From the "Friends, Ramens, Countrymen" site:

    First of all, Ramen is Japanese, or at least a word born in Japan. Although the true origin of the word is not yet identified, there are two theories: One is that in Hokkaido, the northern most island of Japan, where Sapporo-Ramen speaks for itself of its fine "al dente" noodles and rich soup often enhanced with "miso", fermented bean paste, and butter, there was a shop where ramen was allegedly invented (this calls for another heated discussion). The restaurant was a small Chinese eatery where the owner liked the sound of Chinese chefs calling out "hao-la!" or somesuch to mention the order is ready. The "la" is a grammatical element in Chinese indicating preterite (past) tense. Though the word alone doesn't mean anything whatsoever, the restaurant owner lady liked the cheerful sound of it and named her recent invention "La-Men" (Men means noodles).

I won't bother with the second theory, but i will say that ramen is a cheap (6/$1 at Stop and Shop) and underrated food, and if you don't use the broth powder, it's vegan! The noodles are awesome with any stirfry or added to other soups. Sometimes i just break them up and eat them plain (uncooked), like really curly crunchy crackers. A friend of mine who hiked the Appalachian Trail really liked them this way (light and no effort).

What ho, these disparaging remarks about Ramen?! Ramen is wonderful, if you doctor it up properly.

1) Add a package of ramen noodles (not the sauce!) to a can of Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup. It stretches the canned soup to three or four decent-sized servings, and the ramen soaks up the Campbell-y goodness quite nicely.

2) Add a raw egg to a pot of Ramen while it's "cooking". (Be quick though, as you've only got the three magical minutes.) The egg will cook and break apart, and in the end, you'll have a fairly reasonable facsimile of Egg Drop Soup.

3) Add some chopped green onions and some of those tasty Chun King crispy fried noodle things that come in a can to the top of a 12 cent bowl of ramen. Eat them with chopsticks. If you're on an all-nighter, you might even trick yourself into thinking you've got some mediocre Chinese takeout there. (well...ok. Extremely mediocre.)

I am no longer a starving college student, but I buy Ramen by the dozens because I really, really like it.

Ahh, that most inexpensive of foods, ramen noodles. I dedicate this shrine to thee! The starving college student need not starve! You can usually buy these things in bulk somewhere on campus, and they'll keep you cramming all night long. However, consuming half of a crate of ramen can cause you to cringe at the thought of meal time. This node is dedicated to home-brewed Ramen recipes, meant to extend the lifespan of your ramen supply.



Ramen Ham & Vegetable Soup


Ingredients


  • 1 package of Ramen
  • 1/2 cup sliced carrot
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 package cheapo brand small package of sliced ham, (or any other meat is fine, except maybe pastrami.)
  • 1/2 cup shredded cabbage
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
Cook onion in a small pan with a small amount of oil until it caramelizes (browns). Heat the water in a medium saucepan to boiling. Add the carrots and cabbage, cover and reduce heat to simmer for six minutes. Add onion, ramen noodles, ham, flavor packet, and frozen peas to pan, heat for three or four minutes, and serve.

Ramen Crunch

Ingredients

Remove noodles from wrapper, store flavor packet. Break off small piece of dried noodles, enjoy with a little hot mustard. Works better with "Cup Of Noodles" ramen, as the ramen is slightly thinner in these, and the added bonus of the flavoring added directly to the noodles themselves. However, who can afford the ten extra cents for this luxury?

Ramen Stir Fry

Ingredients

  • 1 package of Ramen
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 cup diced green pepper
  • 1egg
  • 1/2 package cheapo brand small package of sliced ham, (or any other meat is fine, except maybe pastrami.)

Cook Ramen noodles as per instructions on packet, then strain. Cook onions in medium stir-fry pan with a little oil until brown, add green pepper and egg. Scramble egg and cook. Add noodles and soy sauce, stir fry briefly for one minute. Enjoy!

The problem with this college staple is that it is hideously unhealthy; the store-bought kind at the very least is. Now i'm not a health food nut, nor am i in great shape, but think about this for a moment:

How do they get those noodles to stick together?

Never thought about that before, eh? The reason is that they dip them in oil, presumably coconut oil to get them to stay like that. Read the back of the packaging:

Serving size: i package
Fat: 20%

20 percent of your fat, for one day, from what looks like aome harmless pasta and a little salty mix. Yikes! Of course, they are 10 / $1.00 on special this week. I still bought 20.

Pure Ramen

Everyone has their own way of cooking Ramen. Mine just happens to be the most Pure (like the driven snow.) All other methods of ramen preparation are inferior.

These are the steps one must take to prepare an optimal bowl of Chicken Sesame ramen:

  1. Boil 2 cups water in a pan just deep enough so that when you place the ramen in the pot the water barely covers the ramen. Make sure you boil the ramen with the lid off. This is very important when creating the perfect bowl of broth.
  2. Before your water comes to a boil run your ramen under hot tap water for at least a minute. This takes off some of the starch holding it in that lovely shape and creates a superior bowl of broth. This is the most important step!
  3. When your water comes to a boil add your ramen. After 1 minute of boiling turn the ramen over. As it softens stir it a little.
  4. Take this opportunity to throw out the sesame oil packet they include-- it's shit. Go buy some high quality sesame oil at the store, you'll thank me and so will your ramen.
  5. Telling when your ramen is done is really an art, I can't describe my method accurately. It has to do with lifting the cooking ramen noodles out of the boiling water and observing the way they clump to the fork. Never taste your ramen noodles, this is a waste of time. When the ramen is perfect it should be soft but firm.
  6. Pour what's left of the water into your bowl and add the flavor packet. Never cook with the flavor packet in the water, this changes the flavor and creates inferior broth.
  7. Add your own sesame oil to taste.
  8. Enjoy a piping hot bowl of Ramen!

That's it. Ramen is all you need.

Boil two packages of ramen for 2 1/2 minutes.
While boiling, mix the flavor packets with 1-3 Tbs of butter on your plate. The real thing only, slightly softened.
Drain ramen thoroughly, turn onto plate, mix until evenly coated.
Serve in warm tortillas.

OK, I love starch and fat -- but it's far better than it sounds. Try it once, you will be converted. Mixing your cultures is one of the best ways to make food fresh and exciting. Put refried beans on your lefse! Dip your french fries in mayo! Eat Jell-o with chopsticks!

When I was in college I ate far too much Ramen and like many others I now loathe it. For a long time I just ate it with the flavor packet and water, then one day I happened across some recipes at a little web site called jerky.net and ended up obsessing over one of them.

This is that recipe. I believe jerky.net no longer serves the Ramen page, but I have a copy and will node the other recipes from it if there is any demand.


Overcast Afternoon

According to legend, this dish was first made after a large snowstorm, after waking up at 3:00 pm to a naturally drab day.

Ingredients

Prepare Ramen normally, without flavoring and drain the water. Add all other ingredients. Mix together.

Ramen Burger

Mmm.... grilled ramen.

  1. Take one ordinary ramen noodle block, store flavor packet.
  2. Prepare a marinade of goodness, usually involving hot sauce, chili powder, bbq sauce, or whatever you like.
  3. Place block of noodles on a grill, and brush marinade on noodles constantly, until it is grilled to perfection. Failure to keep ramen moist with sauce will result in ramen combustion.
  4. Place ramen block on bun, and dress to taste.

You can keep the flavoring packet for a nice addition to any salad you serve.

Chili Ramen

This is the way I generally prefer to eat ramen, it's very spicy.

Boil some ramen noodles in water, without stock or anything, and while it's cooking, put these things in a big bowl:

Just mix these all together until there's a fairly uniform paste on the bottom of the bowl. Drain your freshly cooked ramen, add to the bowl, and toss the sauce all over it.

Enjoy.

Last-ditch-effort-at-emptying-freezer Ramen

Ingredients:

  • 1 packet of Ramen
  • Single forlorn spring roll left in freezer
  • Half chicken-breast lying at a respectable distance from spring roll in freezer
  • 1 table spoon of any edible oil within reach
  • Any spicy sauce available..amount depends on taste but I find that three generous dashes suffice. Dry Chili is preferable but is an activist of the Great Disappearing Foodstuff Conspiracy in my kitchen so I'll leave that to individual Ramen fans around the world.
Cut chicken into small bits and pieces (around 1cm cubes is perfect). Fry this in the oil for about 4 minutes and then add two cups of water and wait for this to boil. When boiling add ramen and spring roll. The spring roll will (hopefully) open up in the violently boiling water, spilling it's delicious contents into your ramen mixture. Add spicy sauce towards the end to prevent it losing any of it's potency.

The trick to making really good Ramen it to use as little water as possible and put a cover on the container. That way the steam cooks the noodles and you can avoid the messy broth.

When you cook them this way you only have to use about a quarter to half of the flavoring packet, which is nice, because it cuts down on the saltiness of the noodles and makes them generally healthier.

Another perk to cooking them this way is, if you have a favorite flavor of Ramen (say, Shrimp), and the store is all out of that kind, but you have a whole bunch of half-full(or half-empty) flavor packets at home, you can put that in with the noodles from any packet and have your Shrimp-flavored Ramen.

Good luck, and enjoy!

With all due respect, the way to make "really good" Japanese ramen is to stay the hell away from instant ramen and make your own from scratch. Instant ramen bears about as much resemblance to real ramen as macaroni and cheese resembles lasagna.

First of all, raamen (ラーメン) in their current form are essentially a Japanese invention, although egg noodles in soup are certainly known throughout Asia. The word comes from Chinese 撈麺 (Mandarin lao1mian4), literally just "handmade noodles", and has been known in Japan since at least 1665. Things didn't change much until instant ramen was invented by Momofuku Ando of Nissin in 1958. While the original soup hasn't made too many inroads beyond Korea, the instant variety propagated throughout Asia in the blink of an eye, and to the college dorms of America and Europe only a moment later.

Enough lecturing, on with the show... the following recipe serves 4 and should be consumed immediately.

Simple Shoyu Raamen (醤油ラーメン)

Ingredients

  • 4 packs Chinese egg noodles
    • fresh if possible, but outside Japan you'll usually have to stick with dried and that's OK
  • 8 slices roast pork (aka yakibuta, chaashuu, char siu)
  • 1/2 long onion (Jp. naganegi, the closest thing in the English-speaking world is a leek)
  • 1/4 bunch spinach (optional, see below for possible substitutes)
  • Broth:
    • 6 cups water
    • 2 bouillon cubes (beef, pork, or chicken)
      • This is the easy way out, so if you have time and energy by all means prepare a real stock, preferably from pork. Without one, your results may be edible, but they will never be great.
    • 2 tbsp sake
    • 1 cm piece fresh ginger
    • the green (inedible) part of two long onions or one leek
  • Spice (per serving!):
Instructions

  1. Slice ginger. Cut green part of long onion into halves. Bring water, stock cubes, sake, ginger and green onion to boil in large pot. Keep on a rolling boil for about 5 minutes, then strain. Discard everything but the broth.
  2. Blanch spinach and drain. Squeeze out excess water and cut into 5-cm lengths. Slice white part of long onion thinly.
  3. Add spice to each individual serving bowl.
  4. Boil noodles for 3 minutes, then drain.
  5. Pour broth into bowls on top of the spice. Add noodles to soup, top with roast pork, spinach and thinly sliced long onion (the previously unused white part, that is).
Other options

The "Big Three" Japanese styles are:

  1. salty or shio ramen (塩ラーメン), which leaves out the soy
  2. soy or shoyu ramen (醤油ラーメン), as demonstrated here
  3. miso ramen (味噌ラーメン), a specialty of Sapporo
Clamoring for the number 4 spot are tonkotsu ramen, based on a strong dark pork stock and Nagasaki-style chanpon, with oodles of seafood. There are countless variations and every town and hamlet in Japan touts its own specialty. On top of the basic broth you can add mung bean sprouts (moyashi), bamboo shoot (menma), snow peas, shiitake, cabbage, sweet corn, nori, wakame... almost anything goes, including moderately weird ingredients like squid ink and butter.

Etiquette notes

Ramen should be consumed with much slurping gusto, preferably while reading a shounen manga so that you do not spray everybody in the vicinity with noodle juice. Almost-obligatory side orders are a half portion of gyoza (餃子) and a beer. In Japan, most ramen places (ramenya) worth their salt will offer you a free bowl of rice on the side if you ask, although then again, at a ramenya worth its salt the soup portion will be so humongous that you won't need to bother...

yet another starving college student adds her two bits....


Miso-Ramen

1 packet beef ramen
water
soy sauce
rice vinegar
sesame seeds
1 packet instant miso, any flavor.

prepare ramen as instructed on packet. Add 1 teaspoon sesamae seeds to water before starting. Boil 3 minutes, stir in flavoring, etc etc. THEN... add 1-2 teaspoons of soy sayce, a dash (between half and a full teaspoon) of rice vinegar, and the miso. Boil 1 minute longer. Serve immediately.

This yields a bowl of soup that doesn't taste like ramen, doesnt taste like miso, but is tasty and foodlike. The miso adds texture to the soup so it's just not a bowl of broth, and the sesame seeds release oil as they boil to give a richer soup as well. This recipe works just as well adding only the seasonings and not the miso. Of course it's no longer miso-ramen then, just a flavored, better bowl of ramen, but hey.


Chicken Noodle Ramen

1 packet chicken ramen
1 large/2 small can(s) chicken, white meat, in WATER, not oil.
pre-ooked carrot, celery, onion, or peas

Pour water off of chicken into a measuring cup. If it's not 2 cups, top off with water. Bring to a boil and prepare ramen noodles as usual in the juice/water mixture. About a minute before the noodles are done, add the chunks of canned chicken, veggies if you want them, and the flavor packet. Boil gently for remaining minute. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

You get a pretty decent chicken noodle soup this way. Using the chicken juice gives the noodles a tasty flavor and makes them release starch, thickening the broth just a bit. The chicken and veggies, of course, makes it seem like "real food". Not bad, although it still tastes a million times better on a campout than in your own kitchen.

Ramen is an excellent way to get rid of the leftovers in your refrigerator. There is a great basic recipe that can be used to make a surprisingly good meal that is cheap, simple, and helps to clear the fridge shelves. The amounts are, necessarily, imprecise - if that bothers some of you engineer types out there, then you have not read enough Dilbert cartoons!

Ingredients

Preparation

Boil the noodles for a minute or two in an imprecise but adequate volume of water. Turn the burner to low and drain the water out to about half the depth of the noodles. Set the saucepan back on the still-hot burner and break about half your eggs onto the noodles. (If you are using just one, skip this step.)

Let the eggs sit and begin to cook on the noodles. Dump in the chopped up meat, vegetables, teryaki sauce, and one-half of the flavor powder usually found in foil packets enclosed in the Ramen package. When the eggs have begun to solidify somewhat, stir everything up thoroughly. Turn off the burner, crack in any remaining eggs, stir thoroughly again, and set the saucepan to the side with a lid on for five minutes or so while you get bowls and spoons out and set the table.

This results in a reasonably thick, moist, and very tasty form of Ramen - if it seems congealed, just add some hot water to thin it slightly. It is also very quick and easy to prepare. It can be eaten with a fork or with chopsticks very easily as well, in fact a spoon is probably more difficult to use than other utensils.

My five minutes was up ten minutes ago! I'm hungry and my Ramen is waiting for me!

The sad thing about Ramen noodles is that many vegetarians chow down on varieties like Chile and Oriental, thinking they're free of meat. You'd think people with such restrictions would read the ingredients, but a surprising number of my friends have not. Most of the Maruchan and Top Ramen varieties, including the ones that don't have meat pictured on the cover, state quite clearly that they contain chicken or beef powder. So be careful. The only "safe" varieties I know of are mushroom, tomato, cheddar (hard to find), and shrimp (if, like many vegetarians, you eat seafood).

Of course, you can find strictly vegetarian gourmet ramen at certain health food and specialty stores, but it costs a dollar or so a pop. Kind of defeats the purpose of ramen noodles, don't you think? You might as well buy yourself an actual meal at those prices.

Ramen noodles

Ramen noodles are indeed a great thing and there are many variations (Ramen noodle salad, ramen noodles with bacon, ramen noodle chilli beef soup, etc - the list is almost endless. You can find more ramen noodle recipes by searching for "ramen" or looking on www.cooks.com). I thought it may be useful to add a recipe to make plain ramen noodles from scratch so that you can use it for the basis of whatever dish takes your fancy.

Ingredients
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of water
  • oil for frying (olive oil is not a good idea)

    Instructions
    Combine the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and break the eggs into it. Then, add the water. Mix it all together until it becomes pasta dough (all the ingredients should be well mixed). Leave the dough to air for 15-30 minutes and then roll it through your pasta machine (using an angel hair attachment). Heap your pasta onto a plate and allow it to dry for a couple of hours.

    Once dry, deep fry your pasta for around 6 minutes, turning once half-way through. Take it out and let it cool before boiling in salted water until they're tender. If you boil them for too long they'll go "rubbery" so keep checking them. And that's it! Simple.
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