ORIGINAL RECIPE: My own, the result of years of desperation
TIMING: 10 minutes
TOOLS: A small sauce pan
COOK TYPE: Stove top
HEALTH: It’s not really healthy for you, but it is way better for you than the packaged ones with the neon-colored, MSG-and-cyanide-laced packets of salty saltness. Also, you can add all sorts of toppings, like chopped cilantro, chopped parsley, sliced radish, pickled veggies, pickled ginger, diced chilies, kimchi, hot sauce, julienned bell pepper, slivered carrot, chunked avocado, sesame seeds, sprouts, boiled egg, fried egg, steamed broccoli… and on and on.
EXPERIENCE: Unfortunately, beef and pork Maruchan Ramen is one of my very favorite things to eat in the world. No matter how snooty I become about food and out-grow many of my previous fast food and junk food loves, my cravings always return to Maruchan. However, not only is it bad for you and me, but it makes me feel crappy and often induces a migraine. If you are a migraneur, you understand then why, despite the cravings, I have not had a typical, commercial package of ramen in years. Literally. Years.
I have tried various healthier versions of ramen, and I enjoy the very occasional bowl of Thai Kitchen or some other brand, but I mostly don’t because they barely touch the craving and they are–even so–processed foods. Therefore, I have had to come up with my own ways of satisfying the urge to run to the store and spend 10 cents on an afternoon of exhaustion, chills, nausea, numbness, and splitting head pain.
I begin with pasta. Now, the best pasta to use for this is authentic ramen noodles from your Asian grocer. Be vigilant about reading ingredients, of course. They come plain (just noodles) in bags of maybe 8-12 noodle blocks. But honestly, I have been known to accept almost any noodle, including spaghetti, angel hair, rice pasta, cellophane noodles, and egg noodles. The following recipe is for dry ramen, so if you use other pasta, you will have to adjust.
This is barely a recipe, but if you really need it, you will thank me.
NOTE: I make my ramen dry. There are two reasons for this. First, I grew up eating it that way. Second, it allows me to rinse my noodles of the starch and still have a hot meal. If you want some broth in yours, you will have to figure that out.
- In a medium sauce pan, place your plain ramen noodles and cover with cold water.
- Over high heat, bring the water to a boil, stirring occasionally as the noodles loosen. Around the time it comes to a rolling boil and the froth approaches the edge of the pan, the noodles will be done.
- Drain. Rinse briefly. Return to the pan with a couple tablespoons rinse water.
- Per each block of noodles, stir in 1/2 teaspoon chicken, beef, pork, or vegetable bouillon paste, 1 teaspoon all purpose seasoning (like with the freeze-dried veggies in it), a sprinkle of dried parsley, and 1 teaspoon shoyu soy sauce. Stop stirring when the bouillon has dissolved.
- Taste for salt and other ingredients.
Serve with condiments suggested above. The more veggies, the better.