Brace yourselves. For deliciousness.
Oh my goodness. I don’t think I’ve been this excited to tell you about a recipe in a long time. Not to knock any of the other recipes I’ve shared recently, but this one has been making me weak in the knees ever since I tested it out a few weeks ago. It’s something special, for sure.
As we know, pumpkin season is here. With October in full swing, it’s time we all get on board, right? While I usually prefer butternut squash over pumpkin, I DO love pumpkin in savory dishes. In fact, I prefer savory pumpkin dishes over sweet almost all the time. Pumpkin pie, for instance, just doesn’t do it for me.
Savory pumpkin soups and pastas, though? They TOTALLY do it for me. And you may have noticed my obsession with ramen (see here, here, and here). I can’t get enough of the noodly coziness, especially now that the weather seems to have finally taken a turn toward fall. I’ll be ramen-ing it up all over the place this winter. I already know it.
Now, when I was developing this recipe, I knew pumpkin and ramen were both going to be involved. I wanted the broth to be spiced and savory and just a touch sweet, so I went in the direction of Vietnamese pho flavorings. The spices have a natural affinity for pumpkin anyway, so it just made sense. And pho might just be one of the most delicious versions of comfort food yet (if you haven’t tried it at home yet, see here and here for some inspiration. You will NOT be sorry).
To finish the long-simmering and deeply spiced and savory broth, I drizzled in some toasted sesame oil and a generous glug of the newly reformulated clean-label NAKANO® organic natural rice vinegar. Have you tried this vinegar yet? It’s great.
Not only does it add amazing flavor and pleasant acidity, but it is free of sodium and added sugar, all while being organic. In fact, the entire line of NAKANO® rice vinegars that carry the reformulated clean label have no more than six simple ingredients, with no artificial preservatives, flavors, or ingredients, all without high-fructose corn syrup.
The original NAKANO® rice vinegar that I used in this recipe also has no fat and is low in calories, making it a healthier swap for many of your favorite condiments. Splash it on in place of heavy sour cream or butter on family-favorite sides like baked potatoes for a tangy and delicious organic flavor boost.
I adore it and have been using it nonstop. For this particular recipe, the NAKANO® rice vinegar is used to season the broth, poach the eggs, AND as an optional serving garnish. I love when dishes that cook for a long time have a list-minute zing of acidic flavor or freshness added. Both the vinegar and a spritz of fresh lime juice do the trick for me here. The vinegar just “makes” it.
I love it so much, in fact, that I’ve partnered up with the people at NAKANO® to share the goodness with you all!
NAKANO® will give away a suite of the reformulated rice vinegars (check them all out here), as well as a copy of Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Dawn Jackson Blatner’s book “The Flexitarian Diet” FOR FREE. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this post by 5 PM EST on Friday, October 14, 2016. I’ll choose a winner at random!
Don’t miss out on this incredible product OR this amazing spiced pumpkin ramen recipe. They were made for one another!
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 medium onion, cut into chunks
⅓ cup fresh ginger, sliced
3 garlic cloves, smashed
1 tablespoon minced lemongrass (I use lemongrass paste – it’s in the produce section)
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
2 star anise
3 cinnamon sticks
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 Thai chile pepper, left whole (can sub with a serrano or jalapeño)
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 (15-oz) can pumpkin puree
1 (15-oz) can full-fat coconut milk
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon NAKANO® rice vinegar
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
Juice of 1 lime
1 small sugar pumpkin or butternut squash
Salt and pepper
The roasted pumpkin/squash
3 packages dried ramen noodles (discard the included seasoning packets)
Splash of NAKANO® rice vinegar
Scallions and fresh cilantro, chopped
Red onion, finely diced
Red pepper flakes or hot sauce
Toasted sesame seeds
Place a pot over medium heat and add the coconut oil. Once it’s melted, add the onion, ginger, garlic, lemongrass, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, star anise, cloves, and cinnamon sticks and sauté for 2 minutes.
Add the brown sugar and cardamom and stir to combine.
Add in the Thai chile pepper and broth and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes over low heat, stirring occasionally.
Place a strainer over a large bowl or second pot. Pour the broth through the strainer and discard the aromatics (onion, ginger, garlic, whole spices). Place the pot of broth back on the stove over medium heat.
Stir the pumpkin puree, coconut milk, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sesame oil into the broth, stirring well to combine. Simmer for 10 more minutes, taste, and adjust the seasoning as needed. Add the lime juice.
Keep warm until you are ready to serve. The broth can be made a few days ahead and stored in the fridge until you are ready for it. It also freezes really well.
While the broth is simmering, preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with foil.
Carefully cut the outer skin off of the pumpkin with a sharp knife. Cut out the stem and seeds as well (discard the seeds or roast them for other uses).
Dice the peeled pumpkin into bite-sized chunks and place on the baking sheet.
Drizzle the pumpkin with oil and season with a pinch each of salt and pepper. Toss to evenly coat. Roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until softened and caramelized in spots.
Bring a pot of water to a simmer. Add the ramen noodles and cook for a couple minutes or until tender. Remove from the water (do not discard the pot of water – we’re using it to poach the eggs next), rinse well under cool water, and set aside.
To the same pot of simmering water, add a splash of rice vinegar. Crack the eggs carefully into the simmering water, swirling the water around them gently with a slotted spoon to help them keep their shape. Poach the eggs to desired doneness (I usually do 3 minutes) and then remove from the water using the slotted spoon. Set the cooked eggs gently on a plate lined with paper towels to help drain off any excess water.
To assemble, divide the noodles and roasted pumpkin between serving bowls. Ladle over the hot broth and garnish each bowl with a poached egg, chopped herbs/scallions, red onion, sesame seeds, lime wedges, and red pepper flakes/hot sauce (to taste). Serve immediately.
[This post is brought to you by NAKANO®. Thank you all so much for reading and supporting the blog! You have no idea how much it means to me.]
UPDATE AS OF 10/14, 5 PM EST: THE CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED. THE WINNER HAS BEEN SELECTED AT RANDOM AND WILL BE NOTIFIED VIA EMAIL. Thanks everyone for your participation!