With vegetables, sometimes simple is better. In the case of the broccoli dish at Ramen Hood, the vegan ramen stall at Grand Central Market in downtown Los Angeles, simple means frying broccoli florets, dousing them with a pungent sauce and putting them in a bowl — then watching as the dish sells out, again and again, even if you change your restaurant. Let us backtrack. When chef Ilan Hall’s restaurant the Gorbals was still open, in the nearby Alexandria Hotel, he was looking for a vegetable dish that was “outside the box,” as Hall put it the other day. So he’d been grilling broccoli stems, kind of like shaved asparagus, and had all these extra florets. One day he threw them in the fryer. Then he made a sauce of malt vinegar, soy sauce, sugar and chile flakes, which he spooned over the results, with some scallions. Ta-da.
Note: Adapted from a recipe by Ramen Hood in Los Angeles.
1/2 cup malt vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon chile flakes, more to taste
In a small saucepan, combine the vinegar, soy sauce, sugar and chile flakes and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring once or twice. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. This makes about 3/4 cup sauce, more than is needed for the remainder of the recipe; the sauce will keep for up to 2 weeks, refrigerated.