ELEVATED INSTANT RAMEN
When I was growing up, I remember my parents used to cook the packaged instant ramen every once in a while. Our nickname for it was a Cantonese phrase meaning “cartoon noodles” because of the cartoon kid logo of the brand. But I’d say ever since graduating college, my ramen intake has been primarily seeking out the local ramen shops, some of which you may have seen me write up about on here.
I came across this recipe from chef Roy Choi about how to doctor up some typical instant ramen and it instantly (no pun intended) gave me some inspiration. With the COVID-19 situation keeping me at home for the most part, I decided that I was long overdue for a nice, hearty bowl of ramen and added a few of my own little tweaks to things.
Taking packaged instant ramen and adding in a few new ingredients helps to transform a quick-fix meal into one that warms the soul.
Elevated Instant Ramen
Makes 1 serving
1 package instant ramen, with flavor packet
2-3/4 cups water
1/2 tsp butter
1 tbsp grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese
1/4 tsp Sriracha sauce (optional)
1/4 tsp toasted sesame seeds
1 tbsp scallions, sliced
- Take out the flavor packet and transfer its contents to a small container. Discard about a third of it.
- Packaged ramen is notorious for its high sodium content. Because I knew that the cheese and butter were going to pile more salt on top of what was already in the package, this is how you can help to offset it a little bit.
- Slice up your scallions if you’ll be using them in the garnish at the end. My cuts were probably about 1/8″ wide.
- In a small saucepan, bring your water up to a boil. Place in the ramen noodles and cook for about two minutes, periodically stirring to break up the block of noodles as it starts cooking.
- After the two minutes have passed, add in the remaining contents of the flavor packet and stir some more, making sure that it gets thoroughly combined. Cook this for another 30 seconds.
- Turn off the heat and move the saucepan to an adjacent burner. In the middle of the saucepan, move the noodles around until you’ve created a little pocket in the broth. Carefully crack your egg right into that space, arranging the noodles after to fold over the top of the egg. Let that sit for 60 – 75 seconds to allow the egg to poach in the broth.
- Once time is up, get your serving bowl set and carefully transfer everything from the saucepan into the bowl, taking care not to do it too quickly and break the poached egg.
- I chose to do my bowl transfer over the sink, since I anticipated that my slow pouring might result in some spillage down the side of the saucepan. I wasn’t wrong.
- With the ramen now in the bowl, add in your butter and cheese, stirring afterwards to combine nicely. At the same time, take care not to break the poached egg (I did some stirring just local to the immediate area of where I dropped in the butter and cheese).
- If you’re also looking to kick up the spice level with some Sriracha, this would be the time to add it as well.
- Finish the bowl off with a garnish of the toasted sesame seeds and scallions.
I have to say, the egg, butter, and cheese all helped to coat the ramen noodles with an additional rich flavor and smooth texture that was just so satisfying. The salt level in the broth was still okay for my taste, but if that is something that concerns you, I’d recommend either cutting down to 1/2 of the flavor packet or just omitting the cheese. I also liked that the Sriracha was just enough to get the kick, and the spice level built up at a manageable level as I was eating more. While this is certainly no substitute for a bowl of ramen from the local ramen shop, it’s still a satisfying stopgap for the immediate time being.