Meera Sodha’s vegan recipe for ram-don noodles from Parasite, with black garlic, leek and Tenderstem | Korean food and drink

Meera Sodha’s vegan recipe for ram-don noodles from Parasite, with black garlic, leek and Tenderstem | Korean food and drink

Meera Sodha’s vegan recipe for ram-don noodles from Parasite, with black garlic, leek and Tenderstem | Korean food and drink

Dinner and film night is my jam. It’s how we as a family end the working week on a Friday night, and it’s absolutely how I’m going to finish 2023. This year we’re going to rewatch Parasite, the Oscar-winning Korean film from which I’ve borrowed inspiration for today’s recipe. In the film, ram-don is a combination of two sets of Korean instant noodles, chapagetti and neoguri, part ramen and part udon. The end result tastes, much like my hope for the new year, sweet, spicy and exciting.

Ram-don with black garlic, leek and Tenderstem

You’ll need some black garlic paste, which is widely available in larger supermarkets. If you like, prep all the elements in advance – noodles, tofu, sauce, broccoli – and cook them together just before serving.

Prep 10 min
Cook 40 min
Serves 4

225g smoked tofu, drained
4 tbsp cornflour
15 dried shiitake mushrooms
(15g)
4 tsp dark brown sugar
4 tbsp light soy sauce
1½ tbsp black garlic paste
3 tbsp gochujang
2 tsp rice vinegar
Rapeseed oil
1 large leek
(200g), finely sliced into coins
¼ tsp fine salt
250g ramen noodles
300g Tenderstem
, trimmed and halved on an angle

Press the tofu with kitchen paper to remove any excess water, then cut into 2½cm cubes and put in a bowl. Add the cornflour, stir to coat, then set aside.

Put the mushrooms in a heatproof bowl, pour over 400ml just-boiled water and leave to soak.

To make the sauce, put the sugar, soy sauce, black garlic paste, gochujang and rice vinegar in a medium bowl, stir to combine and set aside.

Put two tablespoons of oil in a wide, nonstick frying pan on a medium heat. When the oil is really hot, add the sliced leek and cook without stirring for five minutes, so that some strands blacken and caramelise. Turn down the heat to medium-low, add a quarter-teaspoon of fine salt, cook for another five minutes, stirring occasionally, then transfer to a plate.

While the leeks are cooking, get on with the mushrooms and noodles. Scoop out the soaked mushrooms, squeezing them to get rid of any excess water, then pour the soaking liquid into the sauce bowl. Finely slice the rehydrated mushrooms and add them to the bowl, too.

Cook the noodles according to the packet instructions, moving them around with a fork or tongs to stop them sticking together. Drain, rinse under cold water until cooled, drizzle over a couple of tablespoons of oil and stir to coat.

Heat another tablespoon of oil in the leek pan, add the broccoli and a couple of tablespoons of water, pop on the lid and cook, stirring once halfway, for four minutes. Transfer to a second plate.

Put the pan on a high heat and add three more tablespoons of oil. Shake any excess cornflour off the tofu, put the cubes in the pan in a single layer (you might need to fry them in two batches), fry for about six minutes, turning every other minute, until golden, then transfer to a third plate (keep the pan on the heat).

Add the noodles to the hot pan, followed by the sauce, broccoli, tofu and half the leeks, toss (use a spaghetti fork or similar) until well mixed, then leave to heat through for a couple of minutes. Distribute between four plates or bowls, spoon some of the remaining leeks over each portion and serve.