Friday, July 1, 2011

How To Make Ramen Into A Tasty and Nutritionally Reasonable Meal

Korean ramen -- or Korean lamyeon, which is how it gets romanized here, is an interesting phenomenon.  It's not just for impoverished college students (though it is for them, too) - you can get it in restaurants, and I see kids eating it outside of convenience stores after school.  It can cost anywhere from $.50 to $2.00, depending on the brand, serving size, and packaging, but it's tough to go through a whole day here without seeing someone eating ramen.

Shin lamyeon is far and away the korean ramen of choice.  It's flavor is intriguingly if ambiguously described not as chicken, vegetable, or soy, but "spicy," and the photo on the front shows a bowl brimming with shitakes and vegetables.
Of course, when you open the package, you'll find a distinct lack of actual vegetables within (though there's a tablespoon or so of the freeze-dried variety).
Which brings us to lunch today: improved ramen.  Super cheap, and surprisingly yum.  I threw together all the veggies I happened to have on hand (except spinach and bell pepper...that seems more suited to omelette than ramen), and I recommend them because it turned out great -- but if you've got bok choi or zucchini, go to town.

You will Need:

  • 1 serving Shin Ramyeon (or favorite non-Korean ramen, but I warn you - this stuff is delicious and has 285 calories,  some other brands have more than double)
  • ~1/3 of the included flavor packet
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • A few glugs of soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp gochujang (Korean red pepper paste)
  • 1/2 tbsp minced (not powdered!) ginger
  • 1/8 cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 carrot, thinly sliced
  • 1 spring onion/leek/scallion, thinly sliced
  • 1 raw egg, or 2oz tofu, or cooked protein of choice
1.  Add everything but the egg, noodles, and water to a non-stick.  Cook on medium until the cabbage reduces a bit, while you get out your bowl and chopsticks and drinks.
2. Add the water and the noodles, and stir and cook for another couple of minutes. When the veggies are soft --
3.  Add your egg or protein, stir until cooked.  Serve.

Serves 1 hungry young adult.

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