I first attempted this recipe with non-spicy bean paste first. This time, I used spicy bean paste. When you’re making a recipe, even one ingredient change can make a huge difference. That was certainly the case with this change. It tasted much, much different–and not just in terms of heat.
For this spicy vegetarian ramen broth, here is the spicy bean paste I used (per the author’s suggestion).
Spoiler: I personally do not suggest this spicy bean paste. More on that in a bit… for now just scope that menagerie of ingredients. Compare to the plain bean paste that only contained “soybean, salt and sodium benzoate as a preservative”.
In addition to heat, the bean paste (chili bean sauce) adds vibrancy to the color of the resulting broth. Pools of spicy oil surface and give the broth an orange hue, especially when left to sit for a minute or two.
Here’s the broth all prettied up in a full ramen bowl.
What’s the verdict? Well…
While I loved the spiciness the chili bean paste added, it added a lot of other flavors that affected the overall ramen flavor (negatively). The primary culprit: sugar.
The sugar in this chili bean paste compared to the plain bean paste pushed an already sweet broth even further towards the sweet spectrum. It was veeeery sweet. While I enjoyed the initial recipe with the plain bean paste, I would not recommend making this recipe with the recommended chili bean paste.
If you want to make this recipe spicy, I highly suggest using a spicy bean paste without sugar. Or perhaps use the plain bean paste (also without sugar…) and add heat another way. Not to sound like a broken record, but whatever you do… steer clear of sugar!
- 3 cups water
- 4 1"x2" pieces of kombu
- 4 dried shiitake mushrooms
- 4 Tbsp sesame seeds
- 8 cloves garlic
- 2" ginger
- 4 green onions, sliced (white parts only)
- 8 tsp sesame oil
- 8 tsp spicy bean paste
- 8 tsp miso
- 4 Tbsp. sake
- 4 cups unsweetened soy milk
- 2 cups dashi
- 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
- Hefty dash of white pepper