Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Souped-up Ramen

In celebration if the back to school season, what better to share than a recipe that includes ramen!  We all love ramen-style instant noodles, right?  It is so easy and cheap and delicious.. but let's be honest, these aren't that good for us.  The noodles themselves are loaded with salt and carbohydrates and often times fried as part processing.  Let's not even get started on that powdered flavoring packet.. WOW!
Well, unfortunately, I was feeling a bit under the weather this past weekend and ramen sounded really good.  I knew we had one package left in the cupboard and decided to go for it.  Still keeping my healthy head somewhat on my shoulders, I wanted to add flavor and a bit of real food as well as leaving out the powder seasoning all together.  Traditionally, ramen has always been served with additional items such as vegetables and meats.  It is not just noodles in flavored salted water.  I used this principle when creating my ramen dish.

Here's the run down

1 package Ramen Instant Noodles (flavor doesn't matter since we are skipping the powder)
1/4 cup carrot - diced (I used 2 good sized baby carrots)
2 scallions - sliced (reserve a bit of green tops for garnish)
1/4 cup of fresh sliced mushrooms (I used 2 medium button mushrooms as this is what I had on hand)
1/2 tablespoon of Sesame Oil
1/2 tablespoon Low Sodium Soy Sauce (if desired)

Boil water as per packed directions.
When water simmers, add scallions and oil.
Once boiling, add noodles, carrots and mushrooms.
Remove from heat when noodles are done (veggies should be done too)
Transfer to bowl and top with reserved scallions and soy sauce (if desired)

Now, one ramen packet contains two servings, but I can't recall ever just eating half of the block of noodles.  Also, I don't like the soup part and I usually drain it off and just eat the noodles (this was always part of my efforts to cut back on the sodium and modified itself into an 'I just like the noodles' enjoyment).  You can do either.  By adding the oil and scallions to the water, this flavor gets infused into the water before cooking the noodles.  You can also add a little salt to the water, of course.  The carrots and mushrooms add flavor and texture as well.  Mix it up and play with what you have on hand.  Feel free to add more or less than the suggested amounts of veggies above (by now I'm sure that you've figured out most of my recipes aren't rocket science).  These ingredients were what I had so in they went.   Oh and sesame oil should be available in the ethnic food section of your local grocery.  This is an ingredient than can be a bit pricey, but I find it's really good to have on hand, lasts a while and adds a ton of flavor to Asian themed dishes that I make (and I used it to make gelato a few weeks ago too!)

Wow, I just noticed that the 'suggested serving' photo on the package of ramen shows mushrooms, carrots and what might be scallions (maybe broccoli).  Who knew I was so genius?!?!

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