You are likely questioning my selection for this installment of Recipe for Disaster. “Why Shauna, any cretin can make a package of Mr.Noodle/Top Ramen/Cup Noodle!” you say? But neigh, this is not the ordinary run-of-the-mill, spicy, carbfest that you are familiar with. This is ramen done the Korean way.
When first coming to Korea, I was mildly confused by the big hullabaloo surrounding ramen. A huge isle at every grocery store is dedicated to it, it’s on the menu at restaurants, the noodles are sold as an instant snack (comparable to potato), and the students turn into ravenous beasts at the sight of it. And yes, there is an app for that (not for ravenous children, but for ramen – see here). The stuff was everywhere, and it seemed to be a rather unfounded obsession. I mean, yes, the ramen that I was used to was a satisfying, carb-y snack, but I would have hardly qualified it as a meal or even a mainstay in my snack roster.(yes, there is a roster)
And that’s because I was cooking it wrong.
When ramen is served at a local restaurant, it is prepared with an array of extra ingredients – the most common being onions, garlic, carrots, scallions, pressed fish cake known as odeng 오뎅, squid, egg and my favourite, cheese! Thats right, cheese. And not just any cheese, but a disgusting slice of plastic processed cheese. But the results are delicious.
Before we get started I must warn anyone attempting to follow this recipe will not get good results using some 15 cent garbage from Walmart. Please use an authentic Asian product. The most popular ramen in Korea is Shin Ramen seen below…
….but I’m not a huge fan so I used this brand.
Moving on (err please excuse the gaudy eighties colour blocking…..not quite sure what’s going on there)
WHAT YOU NEED
1 package of quality instant ramen
1 slice of processed cheese
1 minced clove of garlic
1/2 a medium carrot, sliced in quarters
1/4 cooking onion, coarsely chopped
1 medium spring onion, coarsely chopped
Optional: A pinch of ground red pepper for increased spiciness
WHAT TO DO
- Bring 2 to 2 1/2 cups of water to a boil.
- Once boiling, add carrots, onions and garlic. Cover and leave on medium heat for 5-7 minutes.
- At about the halfway point, empty the contents of the package of soup base into the pot. If you want to make it spicier, also add a pinch of ground red pepper. Save the noodles and dried vegetables for later. Put lid back on.
- Once vegetables are tender, turn up the heat to high. Break the noodle brick in half and add to the pot. Cook noodles for about 2.5 to 3.5 minutes without a lid.
- About 1.5 min after the noodles go in, add the egg.
- Once egg whites appear cooked, swirl the yolk in with the noodles. Try not to break up the egg whites in the process. I did a terrible job of this, but I have faith that more skilled cooks will have to problem here.
- When there is only 30 seconds left, add dehydrated vegetables and spring onion.
- When time is up, turn off heat and immediately place your slice of cheese on top of the concoction. Don’t mix it in, the cheese will take care of itself (like magic?). Now it’s ready to serve.
The finished product. So good. Sooooo good. It’s like the noodle equivalent of a unicorn or something. I apologize, that simile was just about as ridiculous as my eighties-inspired graphic design work above.
Note the fancy garnishing job. I was quite proud of myself(not quite sure that Italian parsley makes the best garnish for Korean ramen).
I think ramen has officially made the roster.