If you toss out the flavor packet (too much salt), packaged ramen noodles can be the basis of a reasonable emergency meal. I proved it last night when I was scrambling to get dinner on the table and discovered two lonely packages of ramen noodles at the back of a pantry shelf. They were just what I needed for the leftover pork stir-fry I wanted to make.
I’ve always been a big noodle lover, and I could live on Spaghetti and Garlic Sauce. Until recently I fixated on the many varieties of Italian noodles. But most of them take so long to cook. Ramen noodles are ready in 3 minutes.
I never ate Ramen Noodle Soup in college because I was on a meal plan, but apparently my cookbook/co-author/son was a whiz at making it. Now it was my turn. He was right. The only way to mess up ramen noodles is to overcook them.
Now a whole new noodle world is opening up for me. I have a lot to learn, including how ramen noodles, soba noodles, udon noodles and sōmen noodles differ.
Spicy Ramen Noodles – serves 3-4
2 3-ounce packages ramen noodle soup (discard the flavor packet)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
4 scallions, cut into 1/4-inch slices
3 tablespoons peanut or canola oil + more if needed
1 large red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup leftover cooked pork, beef, chicken, shrimp or tofu, cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 - 1 cup edamame, green peas or cooked asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
Half-fill a medium pot with water and bring it to a boil over high heat. Add the ramen noodles and cook for 1 minute. Immediate drain and run them under cold water to stop the cooking process. Separate the noodles, put them in a bowl and set aside.
Combine the soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, garlic and black pepper in a small bowl and set aside.
Add 1 tablespoon peanut or canola oil to a wok or large frying pan and begin heating over high heat. When hot, add the red bell pepper slices and stir-fry for about 2 minutes, or until they begin to soften.
Transfer them to a large plate, return the wok or frying pan to the fire and add 2 tablespoons peanut or canola oil. When the oil is hot, add the soy sauce mixture and the partly cooked noodles. Stir-fry until the noodles are covered in sauce.
Add the beaten egg and continue stir-frying until it has been absorbed by the noodles. Return the cooked red bell pepper pieces to the pot. Add the meat and vegetables and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes, or until the whole mixture is hot. Transfer to a large bowl or platter and serve immediately.For easy recipes, get a copy of "Help! My Apartment Has a Kitchen!"