Yesterday I stopped at Mi and Yu Noodle Bar in Baltimore Maryland. It was raining, dreary, & I wanted some soup to pick me up. While I’ve known about this place for a while, I was just now trying it for the first time.
In each corner is a little nook that seats two & overlooks onto Charles Street in Federal Hill. In the center is another seating area, & along the wall there more seats. Plenty of places to sit, I imagine this places fills up quick.
For lunch I ordered Vegetable Soup, Fried Tofu, with Ramen noodles. The soup, eggs, & ramen noodles all came in their own separate containers. Back at the office the assembly began.
Putting this together, I must have done something wrong. As there was barely enough room in my Soup Bowl for the broth alone, I had to drink it down some. The eggs went next, & clearly I should have put them in last as they immediately sank. At this point I was only able to fit in two of the four slices of Fried Tofu, which left my Ramen Noodles sticking out on top.
It went down easy, & achieved my goal of a warm soup for lunch.
Looking for an alternative to the instant ramen noodle
Ok, so what exactly are you referring to, when you say Ramen Noodle Alternatives? Ideally, this is going to look at making some healthier versions of your favorite dish at home. This also means no more over-salted, Styrofoam cup, prepared in the microwave like you’re pulling an all-nighter for a final. This topic is going to focus on healthy meals that are prepared on the stove.
Now we could look to just other noodle types, such as Shirataki or Udon noodles, but lets go deeper down this rabbit hole.
Simple Homemade Chicken Ramen
2 chicken breasts (boneless, skin-on)
kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to season
1 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tsp sesame or vegetable oil
2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
3 tsp fresh garlic, minced
3 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp mirin
4 cups rich chicken stock
1 oz dried shitake mushrooms (or 1/2 cup fresh)
1-2 tsp sea salt, to taste
2 large eggs
1/2 cup scallions, sliced
2 (3 oz) packs dried ramen noodles
If you want a pho type dish, optionally add some fresh jalapeño slices at serving!
To cook the chicken, we are first going to preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Season the chicken generously with salt and pepper. Melt the butter in a large oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken, skin-side down, and cook until the skin is golden brown and releases easily from the pan, about 5-7 minutes. Flip the chicken over and cook for another 4-5 minutes, until golden. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast for 15-20 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Remove from the oven, transfer the chicken to a plate and cover with foil until ready to serve.
Make the ramen broth: Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat, until shimmering. Add the garlic and ginger, and cook for a few minutes until softened. Add the soy sauce and mirin, and stir to combine. Cook for another minute. Add the stock, cover, and bring to boil. Remove the lid, and let simmer uncovered for 5 minutes, then add the dried mushrooms. Simmer gently for another 10 minutes, and season with salt, to taste.
Make the soft-boiled eggs: Fill a pot with enough water to cover the eggs, and bring to a boil. Gently lower the eggs (still cold from the fridge) into the boiling water, and let simmer for 7 minutes (for a slightly-runny yoke) or 8 minutes (for a soft, but set-up yoke).
Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with ice water. When the timer finishes, transfer the eggs to the ice bath to stop the cooking process. Wait at least 5 minutes, or until cool enough to handle, then carefully peel away the shell and slice in half, lengthwise. Set aside until ready to serve.
Assemble the ramen bowls: Meanwhile, chop the scallions and jalapeño (if using). Slice the chicken into thin pieces. Set aside. When the eggs finish cooking, add the ramen noodles to the boiling water. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until soft, then divide the noodles into two large bowls. Add the sliced chicken and the ramen broth. Top with the fresh scallions, jalapeño and the soft boiled egg. Serve immediately.
2 carrots, cut into 1 inch lengths
2 small Japanese leeks, or 4 scallions, trimmed and cut into 1 inch lengths
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
4 bone-in free-range chicken thighs (or 8 wings)
1 tsp sea salt
2 TBS rapeseed or sesame oil
TBS sesame oil
2 c. flour
2 eggs, room temperature
2 egg yolks, at room temperature
1 small bunch chopped bitter greens, either bok choy or kale
3 TBS finely chopped Japanese leeks or scallions
1 sheet nori, cut into eights
Soy sauce, miso, or sea salt (to taste)
Make the broth. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Place carrots, leeks/scallions, ginger, and chicken thighs in a roasting pan, and toss with salt and oil. Roast for 40 minutes. Pour chicken, veggies, and all the juices into a large stockpot, and cover with 16 cups of cold water.
Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer, covered, for 1 hour. After 1 hour, remove the lid. Take out 2 of the chicken thighs and place in a small bowl. Cover the thighs with hot broth and let cool to room temperature, then shred. Continue simmering the remaining broth for another 30-60 minutes, until it is reduced to about 8 cups. Strain broth into a clean pot and keep warm over low heat. Discard vegetables and remaining chicken thighs.
Make the noodles: mix 2 TBS of the sesame oil into the flour with your fingers until it is crumbly. Add eggs and egg yolks and stir with your hand until incorporated, then knead on a flat, clean surface for 5 minutes until the dough is pliable but stiff. The dough takes some force to really work it into a pliable piece. Let dough rest 10 minutes.
Roll out the noodle dough to a thickness of about 1/8 inch using a pasta machine or a heavy rolling pin. Cut into linguine-sized noodles by hand with a pizza cutter, sharp knife or by using a pasta machine.
Prepare the toppings: bring a large pot of water to a boil over high-heat. Add the eggs and boil for exactly 7 minutes, then remove with a strainer and place directly into a bowl of ice-cold water. Let cool, then peel. In the boiling water, blanch the bitter greens until just tender, then add to the cold water with the eggs. Keep the water boiling – you will use it to cook your noodles just before serving.
Once the broth, noodles, and toppings are ready, prepare the bowls: add a small amount of miso, soy sauce, or salt to each bowl (according to diner’s preference) and pour a ladleful of hot broth over the seasoning. Stir the broth into the seasoning. Divide the shredded chicken amongst the bowls. Drop the noodles into the boiling water and cook for 2 minutes – they will float up to the top when they are done. Remove the noodles with a strainer and divide among the bowls. Top off each bowl with a few more ladlefuls of hot broth, 1 egg cut into halves, a handful of the cooked greens, some of the nori pieces, and a sprinkling of scallions.
Serve very hot, adding extra seasoning where desired.
Miso Ramen with Roasted Vegetables
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1 large leek, trimmed and roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1 ounce dried shiitake mushrooms
2 sweet potatoes (about 1 pound), peeled and cut into small cubes
1 head of garlic
1 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, brushed clean and sliced
Low-sodium soy sauce or tamari, for seasoning
1 1/2 pounds fresh ramen noodles
1/4 cup white or yellow miso
4 green onions, white & pale green parts, finely chopped
In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, warm 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the yellow onion, sprinkle with salt, and sear, without stirring, until browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in the leek, garlic, ginger, dried mushrooms, and 6 cups water and deglaze the pan, stirring and scraping up any browned bits from the bottom. Reduce the heat to medium-low, partially cover the pan and simmer until fragrant, about 1 hour. Strain the broth through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and discard the solids.
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Add the sweet potatoes to a baking sheet and drizzle with a little oil; toss and spread into an even layer. Cut the top quarter of the head of garlic off and discard. Drizzle the cut side of the garlic head with a little oil and wrap with foil. Add to the sheet pan. Roast, stirring the potatoes occasionally, until tender and tinged with brown, and the garlic is very tender. Remove from the oven.
Squeeze the garlic cloves into a blender and add 1/3 cup of the roasted sweet potatoes with 1/2 cup broth. Puree until smooth and add to the broth.
In the saucepan over medium heat, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring, until tender. Add the broth and season to taste with soy sauce. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low, cover partially, and simmer until warmed through. Whisk in the miso.
Divide the noodles evenly among individual bowls. Ladle the broth over the noodles, dividing them evenly, then top with the roasted sweet potatoes. Sprinkle with the green onions and serve.
One to two scallions, chopped, plus any additional for garnish
1. In a medium bowl, you are going to want to soak the shiitake & the dried kelp in 1 cup of water until completely restored to its original state. Then slice the shiitake mushrooms, & return them to the bowl.
2. In a medium pot, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil over medium. Add gochugaru & toss for about 20 seconds until fragrant. Be careful not to burn and blacken the pepper flakes! This heats up quickly.
3. Add the shiitake & the kelp along with the soaking water, into the pot. We then add garlic, mushrooms, & carrots. Add 4.5 cups water, cover & bring this to boil.
4. Add miso, salt, nutritional yeast, & gochujang. Lower the heat to a simmer, & leave for about 4 to 5 minutes.
5. Now we get to add the ramen noodles! Additionally add some scallions, & bring heat back up to medium. Let boil for just about 2 minutes until the noodles are al dente. Quickly take off the heat. Adjust seasoning as needed, garnish with more scallions and serve.
Summer is now over and fall is in full swing, the grocery store’s produce is becoming slim pickings for the midwest. So after a quick trip to your farmer’s market and buying up the rest of their zucchini squash, bell peppers and mushrooms. It is time to put those veggies to good use with this staple.
In a frying pan add:
1 cup sliced or diced zucchini squash
1 cup chopped baby bella mushrooms
1 cup diced Onion
1 cup diced peppers (red, green, orange or yellow)
For this post, I thought that a fun topic might be Ramen Noodle Challenges. From searching the internet, there seems to be two types of challenges : Eating Ramen in Bulk, & Eating Super Spicy Ramen. Below I have gathered a collection of YouTube videos of both, linking the creator & their channel or Facebook. If you are interested in providing your own videos, challenge stories, or have an idea for other types of Ramen Noodle Challenges, feel free to leave a comment.
So many of you guys left me comments, sent me messages, and spammed my wall asking for a Ramen Video… So here it is!!! 12 Packs of Ramen Noodle, roughly 11lbs of Noodles and Broth, and only for $1.50!!! Thanks everyone for showing so much enthusiasm, I really appreciate it =]
These are just some of the many, many Ramen Noodle Challenges that I am finding on YouTube. & while none of these have been created by myself, I have an idea or two for some challenges that I hope to get organized. Though I’m interested to get input from what you want to see as far as challenges, or perhaps some that you have done yourself.
Some facts & history about Ramen Noodles you may not have known
Lets go over some Ramen Noodle facts, as well as a little history about these delicious instant noodles!
1. Instant Noodle History
Lets begin at the beginning. Where did all of this Ramen Noodle goodness get it’s start? As per the wikipedia for instant noodles : Instant noodles were invented by Taiwanese-Japanese inventor Momofuku Ando in Japan. It was first marketed on 25 August 1958, by Ando’s company, Nissin, under the brand name . Ando developed the production method of flash frying noodles after they had been made, creating the “instant” noodle. This dried the noodles & gave them a longer shelf life, even exceeding that of frozen noodles.
2. Ramen initially was a luxury
While it would cost considerably less than $200 a year to eat ramen for every meal, back in 1958 the first instant ramen was ironically considered a luxury item. This was because Japanese grocery stores sold fresh Japanese noodles (also known as udon noodles) at one-sixth the cost of Ando’s new instant noodles. Each noodle block was pre-seasoned & sold for 35 yen. Despite this, instant noodles eventually gained immense popularity, especially after being promoted by Mitsubishi Corporation.
3. Ramen is the Japanese word for Chinese lo mein
The Japanese owe it to the Chinese for the trendy food’s name. According to Being Japanese American by Gil Asakawa, ramen is the Japanese pronunciation of the kanji characters for lo mein or lau mein in Chinese. However, there are competing theories, & other authors feel the most likely etymology is lamian. Whichever is the case, it’s no surprise that ramen is inspired by lo-mein, another boiled noodle dish invented centuries ago.
4. The preservatives inside instant Ramen Noodles are very difficult to digest
Dr. Braden Kuo (a gastrointestinal specialist) of Massachusetts General Hospital used a pill-sized camera to record up to 32 hours & monitor the digestion of instant Ramen Noodles versus homemade Noodles. After two hours, the preserved noodles were still relatively intact & undigested.
Not just Chicken Salad, Ramen Noodle Chicken Salad!
Transform plain cooked chicken & boiled ramen noodles into a hearty Ramen Noodle Chicken Salad with fresh produce
2 packets of ramen noodles (that is our pasta)
½ cup sliced fresh mushrooms
½ cup sliced green olives
1 stalk celery, chopped
¼ cup minced onion
1 cup shredded cheddar-cheese
1 (10 ounce) package frozen corn kernels
1 green bell pepper, chopped
¾ cup Italian-style salad dressing
½ cup mayonnaise
1 cup chicken meat (canned or cooked)
1. Like most introduction steps to cooking any ramen dish, we need boiling water. Once boiling, add the ramen noodles (without flavor packets) & cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Rinse with water & Pour into a large bowl.
2. Combine the ingredients, mushrooms, olives, celery, onion, cheese, corn & green bell pepper with the ramen & start mixing.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together dressing & mayonnaise. When satisfied, pour dressing over salad & toss again, coating evenly. Gently mix in the flaked chicken. Let refrigerate for a few hours, & serve.
Increasing in popularity are food trucks, & along with that, food truck gatherings. Yet as many as I’ve been to, I have yet to see a Ramen Noodle Food Truck.
Perhaps that is because I’ve not been to San Francisco, California, where I could easily find Hapa Ramen who makes a unique bowl of noodles. They serve locally sourced, organic ingredients. As they put it, We use the good stuff
Organically raised pork, chickens that enjoyed roaming around their pastures, & locally sourced konbu. Also they use seasonal, local vegetables from the best farms—Catalan, Dirty Girl, Star Route, Serendipity, Knoll, and Marin Roots, to name a few.
Perhaps you have read Omnivore’s Dilemma and watched Food Inc, realizing that local, organic is the way to go with food. For us, the reasons are even simpler: it tastes way better and we want to support the local farmer to complete the circle for the local economy.
Then there is the Ramen Rickshaw in Springfield, Ohio.
The Ramen Rickshaw showcases comfort food products, carefully refined to accommodate the tastes & expectations of the Springfield market. They have produced variations of three iconic Japanese culinary dishes: fried rice, Japanese curried rice & an entire showcase product of ramen noodle soup! The broth is based on a family recipe handed down from relatives who owned their own ramen noodle shop in a little country village in Japan. Both the broth & noodles are handmade from scratch. The Ramen Rickshaw is the featured food truck at the Springfield Rotary Gourmet Food Truck Competition!
In the past I’ve actually had to explain myself for my method of draining noodles. Defending my reasoning for eating soup without water. Here is some proof that directions just are not for some people. Make your ramen enjoyable, while rocking some ramen noodle tunes.
How to win with Ramen on the dance floor! This is one of my all-time favorite recipes! On this episode, I show you how to spice up your Ramen with hot dogs, onions and peppers while you sing this R&B noodle anthem all the way to flavor town!