Ramen Time. (part 3…the finale!)

sick of ramen yet? No? Okay great, part 3 — lets do this thing.

…you are hungry from a long day of checking Facebook, “working”, and thinking about your future. You look at this blog, or another blog, or The News, and your desire to eat something comforting and delicious is growing stronger.   But, you are also tired and worn out, your head hurts from thinking (about Facebook), and your feet hurt from standing/walking/commuting or for no reason at all.  You stand in front of your open refrigerator for what seems like an hour and it feels like you are staring into an abyss of nothing. There are edible things inside of it but none of them are speaking to you. You shut the door and wander to a cabinet or two, open the door, gaze inside, but still you hear nothing.

The kitchen is quiet and out of ideas. It is not singing it’s happy little song. Your stomach starts growling, you consider delivery, you consider your bank account, you consider that in the time it takes to decide about delivery you could already be eating, you stop thinking and go back to the fridge. Again it sucks. It doesn’t really suck, you can SEE that there is food in it, but in your moment of hunger/desperation it is impossible to actually see those things.

This is so totally the moment when ramen noodles from a packet, box, styrofoam bowl, are the lord savior to your belly aches.  It is an old college trick that seriously works every time.  But I wouldn’t be a very good food blogger/homecook, if my only suggestion was to boil some water and make your ramen packet according to directions on the back.  That would be nutz.

What if I told you that in less ten minutes you could make that ramen into a dish that would warm your body and soul, invigorate your senses, and quench all your desires?  Go ahead, open your fridge again, this time you are ready to do battle.

Actual bowl of ramen produced from a packet

Let me begin by saying that you need to be the type of person who keeps a variety of asian sauces or umami heavy flavors in the house on a normal basis. If you have to go out and buy all of these things in order to make this dish than it is probably not worth doing on the fly. However, I highly suggest keeping these types of items in a stocked kitchen to ensure that in moments of desperation you can turn to this recipe or many others.

Ramen Bowl for One

1 packet of instant ramen (the brand I found here is called Mama) *Keep the spice packets or flavorings that they provide, you will be using those as well.
2 1/2 cups water (or if you have stock, equal parts stock and water)
1 egg, soft boiled *see instructions in previous post
handfull of sliced crunchy vegetables, whatever you have is fine, ie carrots, radish, sprouts, beans, peas, kale, chard, bok choy, green onions, etc
3 rehydrated shitake mushrooms  chopped (take your dried mushrooms and put them in warm water for a few minutes –save the mushroom water!)
Some combination of sauces, ie soy sauce, hoisin, sirachi, oyster sauce, fish sauce, sesame oil, anchovy paste and dashi are great, too. The more the merrier
1 teaspoon ginger (if you have it)
1 teaspoon garlic (if you have it)
splash of oil

Start by heating your pot, add a touch of oil and throw in ginger and garlic (if you don’t have any at home just skip this step – it’s fine).  Heat them through so you can smell them (30 seconds, tops),but don’t let them burn. Add your liquid (either water or water and stock) to the pot.

When the water reaches a boil add in your spice packet/flavoring from the ramen package. Add your sauces  and seasonings, but try to be loose with this. I don’t measure I just add. You want to create a nice salty and robust flavor. The amounts should be in order of the flavors you want to experience – fish sauce is pretty potent so be delicate with how much you add. The rest I would say about 1 – 2 teaspoons should do the trick.  If you rehydrated mushrooms add some of that liquid, it’s pretty tasty.  If you have anchovy paste or dashi, now is a good time.  Stir and lower the eat to medium low.

Give it a taste.  I usually cook this soup for another 2  minutes just to let the flavors come together a bit. Add your ramen noodles to the soup and let them cook for the time it says on the package (about 3 minutes probably). In the meantime chop your veggies and get your egg peeled and ready.

Once the noodles are cooked serve yourself a bowl of ramen, top with veggies and soft boiled egg. This is a glorious moment and an accomplishment to be proud of, pat yourself on the back and dig in.

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