A super warm and comforting soup, kissed with fragrant spices and loaded with caramelized onions.
for the seitan (can be made the day before)
- 1 cup vital wheat gluten
- 1 TB dried shiitake mushroom (place 1 large or two small dried shiitakes in grinder and grind into fine powder)
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 cup cold broth
- 1 TB toasted sesame oil
- 6 cups vegetable broth
- 2 TB soy sauce
for the caramelized onions
- 6–10 TB vegan butter, plus more as needed
- 5 lb onions (8–10 big onions) sliced on a mandoline slicer
for the broth
- 2 TB vegetable oil or refined coconut oil
- 6 scallions, sliced, white and green parts separated
- 1/3 cup smashed and chopped garlic cloves
- 1 TB grated ginger
- 6 star anise pods
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 8 whole cloves
- 2 tsp coriander seeds
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 12 cups vegetable broth
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2 TB rice vinegar
- dried ramen noodle packets, 1 per serving
- reserved green onions
- sesame seeds
to prepare the seitan
- In a large prep bowl, combine the vital wheat gluten with the shiitake, onion and garlic powders.
- Whisk the cold broth and toasted sesame oil together in a measuring cup. Add to the prep bowl and combine with a spatula until the dough comes together.
- Place the dough onto a work surface and knead for a few minutes. Shape as best you can into a log shape, about 4 inches long.
- Place the 6 cups of broth and soy sauce into a large Dutch oven and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
- Cut the seitan log in half and in half again to make 4 pieces. Drop the pieces into the broth. Partially cover the pot. Make sure the broth stays at a simmer, but not a boil—otherwise, your seitan will get spongy.
- Simmer for about an hour, turning the pieces every 15 minutes or so.
- Turn off the heat and let everything cool on the stovetop. This allows a firmer texture to develop.
- Once completely cooled, transfer the seitan to a cutting board and slice into thin pieces.
- Reserve the broth to store the seitan in if not using right away.
to prepare the caramelized onions
- In a large or extra large Dutch oven, melt the vegan butter over medium heat. Once it starts to sizzle, add the onions. You may need to do this in batches depending on the size of your Dutch oven. Don’t add in so many you can’t stir them. Just let them soften and collapse a little, adding a few pinches of salt and more vegan butter if needed, then add more onions until you can comfortably stir them.
- Let them develop some color (don’t touch or stir too much) over medium-low heat. Once you see some golden color, stir just enough to turn, to promote even cooking. Then you’ll need to babysit them, turning every now and then, for about an hour to caramelize and get a little jammy.
to prepare the broth
- In a large Dutch oven, melt the vegetable or coconut oil over medium heat. Add in the white scallion parts, garlic and ginger and stir, taking care not to let the garlic burn. Add more oil or reduce the heat as needed.
- Add the star anise, cinnamon, cloves and coriander and stir for about a minute.
- Add in the wine to deglaze the pan, scraping up any browned bits with a spatula. Allow the wine to completely evaporate. Add in the vegetable broth and soy sauce. Simmer for 20 minutes.
- Strain the broth to get rid of the cinnamon sticks, anise pods, cloves and coriander seeds. Return the broth back to the pot.
- Add the caramelized onions to the pot and allow to simmer for 30-45 minutes. Add in the soy sauce and rice vinegar if needed.
- Add some oil or vegan butter to a large cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Sear the seitan pieces until golden on both sides, then set aside.
- Prepare dried ramen noodles according to package instructions. Divide into bowls.
- Place browned seitan over noodles, and ladle broth into bowls. Top with the scallions and sesame seeds. Serve immediately.
The broth freezes well and any leftover seitan can be tossed into sandwiches or stir-frys.