As someone who ate $0.33 Mr. Noodles growing up, either cooked or as a crunchy, crushed up snack, I was baffled to discover that instant ramen noodles were kind of meant to be customized with your own preference of added veggies and protein. You know, so that you’re actually getting some kind of nutrition when you eat it…
Actually, I was baffled to discover that ramen noodle soup was a tradition Japanese dish that has been around since (at least) the 20th century! The instant noodle counterpart is actually an invention by Momofuku Ando, created as a solution to food shortages during the post-war era. It’s basically his solution to world hunger, as a cheap and easy option for those with low income. Which I am eternally grateful for as a broke ass university student.
The recipe that I will be showing you today is my favourite way to make the instant noodles since I’ve learned that it was possible to “hack” them (aka, sinceI learned how they are supposed to be made). I love adding garlic, as I find it packs so much more flavour into the broth, and bok choy is my favourite green vegetable for this style of cuisine.
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Red onion, thinly sliced (I used two slices of a large onion cut in half)
- 2 heads bok choy, washed and bottoms cut off
- Baby carrots, shaved (you may also choose to julienne or spiralize)
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- Mr. Noodles package, or any instant ramen noodles you choose of your preferred flavour
- 1 1/2 – 2 cups water
- Heat a pot over medium heat
- Add sesame oil to pot and allow it to heat up until it is glimmering (takes about 5 seconds if your pot is warm enough… if it smokes up immediately like in my video, your pot is too hot!)
- Add onions to the pot and sauté until cooked through (you can skip this step if you like your onions raw, or cook them until browned if you like a more caramelized flavour)
- Add garlic to the pot and stir so that the garlic doesn’t burn (burnt garlic is bitter and will pretty much ruin the flavour of the entire dish)
- Add carrots and bok choy to the pot and stir them with the garlic and onions to get them nice and covered in all of their flavour
- Allow everything to cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring to get even cooking on all sides of all of the vegetables. Again, be sure not to burn the garlic
- I move the bok choy to my serving bowl during this step. I like to pour the finished hot soup over it when everything is done so that I have a little treasure to uncover from the bottom
- Add your water and turn the heat to high
- Once the water is boiling, add your ramen noodles to the pot and turn the heat to medium. Set a timer for the cooking time in the package directions. I typically use the faster cooking time because I like my noodles more chewy.
- Agitate the ramen noodles by mixing them from the boiling water to the colder air. Moving the noodles from hot to cold to hot to cold gives them the chewy texture that you are looking for in ramen noodles. It’s basically how you get the “al dente” effect.
- When the timer is ALMOST done (~30 seconds until finished), pour in your soup mix package that comes with the noodles, and stir it in so that it dissolves in the water and adds some of its flavour to the veggies
- When the timer is done, turn off the heat and pour the soup into your serving dish (over the bok choy) and enjoy!
Click this link to see a video of how I make this Instant Ramen Hack .
I have yet to try authentic ramen, as opposed to its instant counterpart. Guelph recently opened its first ramen restaurant (that I know of) called Crafty Ramen, with traditional family recipes. So, if you would like to read about my first non-instant ramen experience, or would like to see a mukbang or vlog type video of me trying it, leave a comment below and I’ll be sure to provide that for you. Also, if you have been to Crafty Ramen, let me know what I should try 🙂