Ramen are Japanese wheat noodles. In Japan, ramen dishes are fine cuisine, and innovation is the name of the game. Ramen recipes are closely guarded secrets.
In the U.S., most ramen dishes comprise packaged ramen noodle soups. Known best as inexpensive fare for college students, there’s nothing inherently wrong with them. The hot, chewy noodles can provide almost as much comfort as a hug from mom. In these recessionary times, ramen is more than a hug: It’s a deal of a meal.
The bad rap of packaged ramen soup comes from the spice packet used to flavor the broth. What’s so bad about it? More often than not, beyond the dried soup ingredients, it includes an unconscionable amount of sodium, a cocktail of unpronounceable ingredients and a kick of MSG. Yikes.
The next time you come across a package of ramen soup, take it home, ditch the shady silver spice pack and improvise. There is no end to what you can add to the broth, so get creative and turn your ramen into “fine cuisine.”
Turn instant ramen noodles into something special. Photo © Olga Nayashkova | Fotolia.com
How about a little Ramen Carbonara? Render a quarter pound of diced pancetta in a pan. Cook the ramen according to the package instructions, using boiling water with a half a teaspoon of salt stirred in. When the ramen is cooked, add it to the pancetta with the pan on medium heat, and add one uncooked scrambled egg.
It’s important to stir constantly once the egg is in the pan, as this will allow it to coat the noodles rather than simply turning into scrambled eggs.
Finish with some grated Parmesan cheese and coarsely ground black pepper. And even though this sounds like dinner, it is more or less bacon and eggs, so feel free to eat it for breakfast.
FOOD 101: TYPES OF PASTA
Ramen is one of the many types of pasta made worldwide. Check out our Pasta Glossary for photos of many types of pasta.
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