Ramen has a rap about it being a cheap as dirt staple of starving students. While absolutely true, it makes a very tasty base for more upscale dinners. I like poaching an egg or two in the broth. I put a daub of sambal in mine.You could leave the egg in the simmering broth long enough to get beyond the runny yolk phase but that is not something I would do. The yolk adds a richness to the broth that is hard to beat.
Just a quick bowl of ramen noodles for a single serving lunch, Mrs J being away doing her shift at the pet shelter. I softened dried red peppers and a few dried shiitake mushrooms in a sauce pan with shaved bonito, chicken broth, minced garlic and ginger and then strained the broth. The noodles went into the strained broth with the red peppers and sliced mushroom caps along with a few slices of onion. The roasted pork was added just to warm it and then the lot was transferred to the bowl and garnished.
Occasionally I have a yen for ramen noodles so I try to keep a few packages in the cupboard. Fast and easy meals. This one has some of that brisket that has been featured here lately, a little Chinese cabbage that I bought the last time I was at my favorite Asian grocery, a broth made with shaved bonito flakes and dried kelp, the seasoning packets from the ramen, a spoonful of chili garlic paste, and some fresh onion and jalapeno. I asked Mrs J if she wanted some but she declined, instead having a snack of chips and dip.
Not much to this, just a basic ramen with some additions. I tossed some dried red peppers into the chicken broth to simmer along with a few dried shiitakes. When the mushrooms were tender I sliced them and then added the package of noodles and a few pieces of roast pork from the freezer. There are all sorts of amendments possible with these sorts of quick dishes: Various vegetables like carrots and broccoli, onions, bean sprouts, or water chestnuts all come immediately to mind. Of course, chili garlic paste goes with just about anything.
I started this as a tryout of the pot stickers and the meal evolved a bit from there. Let me just say that the dumplings were bought frozen in a bag and all I did was follow the directions. They were a smashing success! Best frozen ones we have ever eaten (not that our experience is extensive). This makes the forth or fifth try of different makes of dumplings, we’ll be getting these again.
[Ed. to add:] The pot stickers are a Wei-Chuan brand pre-steamed pork and vegetable item from the frozen foods aisle at my favorite International grocery.
Now, the noodles. Spicy! Easy enough to see the red chilies but what lurks under the sauce is the real kicker. Szechuan peppercorn-lots of ’em. Ground in a mortar along with a heaping helping of crushed red pepper flakes. And a generous dollop of chili-garlic paste. Mercy. That all is with a generous slug of oyster sauce, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame seeds, and water. I used the same stuff for the dipping sauce, the noodles were thickened with a bit of corn starch and beef broth. In with the noodles is a sliced onion, and a few sliced shiitake mushrooms, re-hydrated from dried.