Before I moved to San Francisco, my idea of ramen consisted of packets of Maruchan Ramen that you can buy for basically pennies. A college staple, these easy-to-make and cheap packets of ramen are riddled with sodium, monosodium glutamate (MSG), preservatives, and countless other mystery ingredients.
The first time I tried real ramen was at Ramen Underground in the Financial District. A big bowl of steaming, hot, spicy miso with noodles, spinach, mushrooms, and tofu, on a cold, rainy night, made for a blissful dinner.
I’m not saying that ramen served in restaurants is the healthiest, but it has to be better than what you get for about $0.50 at the grocery store. Last week, I decided to take a stab at making ramen at home – ensuring I knew exactly what is going into my dinner. I found an easy recipe from Damn Delicious and adapted it a bit, for a lovely, vegetable-full bowl of ramen.
I started off by heating up my favorite pot, a bright red, Le Creuset Stock Pot. I’ve used this pot to make pasta, soups, tomato sauce, rice, turkey brine, and tons of other recipes. It’s just the best. I highly recommend investing in one!
Once the oil heats up, add garlic and ginger and watch as your kitchen is filled with a fantastic aroma. I couldn’t even believe that 3 ingredients – sesame oil, ginger, and garlic could smell so good, but it really does. After a few minutes add the broth, water, soy sauce, and mushrooms. Next, the noodles. Then, the rest of the vegetables and you’re done!
If you’re feeling a heartier bowl, try adding some protein, such as tofu, meat or eggs. I added a hard boiled egg and it really just made the dish.
Now, hard boiled eggs can be tricky to make. Don’t cook it long enough and you can end up with a soft boiled or runny yolk, both good things, just not hard boiled. Over cook it and you can get an egg that is smelly and discolored, really unappetizing. A friend taught me a fail-safe way to hard boil eggs. Every time I’ve followed these steps, my eggs have come out perfectly; easy to peel and delicious. Try it for yourself:
Hard Boiled Eggs 101
Start by boiling a pot of water. Make sure the water is high enough to cover eggs.
Once water is boiling, slowly place eggs into water. Do not drop eggs into the pot – they will hit the bottom and break!
Boil eggs for 11 minutes. While eggs are cooking, fill a separate bowl with water and ice. You will use this to stop the eggs from continuing to cook after removed from boiling water.
After 11 minutes, remove eggs from pot and place in ice water. After 5 minutes remove shells and enjoy!
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
- 5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 4 1/2 cups water
- 8 oz mushrooms, chopped
- 2 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
- 9-10 oz YakiSoba noodles (no seasoning)
- 3 cups baby spinach
- 1 cup carrot, grated
- 2 tablespoons chopped green onions
- Over medium heat, heat oil in a large stockpot. Add garlic and ginger, and cook about 1-2 minutes.
- Mix in chicken broth, mushrooms, soy sauce and water. Bring to a boil and then reduce and simmer for 10 minutes, or until mushrooms have softened.
- Add noodles and cook for 5 minutes, or until noodles have cooked through.
- Stir in spinach, carrot and green onions and cook 3 minutes. Pour into bowls and top with hard boiled eggs if desired.