I wanted something a little different for lunch today. I haven’t gone shopping in a little over a week — this is how I deal with the current health crisis. Decided that 5 scallions, some garlic, 2 eggs, soy, and some ramen would work. I was tempted to add some peanut butter or tahini but decided against it. I was craving ramen with egg specifically.
Did some searching for ideas on the Internet today. I was feeling pretty lazy and avoiding scouring through my cookbooks. I hit up DuckDuckGo with “crispy scallion ramen” and got a pile of results. After looking them over, “Ramen Noodles with Spring Onions and Garlic Crisp” from bon appétit caught my eye. I like recipes that are expressed in ratios of ingredients so I rephrased the recipe slightly. I decided to use the number of scallions as my base and landed on the following ratios for the other ingredients.
║ per Scallion ║ Ingredient ║ per 5 Scallions ║
║ 1 Tbsp + ½ tsp ║ Neutral oil (canola) ║ 5 Tbsp + 2-½ tsp ║
║ ½ ║ Medium garlic clove ║ 3 cloves ║
║ ⅛ tsp ║ Sichuan peppercorn ║ ½+⅛ tsp ║
║ ½ tsp ║ Soy sauce ║ 2 Tbsp ║
║ ¼ tsp ║ Unseasoned rice vinegar ║ 1 Tbsp ║
║ ¼ tsp ║ Sesame seeds ║ 1 Tbsp ║
║ 5 oz ║ Quality frozen ramen ║ 2-5oz packages ║
I was using five scallions for two servings because that is what I had on hand. The last column contains the quantity that I used.
You will also need the following ingredients on hand:
- a tablespoon or so of toasted sesame oil
- 1 egg per serving, I used two eggs
As a quick aside, my preference for weights and ratios in ingredient lists probably comes from my baking background. It turns out that it also makes it a lot easier to adjust the recipe size based on yield or what you have to work with. Take a look at “Baker percentage” on Wikipedia for more background on that.
Crispy garlic and scallions
I started off with the first part of the bon appétit recipe. Cut the scallions crosswise into three parts — white, light green, and dark green. Then I cut the white and light green parts into thin strips lengthwise. The dark green parts crosswise. I placed the white portion & oil in a small pan over medium-low heat and let it cook while I sliced the garlic and lightly crushed the sichuan pepper.
I was done slicing by the time that the oil was assertively bubbling. I stirred in the light green parts, garlic, and pepper then left the kitchen at this point. I threw on a LP (Boomerang from the Creatures if you must know) and made a cup of coffee. By the time that the coffee was made the mixture was starting to brown nicely. I noticed that some of the scallion parts were sticking a little bit so you have to stir every so often to avoid having really blackened bits in there.
After flipping the record, the mixture was very nicely browned. Vinyl records are a truly useful time keeping device for cooking by the way. You want to get the mixture out of the hot oil and drained as soon as it is browned to your liking.
Now that we have our crispy garlic and scallions, we can move on to the noodles. They did come out a little darker than I would have preferred but I am far from a perfectionist.
Noodles, sauce, and eggs
Bring some water to a nice boil and add the noodles. I added about a teaspoon of sesame oil to the water with a little salt. I am a snob when it comes to “good” ramen noodles. They have to be fresh or fresh-frozen. I save my dried soba or buckwheat noodles for dishes that have well defined sauces and my rice noodles for stir fries. I prefer my ramen from Sun Noodles. If you can find them, then you will soon know why. They are noodle perfection in my opinion.
While the water is coming to a boil, reserve about a tablespoon of the seasoned oil for the eggs. Add the dark green parts of the scallion to the hot oil and stir until slightly softened. Then add the soy, vinegar, and sesame. I omitted the fresh chili and herbs since I didn’t happen to have either on hand. I did add about a tablespoon of dried thai basil into the mix though.
Once the noodles are cooked to preference, drain them and rinse well to remove the extra starch. Do not rinse out the pot. Toss the noodles in a teaspoon or two of sesame oil. Pour the sauce into the now empty pot. Add the noodles and toss very well until the sauce is completely dispersed into the mass of noodles. You want the noodles to be covered and no clumps of sauce to remain. Distribute the noodle and sauce mixture into individual serving bowls.
Scrape the leftover sauce and liquid from the pan into a small bowl and add an equal amount of soy. If you do not have enough sauce to drizzle, add a mixture of sesame oil and soy to balance it out. You only need a teaspoon or so for each serving. It will be drizzled over the eggs.
Add some of the reserved seasoned oil to a small non-stick sauce pan then place over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot (almost smoking), fry each egg individually until crisp. You want the whites to be thin and crispy with the yolk still liquid-y. I set the skillet over heat until the oil is very freely moving. Then I crack the egg in and cover the skillet immediately. After about a minute you should have an egg that looks something like:
I usually flip them and cook for about 10 seconds if the whites are still running. I also religiously use a timer for the 1 minute part. Otherwise I mess them up somehow. Place each egg directly on top of the noodle mixture as it finishes. This will go quickly so there is no worry about them getting cold.
Drizzle with some of the soy mixture. It should form nice little pools. Top with some of the crispy scallion & garlic mixture, add some chili-garlic sauce if you wish, and then dig in.