown sauce in French cuisine used by itself or as a base for other sauces.

There are not too many good recipes floating around for tare, mostly due to the fact that this is usually the ramen chefs secret sauce, so we don't really know what goes into it, except for some common ingredients like kombu, shiitake, and various types of dried fish. So why not an all vegetable based tare ?

Well here is what I came up with and I am blown away by the results !

Ingredients

400 g Aubergine

400 g Cauliflower

60 g Shiitake mushroom

50 g Celery

150 g Carrots

100 g Beets

200 g Celery root

100 g Broccoli

125 g Onions

60 g Garlic

20 g Tomato paste

100 g Olive oil

2.5 l Water

100 ml Mirin

100 ml Sake

50 g Sugar

50 g Salt

50 g MSG

10 g Kombu, optional

Directions

This is a very simple recipe that doesn't take long to prepare, but requires a few hours in the oven to slowly roast the vegetables and dry them out.

This recipe should yield about 700 ml of tare.

You are going to need a large roasting pan and a mandoline to slice all the vegetables evenly. Slicing them evenly is very important as it allows them all to cook evenly and not end up with some burned bits and some under cooked bits.

I think about 45 ml of this to 300 ml of broth or stock should do the job, but I advise you to experiment yourself to see how salty you like your ramen soup. This is a work in progress, I'm going to play around with the salt content in future batches. This is by far my favorite tare that I have made to date. It packs one hell of punch and adds some complex flavors to the my broth.

Equipment:

  • Large roasting pan (1.5" deep)
  • Strainer
  • Mandoline

Steps:

  1. Preheat your oven to 150 Celsius.
  2. Slice all the vegetables with the mandoline and place in the roasting pan.
  3. Add the olive oil and mix it into the vegetables well. This will stop them sticking to the pan.
  4. Add the tomato paste and mix it in well with everything else. Try to cover all the vegetables with some.
  5. Place the roasting pan in the middle of the oven and roast for 3 hours. Make sure to mix the vegetables every 20 mins to make sure they all roast evenly and don't stick and burn to the bottom and edges of the pan. Roast until they have dried out and almost on the edge of starting to burn. The aim is not to char the vegetables but to roast them right up to where they look like they are about to reach this point
  6. Take the vegetables out of the oven and pour in the 2.5 l of water. The water should turn a nice gravy brown color.
  7. Place back in the oven at the same temperature and roast for a further 45 mins.
  8. Get a large bowl and place a strainer over it. Pour out the liquid and solids into the strainer and press down on the solids with a wooden spoon to squeeze out all their goodness and water they soaked up. You may have to do this in batches.
  9. Pour this culinary liquid gold into a pot and reduce until you have about 500 ml.
  10. Add the sake, boil off the alcohol for a minute and add the remaining ingredients; salt, sugar, MSG and mirin.
  11. Simmer for another 10 mins and the solids have dissolved.

The final result

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