Source: original experiment
Preparation time: Under 10 minutes
Cooking time: About 15 minutes
Yield: About 4 servings
Disclaimer: Brand names in parentheses are the author's
recommendations for the best results, and should not be interpreted as
advertisements or other sorts of tie-ins.
- 1 chicken breast, sliced thin, or 1/4 pound of some other
uncooked meat (such as shrimp or beef)
- 1-2 tsp oriental chili paste
- 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup soy sauce (Kikkoman)
- 1 tbsp corn starch
- 1 8-ounce can sliced bamboo shoots (Sun Luck)
- 1 8-ounce can sliced water chestnuts (Sun Luck)
- 1 10-ounce can bean sprouts (Sun Luck)
- 3 green onions, chopped finely
- 1 package ramen noodles (the kind college students get for 15 cents
at the store, such as Marchuan or Top Ramen)
- Heat a large wok to medium-high.
- Combine meat, soy sauce, garlic, and chili paste. Stir occasionally
until meat is mostly cooked.
- Add corn starch and stir until the liquid is consistent.
- Add the cans of vegetables (without draining the liquid) and green onions,
allowing them to cover the meat.
- While allowing the wok's contents to come to a slow boil, in a separate
pot, prepare the ramen noodles as directed for a side dish (i.e.
drain when finished) EXCEPT don't add the "flavor" (a.k.a.
artificially-colored MSG) packet. (Don't worry about wasting the
flavor packet. The whole package of noodles only cost 15 cents,
remember? Maybe you have a friend or roommate who likes artificial
beef stock, if you're that environmentally-conscious.)
- Let the wok keep on boiling a little while but stir until it's well-mixed
and you can see that the meat is fit for consumption.
- Reduce the wok to a simmer, and add the ramen noodles. Stir until it's
- Eat. You may want to add more chili paste and/or Sri Racha chili sauce
(the spicy Vietnamese answer to ketchup), depending on your
tastes and pain thresholds. (Note: If you've never used these
ingredients before, don't be a macho idiot. Add a little bit at
a time, or you'll quickly ruin the flavor and think this recipe sucks.)
- Experiment with different vegetables. A good substitution is bok choi
(an Asian cabbage) instead of the water chestnuts.
- Alternatively, try bok choi instead of the ramen noodles; add it
along with the rest of the vegetables
- Drain the cans of vegetables before adding them to the wok, and this makes
a great stir-fry for chow mein or lo mein noodles. You may need to
leave out the corn starch. (This soup recipe actually started out as
an attempt at improvising pseudo-lo mein using ramen noodles, and for
some reason I decided not to drain the vegetables.)
- Leave out the corn starch for a thinner soup. Make it in larger quantities
with a wider variety of vegetables (and without the noodles) for a
Vietnamese-style soup. (For the proper Vietnamese flavor
the soy sauce should probably be left out as well, with the meat
cooked under vegetable, chicken, or beef broth.)
- Figure out some way of giving it a more constant specific heat, rather than
being way too hot for a long time then suddenly getting really cold
- Add a scrambled (but uncooked) egg while the soup is still boiling and
stir. Yum. (If you don't want to take the time and waste a bowl to
scramble the egg, you can just shake it really hard while it's still
in the shell, or use one of Ron Popeil's in-shell egg scramblers,
available on eBay.)