As a small introduction to myself:
I love to watch Korean Dramas and if you’ve watched a K-Drama, you know what I mean when I say that, a simple bag of chips or popcorn just won’t do… as just thinking about watching a K-Drama makes you REALLY crave Ramen/Ramyun. But… when you eat it, it just doesn’t taste quite as wonderful as they make it look on the K-Dramas. They slurp it up; somehow without getting it everywhere (not me) and they add everything under the moon to it (Like on Flowerboy Ramyun Shop) as if it were Bibendum worthy of 3 stars. Unfortunately, I crave ramen every day.. and ramen isn’t as healthy to eat everyday but; unlike kimchi, but people don’t complain about the smell of ramen (like my family). I’ll talk more about kimchi (my pseudo addiction) at a later time.
Learning by trial and error, I started by getting the the noodles how I wanted them. Then, I worked on getting the broth to my liking. I cooked spinach at variable times to find that it only needs to be added just after you take the soup off of the stove. Kale needs to cook for 3 minutes (I love greens). Here are my tried and true recipes for ramen and here are some tricks that I’ve learned.
- Use quality water. If you don’t like the taste of your tap water, don’t use it in your broth. It won’t hide the flavor.
- If you’re adding other ingredients, estimate if it requires being cooked before, during or after the noodles are cooked. Noodle bloat if you don’t time it just right.
- Don’t crush the noodles because it makes the water more starchy where more of the noodle surface touches the water. So, don’t break the bricks unless you want to keep yours in the same water or make it sweet.
- Cook the noodles for no less or more than 3 minutes unless you like them mushy or bloated.
- Put cooked noodles in ice cold water to stop the cooking and bloating. Keep in mind that it really only buys you a few more minutes to catch up other ingredients and to find a place to devour your ramen.
- Dump the water you cook the noodles in to achieve a simple and gentle flavor (as possible), to avoid cloudy water and to bring out the irresistible noodle flavor.
- Use fresh quality ingredients to add to your ramen and don’t be afraid to add fresh ingredients like sprouts at the end…to cooked ingredients like meat or 2nd day leftover ingredients.
I cook the noodles for exactly 3 minutes, pour out the water (I used filtered water for best flavor) and put the noodles into a bowl of 1 cup ice cold water to stop the noodles from cooking or bloating. Stir the noodles to ensure even cooling. Start new water in the same pan with the correct amount of water per directions. Remove the water from the heat source once it has boiled, add the flavor packet and stir till dissolved. Drain the water from the bowl of noodles. Pour the broth over the noodles and stop if you get gritty flavor bits at the bottom of the pan (ignore if your brand has no grit). Then, stir to level out the hot and cold temperatures in the soup. I love the clean flavor, the clear broth and I find it easy on the stomach when you have a belly ache or when I get a craving late in the evening. Add more water if you need it more bland but taste it as you go, you don’t want to dilute it too much.
Spring Onion Sesame Ramen:
Cook the noodles for exactly 3 minutes, pour out the water and put them into a bowl with 1 cup of ice cold water to stop them from cooking or bloating. Start new water in the pan with the proper amount of water per directions and put in spring onions or green onions (1-2) before or after the boil as you prefer. I put in the white part before the boil and the green part at the end. Fresh crisp onions is SO important for the right flavor; otherwise they end up with a slight aftertaste or even a fishy taste. After the water cooks the onions enough to smell aromatic in the boiling water or a minute, remove the pan from the heat, add the flavor packet and stir till dissolved. I stop pouring the broth over the noodles when I get to the gritty flavor bits at the bottom of the pan. Then I put in premium dark (toasted) sesame oil. A good dark or premium sesame oil makes all the difference. Start with 2 drops to find your favorite flavor level. Light sesame oils take too much to flavor the broth and don’t lend much to the flavor in my opinion so I don’t use it in my ramen. I like 3-5 drops of premium sesame oil, depending on each bottle as they can vary from batch to batch. I like Lee Kum Kee, Dynasty or Trader Joes but I have a favorite that I buy in the Asian Market.
Corny Chicken Ramen:
A true go to and a wonderfully addictive – less healthy option….Which are always my favorite options when I’m craving. Chicken ramen seems to be the only flavor to marry well with the corn but with this ramen: we are throwing carbohydrates and starches to the side so no need to pour out the water for this recipe as it will only help to sweeten it even more. Again, we do not want to overcook the noodles so that we can enjoy the full yummy flavor of the ramen. Start with half a can of whole kernel sweet corn (Libby’s is the sweetest corn available to me), including half of the water from the can or more (yes, this is essential for the flavor) and put in the amount of water listed on the label less the amount of water that you just poured in from the can. When it comes to a boil, let the corn cook into the water for a minute on a medium boil then; scoop out enough corn to your bowl that you will be able to add the brick then; add the noodle brick into the water and set the timer for 3 minutes. While the ramen is cooking, ladle out (or pour) some water into a little bowl and dissolve the flavor packet until it no longer is dissolved. When the 3 minutes is up, remove the pan from the heat and add the broth, being careful not to add any of the gritty flavor bits (if any) and pour the soup in over the corn from your bowl. I hope that you will be pleasantly surprised.
Let me note that: My favorite ramen is, Instant Oriental Noodle Soup Chinese Herb Angelica Flavor by Ve Wong. Here is the best link I could find: http://www.amazon.com/Ve-Wong-Instant-Oriental-Chinese/dp/B00IZ19ZX4/ref=sr_1_9?s=grocery&ie=UTF8&qid=1422443654&sr=1-9
Try it if you get the chance, it is such a different flavor from the usual ramen.
But I do have to say that… if I’d have to admit what brand my all time favorite ramen choices would be: Hands down Nongshim. You’ll find them here: http://www.nongshimusa.com/our-products/meal-noodle
…and the newest ramen is called: Jinjja Jinjja (which translates to “really really”) Flamin’ Hot & Nutty Noodle Soup. Found here: http://www.nongshimusa.com/our-products/meal-noodle/jinjja-jinjja
My runner up brand is: Indo Mie brand Mi Goreng Instant Noodles. Found here: http://www.indomie.com/
Love it. There are many fabulous brands but most are not what we typically find on American Grocery store shelves. I travel out of my way to get the best noodles, the best Kimchi and the best premium soy sauce. 🙂