Dressing Up Instant Ramen



Thanksgiving is right around the corner and this year, I’m cooking for la familia. Lots of food and lots of pressure (that I put on myself, solely – my dear family will eat burnt toast and be happy about it). If you follow the blog and you’re a foodie, chances are you’re in the same boat. Raise your hands if you just finished finalizing your Thanksgiving Day Kitchen Timeline …

I’ve been writing this food blog for about three years now, and I’m finally able to say I’m feeling more comfortable in the kitchen these days.┬áMark Bittman, food journalist, author and columnist for the New York Times, believes there are four stages involved when learning how to cook:

  1. You strictly adhere to and follow recipes to the letter (this is a good thing).
  2. You begin to synthesize some of these recipes with a few ideas/tweaks/changes of your own. You learn your preferences. (Wow, I did NOT like the yuzu ponzu sauce in that last dish.)
  3. You begin to incorporate what you’ve learned with your preferences. You develop a personal style which and you’re compelled to search out new things. This is the stage when cooks begin to bring cookbooks to bed with them (OMG I’m in stage three!!!), looking for links and inspiration. You don’t follow recipes quite as much, but sometimes pull ideas from a variety of sources and simply start cooking (Mark Bittman is totally spying on me).
  4. Stage four is that of the mature cook, a person who consults cookbooks for fun or novelty but for the most part has a fully developed repertoire, and (most importantly) the ability to simply start cooking with only an idea of what the final dish will look like.

Stage four seems so far off to me. It’s so distant it’s hazy. I’ve come a long way, but there’s so much farther to go.

Which is why I was excited when I began running across the topic of jazzing up instant ramen soup. True ramen is all the rage right now and if you are part of the cult following (as I am), you know good ramen takes time and attention to detail. If you’re making it, you should be making a helluva lot of the broth and freezing it. It’s not something you’re going to want to tackle every weekend (and that’s about how long it will take you to make).

I’ve read several articles online about jazzing up the instant soup with a few additional ingredients – Ivan Orkin offers a few ideas I plan to try. Most recently, though, I purchased Roy Choi’s new cookbook, “L.A. Son: My Life, My City, My Food” and found his rendition of instant ramen soup too hard to ignore any longer. This crazy guy puts butter, raw eggs and slices of processed American cheese in his ramen.


Make it. Do it just like the recipe tells you to just once … and then take Mark Bittman’s advice in Stage 2. Put your own twist on it.



Perfect Instant Ramen

From Roy Choi’s L.A. Son Cookbook

Makes 1 perfect bowl
2 1/2 cups water

1 packet of Shin Ramyun or any instant ramen soup mix you have

1 egg

1/2 t. butter

2 slices American Cheese

1/4 t. toasted sesame seeds

Garnish (optional) – 1/2 scallion, green part only, sliced thinly on the bias

  • Bring the water to a boil in a small pot. Add the noodles, cook for 2 minutes, then add the contents of the flavor pack.
  • About 30 seconds before the noodles are done, turn off the heat and crack in the egg – but don’t mix it in. Just pull the hot noodles gently over the raw egg and let it sit for a minute to poach.
  • Now get a bowl and gently pour everything slowly into it, being careful not to disrupt the egg.
  • Add the butter, cheese and sesame seeds to the bowl. Mix it all around. Add the scallions if you wish. *I sprinkled a teeny ┬ábit of togarashi on my bowl for a little spicy kick.

Roy Choi says it best: “Eggy, cheesy goodness!”


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