You may be surprised to see this classic junk food on a blog about unprocessed cooking, but ramen noodles really aren’t any less healthy than other types of wheat noodles. The reason they’ve gotten a bad name is because of the nasty flavoring packets that are usually included for making a soup with the noodles. But if you get a good brand (I like Koyo) and throw away the flavor packet, it’s about as “one ingredient” as you can get: organic heirloom wheat and salt. And they’re only $.99 at my local Sprouts, so at least that part of the ramen stereotype is true 🙂
I have been making these ramen noodles quite a bit lately, and thought I’d share my favorite technique because I think they’re pretty awesome. I don’t make them like a typical ramen soup in a broth, it’s actually more like chow mein. The noodles are soaked in a bowl of hot water until soft, then quickly sautéed in a pan with lots of yummy flavors like soy, garlic, and toasted sesame. These seasonings basically sear right onto the outside of the noodles to create amazing flavor. Then, they’re tossed with other sautéed things (mushrooms, bok choy, and tofu here) for an amazing noodle bowl.
Makes: 2 servings
- 4 oz (2 packages) dry ramen noodles
- 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
- 6-8 oz firm tofu
- 2+ tablespoons soy sauce
- Black pepper, to taste
- 2 baby bok choy
- 2 cloves garlic
- 3 green onions
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 1-2 teaspoons hot sauce
Slice the mushrooms and cube the tofu. Toss these ingredients into a large pan (a wok?) with a splash of water, a tablespoon of soy sauce, and a dash of black pepper. Allow to cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes until the mushrooms have softened and reduced quite a bit.
Meanwhile, boil a pot of water big enough to fit the noodles. Once boiling, remove from the heat and drop the dry noodles into the water. Use a fork to separate as needed and allow to soak for 5+ minutes until soft.
When the mushrooms are softened, remove them from the wok and set aside momentarily. Then, slice the bok choy in half lengthwise and place face down in the hot wok, preferably with the lid on. The idea is to soften them slightly and char the bottoms, but not to totally destroy them. After 2-3 minutes, remove the bok choy from the wok and set aside.
When the noodles are done, drain the soaking water and add them into the hot wok with 2 cloves of slivered garlic, 3 sliced green onions, 2 teaspoons of toasted sesame oil, a tablespoon or more of soy sauce and a splash of your favorite hot sauce (I used Tabasco). Cook over medium-high heat for just a few minutes, tossing regularly with tongs or a fork until the seaonings begin to sear to the outside of the noodles. Then, add the tofu and mushroom mixture back into the pan with the noodles and toss until evenly combined.
Finally, split between two bowls and then add two halves of the bok choy onto each bowl Garnish with more hot sauce and or sesame seeds. PRO TIP: These noodles are at least as good cold, so feel free to save some in the fridge as leftovers.