It always felt like my parents were early adopters to the whole health-food kick of the 1980s. If you weren’t around then… or you weren’t old enough to be scarred by tofu-heavy dinners, you might not understand. Health food in the 1980’s was all about tofu and strange rices. That’s my 6 year old self using the word ‘strange’ to describe what was like just brown or black rice… more toothsome and nutritious and, to my horror, not nearly as buttered as white rice. The saving grace of the 1980s health food epidemic (fast and loose with the vocabulary), is that no one stopped to think that cheese might not be good for us (so we ate a lot of cheese thank goodness), and also… the whole dang saga might have taught me fine, borderline good eating habits. I’m such a troll for complaining.
All of that to say that, really all I wanted- what would have made me feel like a Child Queen- was a 25 cent pack of instant ramen. So salty, carby, satisfying and delicious. How ungrateful is that?
Now is the time when I thank my parents for spending their hard earned money- more than 25 cents of it- on food for our family, and then also let them know that instant ramen is now my guilty pleasure because dang that salty bite is good and I really have to think that they agree somewhere deep down on the inside.
Here’s my homemade + store-bought version of Ramen for dinner inspired by my salty tooth and my maj Tracy.
Here’s what you’ll need for this ramen dinner:
• Vegetables for roasting: things like carrots, zucchini, onions, garlic, mushrooms… think about what vegetables you like roasted and go for it. You’re the boss of you and all those vegetables you bought.
• Chicken stock, or beef or vegetable, or turkey. Turkey stock is my absolute favorite, followed closely by this homemade mushroom stock.
• Instant Ramen Noodles. I used the sort that come in the 25 cent package with a very salty seasoning pack. Seasoning pack aside, the noodles cook quickly and keep their clever curl. They’re familiar and so satisfying to gobble.
• Leftover takeout chopsticks. Essential, really. I knew I had a drawer full of those dang things for a reason.
• Soy sauce (for that umami saltiness), fish sauce (because we all just trust the process), and a troubling amount of chili paste (again, because we trust the very spicy process). This is the kind of dish that is flavorful and spicy… so spicy that you have to keep eating it in order to manage the hot hot hot. Know what I mean? Bring it on.
• Seaweed sprinkles for topping because what is dinner without a damn garnish?
I feel like roasting vegetables is always a worthwhile, satisfying, menagerie of color and flavor.
That’s the second time I’ve used the word menagerie today and both times I think I’ve used it incorrectly. There’s just no stopping me.
Once the vegetables are roasted to brown and softened, it’ll be hard to not to eat the entirety of them with two crab-like pincher fingers straight from the baking tray. If a few of the roasted vegetables survive the binge we’ll add them to the ramen bowls.
This ramen is more noodles that broth (my preferred proportions) with a hard boiled egg, and a very good (almost) handful of crushed dried seaweed.
It’s totally hold-the-bowl-up-to-your-face slurpable and satisfying.
Other equally satisfying Bowls of Food include:
- 1/2 of a medium yellow onion, peeled and sliced
- 3 carrots, peeled and sliced into rounds
- 1 green zucchini, sliced into half moons
- 2 handfuls of cremini mushrooms, halved
- 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
- olive oil + sea salt + black pepper
- 2 packs dried instant ramen noodles, seasoning pack discarded
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons fish sauce
- 3 teaspoons chili paste sauce (sambal), less if you don't want it spicy
- 2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and sliced in half
- seaweed flakes
- Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread all of the sliced and diced vegetables in a single layer across the sheetpan. Drizzle generously with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss to coat evenly.
- Bake for 15 minutes, remove from the oven and toss the vegetables. Return to the oven and continue roasting until all of the vegetables are soften, sizzling, and beginning to brown, about 15 more minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
- To make the ramen, bring a medium pot of water to a boil Add the ramen noodle cubes, and cook until just softened through, about 2 minutes. Drain the boiling water and return the noodles to the pan.
- In a liquid measuring cup stir together chicken broth, soy sauce, fish sauce, and chili paste sauce (sambal). Pour the mixture into the pan over the noodles and heat over low heat to a simmer. Simmer for 3 minutes.
- To serve, divide the noodles and broth between two bowls. Top noodles with roasted vegetables, two egg halves, and seaweed crumbles. Enjoy warm.