Cheap and easy food isn’t that hard if you know the right places to look, and often you can make it look really pretty too!! I’m always looking for things I can make on the go with ingredients I can keep in my fridge and use for different stuff.
Instant Ramen is one of those staples college students and travelers alike always have in their pantry/backpack. I feel like most people I know grew up on the chicken flavor, but I actually was first introduced to the “Oriental Flavor” (recently changed to “Soy Sauce” flavor, “Same Oriental” flavor (lolz @ rebranding)) because my best friend’s family in middle school was half Japanese and it was vegetarian. They didn’t eat meat too often, and kept it around cause everyone was always hungry over there.
This less-than-20-cents investment serves as the base of what can be a really beautiful, filling, and tasty/impressive dish. Check it.
Ingredients (food for one):
- 1 package Soy Sauce/Oriental Flavor Nissin Top Ramen
- 1-2 eggs
- 1 dash of white or apple cider vinegar
- Thinly sliceable veggies, such as carrots, red/yellow bell peppers, cucumbers, red cabbage or broccoli (steam/blanch those a little bit first tho)
- Soy sauce
- For spice, chili powder/flakes or sambal/sriracha hot sauce will work well
- Fresh Mint/Cilantro as garnish
- Half an Avocado, sliced, if you want extra points like the picture
- Freshly ground pepper
- Prep the veggies first, because everything else happens quick. Thinly slice the carrots, peppers, etc. and set them off to the side. I usually just need half a carrot/quarter of a pepper… you get it. It doesn’t take too much when they’re small slices. If you’re doing broccoli or cabbage you can partially cook that by steaming or blanching (I like to do that with a little bit of rice vinegar, soy sauce, and salf/chili powder) and then setting off to the side.
- Also chop the garnish (fresh mint/cilantro) up fine and set it aside
- Time to soft-boil the eggs. In a small pot, put enough water that will just cover the eggs, add a splash of the vinegar (maybe 1-2tsp). Bring this to a boil. When it starts boiling drop the eggs in (carefully – do not break them!!) and set a time for 6.5min. Be ready to act RIGHT when that timer goes off – you don’t want to overcook the eggs!!
- About halfway through the whole egg party thing, get 2 cups of water boiling and drop the ramen in without the flavor packet. Stir every once in a while. The noodles should be done before the eggs are and should be a little al dente. Set the pot to low heat/simmer. Pull the noodles out of the water and put them into your final bowl so the water is simmering. Protip: if you want to go hardcore you can put the noodles in some ice-water (that the eggs are destined for) to stop them from cooking and then put them into a bowl. Stir the flavor packet into the water in the pot and drop in the veggies.
- At this point, your egg timer should be going off. AS SOON AS IT GOES OFF pull those suckers off of the heat, turn the faucet to COLD, drain the water out of the pot, and run cold water over the eggs. You’re flash-chilling them so they stop cooking, just like properly done hard-boiled eggs. Ice can help too.
- The stressful part is over. Peel the eggs. They should be squishy because they’re only partially cooked so be careful with them. Your veggies in the broth should be a little softer now that they’ve been simmering in broth.
At this point it’s all about presentation. Pour the veggies/broth into the bowl where your noodles are. The reason why we set it aside is so that the noodles wouldn’t overcook. By the time everything is plated they will be perfect. Cut the eggs in half, being careful about your hands, and set the halves somewhere pretty, I usually go towards the edge. Put the Avocado half in the center. Drizzle some Soy Sauce on top (high quality or “dark” soy sauce can go a long way), along with some spicy stuff and freshly ground pepper. Garnish with the fresh mint and cilantro, and voila! Chopsticks add to the appeal for sure.
I love and make this dish all the time, and there are 100’s of ways to do it:
- Buy some small, thin pork chops and marinate in soy sauce, salt, pepper, garlic, and sear with a little bit of oil. Don’t overcook it!! Drop it in the broth with the veggies or just on top at the end. Don’t forget the juices from the pan 😛
- Sick (or not, actually)? Add some minced fresh ginger and garlic to the broth and veggies.
- Feeling stir-fry? Dope, I’ve got one for that too. Put the veggies in a pan with some vegetable oil or butter, salt and pepper, garlic, and soy sauce and a little bit of sesame oil. Cook the veggies al dente. Instead of in water, cook the ramen in the broth like normal but then drop those into pan with the veggies. Take the eggs and put them in a bowl to whip them. But whip them with the flavor packet. Afterwards, just drop that into the pan over the noodles and veggies to cook the eggs into them. Errmehhgaawwd, so good.