Time for a quick post to address an issue that I've wanted to talk about for a while. A lot of people out there are hating on ramen, claiming that it is bland and only good dorm food/poor food. But fuck that, because with just a bit of effort you can take a 25-cent pack of Top Ramen and turn it into a very respectable noodle soup with a rich, slurpable broth.
You will need the following ingredients:
- A pack of ramen. If you're just using Top Ramen or Maruchan, "Oriental" is the best flavor, followed closely by the more full-bodied "Pork." A better brand, but more difficult to find, is this Thai shit called Mama. The packets are smaller, though, so you'll probably want to use two.
- Sriracha sauce.
- Hoisin sauce.
- An egg.
The key here, though, is the method. I've experimented with various steps to take, and I believe I have found the perfect way to cook ramen:
1. Boil water in a small pot. You really don't need to use very much water here - aim to use no more water than will eventually fit in the bowl you eat your ramen in.
2. When the water is boiling, put the ramen noodles in. Don't put in any of the other ingredients.
3. When the noodles are almost done boiling, place the rest of the ingredients in a good-sized bowl, the one you will be eating the ramen out of. Crack the egg in and empty the ramen flavor packet on top of it. After that, put in as much of the two sauces as you like. I like to use about a tablespoon each of the hoisin and the Sriracha. At this point you can also add any additional ingredients that you like. A splash of fish sauce is great. A few scallions or chives can be good, too.
4. Here's the most important step. When the noodles are nice and soft, dump the boiling water and the noodles into the bowl with all of the ingredients, then stir it vigorously. This will cook the egg and make it infuse the entirety of the broth, giving it a lot more body and a hearty flavor.
Now you're ready to eat it. I like to sip on the broth as it cools, then move onto the noodles after a few minutes.
A lot of people make the mistake of adding the flavor packet to the boiling water while the noodles cook, but I think that this dilutes the flavor and can often result in wasted broth. My method ensures that you don't waste any flavor or broth. I'm not sure why, but it seems that more of the flavor seeps into the noodles this way.
Unfortunately, Sarah was being churlish the last time I made this and wouldn't taste the broth. She missed out.