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.