When I was in elementary school, those Ichiban ramen noodles were a hot commodity. All the cool kids had them for lunch, which meant, of course, that I didn’t. My mom never let me take them for lunch, which in retrospect was a good thing because SODIUM, but at the time I greatly resented her for refusing to buy me those noodles.
I assume that parents packed those ramen noodles for their kids’ lunches because, aside from them being really cheap to buy, they believed their lovely children would mix them with water and make actual soup. In reality, though, all those kids did was crunch up the noodles, douse them in the salty flavour packets, and eat like salty chips. It sounds gross now, but at the time I was so jealous. It looked delicious.
Fast forward a few years to when I was a broke 18-year-old student who bought my own groceries. You can bet I bought those ramen noodles, because dammit, I was a grown up and I could do whatever I wanted. Take that, mom.
I mixed them with water, sure, but I also used those flavour packets. They were like crack. Back then I had no concept of a “balanced meal”.
Fast forward to now and I still buy those ramen noodles, but I ditch the pure sodium seasoning packets and just use the noodles. They’re so cheap (like 40 cents a pack!), they take 2 minutes to soften up, and I find it much more enjoyable (and healthy!) to make my own ramen with my own broth.
I’ve also discovered this Huy Fong (the makers of Sriracha) Chili Garlic Sauce, which I find 1000x better than the classic Sriracha. It has a bit more texture with actual chili flakes, and I find it a bit sweeter, a tad less spicy (but still very spicy!) with less of a chemically taste. It’s just… better. But if you’re a diehard Sriracha fan, by all means, use that instead!
To start, just saute some onions and red chili flakes in sesame oil until softened, then add in the garlic and ginger and some small pieces of diced pork (I actually used thickly sliced lunch meat!) and cook until the pork is crispy. Add the broth and water, bring to a boil, then add in the bok choy and cook until wilted. Add the noodles and cook for just a few minutes before serving, topped with crunchy carrots, jalapenos, green onions, and of course, lots of hot sauce.
The majority of the spice in this noodle bowl is in the toppings, added after everything has cooked, so that whoever’s eating can customize the level of heat. Some people, shockingly, don’t prefer spiciness, so I find it’s best to let the eater add the heat.
You really can use whatever veggies you have in your fridge, and I find leftover meat works best because it’s pre-cooked, so you don’t have to worry about it. Like I said, though, I used thickly sliced lunchmeat. It works, it’s pre-cooked, and it’s so easy.
Eat with chopsticks like a well-adjusted adult.
|Spicy Bok Choy Ramen with Pork|| |
- 2 Tbsp sesame oil
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- 1 Tbsp fresh ginger, grated
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ - 1 tsp red chili flakes
- 150 g diced pancetta/pork/bacon
- 4 cups veggie broth
- 2 cups water
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tsp rice wine vinegar
- 3 cup baby bok choy
- 3 packages ramen noodles, flavour packets discarded
- Chili garlic sauce, to serve
- Jalapenos, thinly sliced, to serve
- Carrots, julienned, to serve
- Green onions, to serve
- In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, saute onion in oil and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add ginger, garlic, chili flakes and pancetta. Stir well and cook for another 5 minutes until pancetta is crispy.
- Add broth, water, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and bok choy. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until bok choy has fully wilted, about 10 minutes.
- Add ramen noodles and let sit for 2-3 minutes until softened.
- Serve in a large bowl topped with lots of chili garlic sauce (or any hot sauce!), jalapenos, and carrots.