Ramen

Here’s another exceptionally tasty way to get lots more vegetables into your meals. Today is our youngest’s birthday so I made this especially for him. I really believe he thinks this is a better gift than cake. It’s another recipe that can be tailored for some of the leftovers in your fridge, or the vegetables in season. I usually make it with leftover chicken or thin pork chops, but we went with shrimp today in honor of the birthday boy. Add or subtract vegetables according to your tastes and availability.

There is a fair amount of prep involved, but all of the chopping could be done a day early, and then this comes together quickly. Inexpensive bags of dried ramen noodles are what we usually use, but rice noodles work also. To use rice noodles, prepare them while the broth is coming to a boil by laying them in a tray or shallow bowl and covering with boiling water. Let them sit in the water for about 10 minutes while the soup simmers, then drain and add them right before serving. To use ramen noodles, just break up the dry noodles a bit before adding them to the simmering soup. Save the seasoning packets. Depending on how much flavor is in your broth you may want to add one or two of the packets. Use two or three packets of ramen noodles, depending on how “soupy” you want this. We always use three. Chicken stock works well with chicken or pork. Vegetable stock works with any kind of protein.

I buy fresh ginger and cut it into 1″ pieces. These go into a ziplock bag and are stored in the freezer. Trim off the outer skin with a knife and grate the ginger. A 1″ piece will yield at least a tablespoon of grated ginger, just enough for most recipes. This is an easy way to take advantage of the superior taste of fresh ginger instead of powdered. Adding the ginger and garlic to the sautéed vegetables is usually when everybody comes into the kitchen to see what’s on the stove.

– Joan, 5 March 2021

Ramen

  • 1/2-1 lb. raw shrimp, peeled or 2-3 cups cooked chicken or pork chops, sliced thin and cut into pieces
  • chili or fire oil and olive oil for frying shrimp and sautéeing vegetables
  • 1 large onion, chopped (1½ cups)
  • 1 red pepper, chopped (1 cup)
  • 1 green pepper, chopped (1 cup)
  • 3 stalks celery, sliced ¼” thick (2 cups)
  • 3 carrots, julienned (2 cups)
  • 8 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced (1½-2 cups)
  • fresh broccoli florets (2 cups)
  • half of a 12-oz. bag of frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry, or 1 cup fresh spinach
  • 1″ piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated (about 1½ tablespoons)
  • 6 cloves fresh garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste concentrate
  • 1½ tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha sauce
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon celery salt
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 3 packages ramen noodles, or ½-¾ of 14-oz. package rice noodles
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1-2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • cilantro for garnish, optional

Chop all the vegetables. This can be done a day in advance. Onion, celery, and peppers can be stored together in a ziplock bag in the refrigerator. The mushrooms also can be cooked ahead and kept refrigerated in a covered container.

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of chile oil in a large heavy Dutch oven. Sauté shrimp till they’ve turned pink and show browned edges. Remove shrimp and set aside.

Add more olive oil if needed to sauté mushroom slices with a little salt and pepper if you haven’t done this step ahead of time. Remove mushrooms and set aside.

Add olive oil if needed and sauté onion, celery, and peppers until softened, about 5 minutes. While this is cooking use a small bowl and stir together the seasoning ingredients – tomato concentrate, soy sauce, sriracha, rice vinegar, basil, onion and garlic powders, celery salt. Set aside.

Add grated ginger and chopped garlic to the cooked onion and vegetables, stirring for about 1 minute.

Add chicken or vegetable stock and bring to a boil, then add julienned carrots, broccoli florets, and spinach. Add the seasoning mixture and simmer for about 5 minutes.

While the soup simmers, prepare rice noodles if you’re using those instead of ramen. Put them in a shallow tray or bowl and cover with boiling water. After 10 minutes, drain and add them to the hot soup along with cooked meat or shrimp. If using dry ramen noodles, break them up a bit before adding to the simmering soup with the protein. Cook about 3 minutes, just till ramen noodles are softened. Taste for seasoning and add a packet or two of the seasoning from the ramen packages (save any packets you don’t use, they’re a handy addition to lots of dishes). Stir in 2 tablespoons lime juice and 1-2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil. Serve immediately with chopped cilantro for garnish.

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