The 7 Minute-ish “Instant” Veggie Ramen Challenge

January 27, 2021.  Dear Daughters– This recipe is all about saving time and dishes by cooking the broth, noodles and eggs all in one pot. You can save even more time by skipping this post to see how to make this quick, tasty and nutritious recipe in the first ever Dad’s Dinner Diary Instagram Recipe Video.  Of course, I hope you have time and patience for both the video and this thoughtful post, but I realize life is full of difficult choices.

As much as you two have enjoyed eating my homemade food and making your own, you have also enjoyed the ease and decadence of a bit of  “EZ” food- starting with Kraft Mac and Cheese when you were younger and moving on to instant ramen now that you are away at school.  Still, I have always made the pitch that it doesn’t take all that much longer to make a better version of EZ food.  I’ve already given you an EZ homemade version of Kraft Mac and Cheese, with Lucky 7 Mac and Cheese that really takes no longer to make than Kraft Mac and Cheese, and now it’s time to give you an EZ and healthy (did you know most instant ramen noodles are fried?) homemade version of instant ramen.  

So many choices!

Instant ramen products are typically loaded with salt and fat and although they take just anywhere from 3 to 5 minutes to “make” they certainly don’t offer the taste and satisfaction that comes from the balanced broth, fresh vegetables and a luscious, soft cooked egg in this recipe.  I admit that it will take some practice to get close to the 7 minute mark and I want you to be careful, so don’t rush through this recipe as you learn to make it.  Even when I was very familiar with the recipe, I nicked my finger with a knife, felt the burn of boiling water now and again and bumped into your grandmother (she’s OK) while running (never run in the kitchen girls!) to get tongs.  That having been said, I do challenge you and hope you challenge a friend or two to make the best fresh, nutritious and fastest “instant” ramen you can safely make and share it on Instagram at “#7ishramen”!

GET YOUR STUFF OUT

  • The Broth, Eggs and Noodles.
  • 6 cups low or no sodium vegetable broth 
  • 2-3 tablespoons white or other miso paste, adjust based on salt in broth
  • 1-2 tablespoons low sodium soy or ponzu sauce, adjust based on salt in broth
  • 2 teaspoon or to taste Spicy Chili Crisp or your favorite hot sauce
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 ounces dried ramen noodles that cook in 6 minutes or less- we’re on a schedule here!
  • 1 medium sized bowl ice water
  • The Veggies.
  • 1-2 tablespoons canola or other neutral oil
  • 4 ounces shiitake or other mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced, reserving some green for garnish if you like
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated on a microplane
  • 1’ piece ginger, peeled and grated on a microplane
  • 8-10 ounces (about 2 heads) baby boy chow, baby baby spinach or other tender green
  • The Garnish.
  • 4 small squares of toasted nori, from a package or cut your own
  • 1-2 radishes, thinly sliced
  • Furikake Seasoning (Japanese seasoning with sesame seeds, seaweed and sometimes dry fish and other ingredients)

COOK AND PLAY

This Mission Impossible montage plays for 6:37 minutes, which makes for a great egg timer and the iconic “dun dun dada Dun …”  theme music comes back at the 5:15 mark to kick you into overdrive while you finish up the recipe- it really gets the blood pumping!  On the other hand, this is when I almost ran your grandmother over while I was zipping around the kitchen. 

7 Minute-ish Strategy Note.  The recipe below is written in two sequential steps for ease of understanding, but If you’re up for the challenge of cooking this in 7-ish minutes, you will need to cook the broth and veggies simultaneously- one pot for the broth, noodles and eggs and another pot next door to sear the veggies for extra flavor- once you remove the cooked eggs and noodles (set timers to avoid overcooking) from the Broth Pot, you pour the broth into the Veggie Pot.  It’s less stressful and dangerous to prep your veggies as the broth comes to a boil and we don't count that time because instant ramen doesn't!  If you’re up for the challenge, feel free to prep once you get the eggs and noodles in the broth- it’s a very exciting and even dangerous balancing act, especially with the Mission Impossible music playing in the background. 
  1. Broth Pot.  Add vegetable broth, miso, soy sauce and Spicy Chili Crisp to a large pot, stir and bring to a boil.  As soon as it comes to a boil, add eggs and ramen, set two timers- one for the ramen (time according to package) and one for the eggs (6 minutes for runny eggs or to your food safety and taste preference)- and adjust heat to a vigorous simmer.  Once cooked, portion noodles into two bowls and eggs into ice water to cool for peeling- reserve broth.  Peel eggs and set aside.
  2. Veggie Pot.  Add oil to preheated large pot, add mushrooms and cook over high heat until golden brown on both sides, about 2-3 minutes.  Add scallions, cook for a minute and then add bok choy and cook everything for another 2-3 minutes.   Stir in garlic and ginger for the last minute or so of cooking.  Carefully pour broth into Veggie Pot.
  3. The Ramen Bowl.  Portion broth and veggies into each bowl over noodles.  Garnish with egg, cut in half, nori squares, radish slices, reserved scallion slices and Furikake Seasoning.
Up close and personal with the Broth Pot
A nice serving of vegetables!

An Even Quicker, But Less Nuanced and Attractive, 4 Minute-ish Hot Pot Ramen.  This may be the sleeper, Side B hit of this recipe if the people want an even faster ramen- once you have your broth flavored and up to a nice simmer, cook everything in it!  In this recipe, I used 3 minute cooking, dried ramen noodles, so they went into the simmering broth all at once with 2 cracked eggs (think poaching, which only takes about 2-3 minutes for runny eggs) and very thinly sliced veggies. Take the eggs out into a small side bowl when they’re done to your likeness and once the noodles are cooked, the very thinly sliced veggies will be cooked, so portion it all into serving bowls to be topped with the eggs and whatever other garnish you like!

Everybody into the pool!
This Hot Pot Ramen is topped with fake crab and and sliced grape tomatoes.

THE LECTURE

Make Your Best “Instant” Ramen.  With nothing but love for authentic ramen, which features a mind blowingly complex broth, simmered for hours, this recipe is a respectful tribute inspired by such a wonderful dish.  Keeping that in mind, it’s also a dish that has produced countless variations in and outside of Japan, so take the time to make this recipe your own.  Vary the components “as you wish” and here are a few suggestions to get you thinking.   Broth.  Mushroom, seafood or chicken broth flavored with Nooch, dried mushroom powder or kombu.  Noodles. Whole wheat linguine, udon or soba noodles, chickpea noodles, or even “Zoodles”. The “Meat”.  Tofu, shrimp, crab, thinly sliced fish or other animal protein.  Thinly sliced Swiss Chard or a multitude of other thinly sliced, seasonal greens/veggies. Garnish. Fresh or frozen corn, grated rainbow carrots- or what about poke? Also, keep in mind that 4 out of 5 Dads recommend a soft cooked egg as a garnish. 

Use Your Noodle.  There are three types of ramen noodles- fresh, dried and instant.  To make your ramen more nutritious, avoid instant noodles, which most likely have about six times the fat of fresh or dried since most instant ramen is fried as part of its processing.  Even better, use veggie, kelp, Shirataki, whole wheat, buck wheat or other more nutritious alternatives.

Greens That “Melt” In Your Soup Not in Your Hands.  One of the easiest and quickest ways to make your ramen, soup, stews, risottos, curries, etc. even healthier is by adding delicate greens that “melt” into your dish in no time at all.  You can even add heartier greens, as long as they are very thinly sliced and you increase the cooking time a minute or two.  

The Instant Ramen Confessions of a Dad. I will admit on occasion I indulge in Instant Ramen Mac and Cheese, which is clearly a Dad “Recipe”. It’s based on a David Chang “recipe” I recall, but can’t find, from years ago. All you need to do is immediately throw the salt bomb of a seasoning package in the trash and cook the instant ramen to al dente based on taste. You only want a bit of water in the noodles after they’re cooked, so pour off any excess beyond that and mix in a slice or two of Kraft or other Cheese Singles, with a few shakes of your favorite hot sauce, until everything happily melts into a creamy cheese sauce. You see, processed cheese singles contain the magical ingredient, sodium citrate, that cutting edge molecular gastronomers use to make cheese sauce out of any cheese and water- to think you can get all that magic in the common processed cheese slice!

Keyword: Asian Inspired, Ramen, Soups, Fast Food, Fun Food

© 2021 All rights reserved.  Dad’s Dinner Diary

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