A recipe for instant ramen? Don’t you just follow the directions on the package—boil water, dump in noodles and spice packets, and “stir occasionally”?
In the cookbook, “Koreatown”, Koreans have a ramen process that makes for a better bowl.
And Koreans should know, on average, South Koreans eat 80 bags per person annually. Most of that ramen is Shin Ramyun (shin means “spicy” in Korean, and ramyun is the Korean word for ramen, a Japanese word). The following step-by-step directions for preparing a standard four-ounce package of ramen was developed with Shin, but it will work with Japanese, Chinese and Malaysian brands as well.
1. BOIL THE WATER, ADD THE SEASONING PACKETS
Bring 2 ½ cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan over high heat. Add the soup base and vegetable mix. Boil for 1 minute.
2. DROP IN THE NOODLES—GENTLY
Add the whole disc of dried noodles. Do not break the noodles in half. I know it’s fun to break stuff, but you must resist. Instead, slip the noodles into the boiling broth and press them down with chopsticks or a fork to keep them submerged. Don’t stir the noodles—just keep them submerged. After 2 minutes, the noodles will soften and break apart.
3. FAN IT!
This is critical: I find that simply boiling the noodles for 4-5 minutes, as most ramen directions read, produces a limp and soggy noodle. To avoid this, you have to slow down the noodle’s cooking process while the broth continues to cook. The best way to do this: fan the noodles.
At the two minute mark, when the noodles have softened and come apart, pull the noodles from the broth and fan them for two minutes. The flow of air will stunt the cooking process, which gives the noodles a slightly more al dente texture.
No fan? Forgot the first grade skill of making one out of paper? You can use a pot lid, or even your hand.
4. PUT AN EGG ON IT
Return the now-cooled noodles to the broth and add your toppings. Next week I’ll go into the many, many ways to top instant ramen. For now, let’s focus on the classic. Crack a raw egg over the noodles, cover the pot, and boil for 30 seconds. Turn off the heat, cover and let sit for 30 seconds more. Serve immediately.
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