Recipe — Not Quite Instant Ramen by Ro Panuganti
Here’s a recipe that’s a very unfaithful, un-Japanese, but ultimately delicious way to get you Ramen fast without sacrificing some creativity and flavor. For the particular arrangement I made today:
- Ramen Noodles — You can get a box of these from any Asian Market/Grocer, and generally a fistful will be a portion. Very inexpensive!
- Chicken/Seafood/Dashi Stock — I created my own chicken stock by boiling leftover chicken bones, vegetable scraps, garlic cloves, and rosemary with 4–8 cups of water
- Miso Paste
- 1 Garlic Clove, grated
- 1 Ginger Root (a small portion grated)
- Soy Sauce
- Mirin (A sweet Japanese sake available most grocers)
- Optional Meats: Bacon, Cha-su Pork, Chicken, etc… I use regular bacon!
- Optional Vegetables: Button Mushrooms, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Green Onions, Corn, Spinach, Daikon, etc
- Optional Toppings: Sesame Seeds/Oil, Seaweed
Prepare the Soup:
Bring 1 cup of your stock of choice to a boil with an additional cup to create 1 portion. Alternatively, you can mix about 1.5 cups of water with a tablespoon of miso paste to create a delicious miso broth. Leave this simmering! I would highly recommend making your own stock naturally, especially if cooking something like Cha-Su Pork with its appropriate broth, as it tastes just insanely better than the store-bought boxed stocks.
Prepare the meats:
For this meal, I sliced bacon into 1.5 inch strips and placed it on pan. Keep the heat around low-medium for a good 5 minutes until the fat starts to render. When you have a nice amount of fat cooking, you can add the grated garlic and ginger, adding a nice flavor to the mix. Add vegetables in, especially those that take time to cook like mushrooms, etc… For fresher vegetables like chili peppers, green onions, etc, you can add those at the very end. For the spinach, I chose to foolishly cook them quickly in the same pan, but I’m open to other means to cook your greens! Just remember to include some before you chow down of course.
One popular staple of many ramen bowls is the boiled eggs, bathed in a rich dark sauce. You can and should make this the night before to maximize how much sauce embeds into your eggs! Boil a number of eggs in water for about 6–8 minutes, then immediately remove them with a slotted spoon and drop them into an ice bath (a bowl of cold ice water). This will keep them from cooking further and preserve their delicious yolky goodness. Peel the shells off very carefully and drop them into a bowl or plastic bag. Pour a good helping of soy sauce and mirin, a sweet Japanese sake that provides insanely good flavor (I’m concerned you can actually just drink this). Once coated, the eggs will have that signature bold brown color on the outside, and when you slice them for presenting your Ramen they should sit beautifully unlike mine above!
Cook those noodles:
Assemble your fistful of noodles in your bowl, and boil your water — generally I just use a smaller pot since these noodles cook very fast. When water is boiling, cook for 2–3 minutes until al dente (the noodle should have just a bit of chew to it). Remove them, strain very firmly and do the Ramen-ya shake. Place in your serving bowl, and add a drop of sesame oil to prevent them from sticking.
Assemble your ramen by pouring the soup next, and add your fixings! Meats, vegetables, toppings, even a nice seaweed sheet on the side. By no means is this restaurant level ramen, but as you improve each aspect you’ll have a more and more delicious bowl for far less than those chic new stalls opening downtown.