Soup can be as delicate as a simple consomme or as hearty as a mushroom barley; it can be served hot or cold; it can be a first course or a complete meal. No matter how you serve it, soup is always comforting and almost every culture believes in the healing properties of a good soup. This ramen only requires that you have the right ingredients on hand. Some are shelf-stable and you can always have around and the rest you can pick up at most grocery stores. The meat is the only item that you might want to pick up ahead of time and can be on-hand in the freezer. There are no special techniques to learn and it is ready in under 30 minutes. You can play around with the ingredients, but this is my favorite version. It elevates packaged ramen to a dinner that is good enough to serve to family.
Lisa’s Weeknight Ramen
Yield: 3-4 servings
Two 3-ounce packages of chicken-flavored ramen noodles
1 quart of good chicken stock, preferably unsalted
1 Tablespoon yellow or red miso (optional, but keeps a long time in the fridge)
3/4 cup shredded carrot
2 or 3 baby bok choy, split lengthwise
2 large, hard-boiled eggs, peeled and split length-wise
8 ounces of a good mushroom, sliced (Shitake are always available, but try using clam, trumpet or oyster mushrooms if you can find them)
About 3.5 ounces stir-fry baby corn or the kernels from one large ear of fresh corn
5 to 6 scallions, thinly sliced
Either one smoked duck breast, thinly sliced or about 8 ounces of smoked pork belly, sliced (leave the fat on since it adds flavor!)
Asian Sesame Oil for drizzling
Kosher salt or low-sodium soy sauce to taste
- Prep all of your ingredients. In a 3.5 quart or larger heavy pot with a lid, place the ramen noodles, the seasoning powder, miso, if used, the meat and the chicken stock. If you prefer more liquid you can add either more stock or up to 2 cups of water. Adjust your salt accordingly. If using unsalted stock, season with about a teaspoon of salt or 2 teaspoons soy sauce. Bring to a boil and simmer for 3 minutes.
- Add your other ingredients, except for the sesame oil and scallions and simmer for about 5 to 10 minutes, warming everything through and blanching the bok choy. If the egg was just boiled, you can add it at the last minute. If it came out of the fridge then add it with the vegetables.
- When ready, place some of each ingredient in a bowl, drizzle with sesame oil and scatter scallions on the top. Enjoy – it’s that simple!