Who doesn't love ramen? No one. Because everyone loves ramen. It's cheap and easy to make. However, it is also unhealthy to eat. Because those little flavor packets that come with the noodles are heavy in salt and other processed powdered ingredients. Providing no real nutritional value.
But "Good news everyone!" (Prof. Farnsworth Voice). There is a way to make healthier ramen that is just as fast to cook. Using fairly cheap ingredients, for those who are frugal. Is an excellent candidate for meal prepping the week. But best of all. It only requires one pot to cook everything in. HOW AWESOME IS THAT!?
Traditionally ramen takes a fair amount of time to prep and cook. About 1-2 hours to make traditional ramen. Even though I love to cook. Taking my time to do everything perfectly and traditionally. Life and work have their ways of being exhausting, to where the time and energy to properly cook is just not there. So I was able to innovate a way to cook ramen faster and is just as tasty or even better than traditionally cooked ramen.
Let's get cooking to what I call my " Po'Boi Jerky Ramen ", pronounced as poor boy jerky ramen.
Step 1: Ingredients and Hardware
- Tomato Paste
- Jerky Meat
- Green Vegetable
- Worcestershire Sauce
- Sesame Oil
- Soy Sauce
- Garlic Clove
- Green Onion
- Curry Powder
- Dried Oregano
- Cyanne Pepper
- Noodle Tongs
- Boiling Pot
As you noticed, I didn't put exact measurements to be used. That is because not everyone will have the same taste as myself. Also it is always better to season your meal to your own liking. Mind you, that most of these ingredients can be interchangeable, subtracted or added to. But I will go over some things that are a must.
Must Haves - These ingredients are a must in order to make this ramen work. Jerky meat, noodles, bouillon, tomato paste, curry powder, egg, veggie, soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic and green onion.
Jerky Meat - The main focus of your ramen is the meat. In this case jerky meat. Reason being is that jerky meat is already pre-seasoned, dried and cured. Speeding up cooking time. That can be easily rehydrated and made tender again. Compared to fresh meat that will add 30+ minutes to cooking and prepping time. The jerky to use is entirely up to you. You can use beef, turkey, pork, chicken, etc jerky that you like. In any flavor that you like. Jerky can be bought almost anywhere. Costing as little as $2 for a small bag. Buy as much as you need for your meal that night. If you're meal prepping, you may want to buy a bigger bag or more bags.
Noodles - You can use any asian style noodles that you like. As long as they can be used in soups. Such as Udon, Soba, Somen, Rice Noodles, etc. You can even still use packaged ramen noodles if you tend to like those the best. Just throw away that seasoning packet. You can find asian noodles in every market. My personal favorites are Soba and Somen noodles. In this recipe I used Somen.
Veggies - For a veggie, any greens will work terrifically. The best I've found so far are either cabbage, baby bok choy, yellow squash or cucumber. Personally I love using 3 veggies. One being a leafy green and the other two being a cucumber and yellow squash. If you have a spiral slicer, I highly recommend using it on the cucumber and yellow squash. Of course you can use any veggies that you like.
Bouillon - When it comes to bouillon, I highly recommend staying away from the powdered stuff. As they are no better that those seasoning packets. You will find better results in using fresh bouillon paste/puree. The type of bouillon to use is all dependant on the type of jerky you're using. For example, if you're using beef jerky, you would want to use beef bouillon. Chicken/turkey jerky, you'd use chicken bouillon. And so on and so forth. Vegetable bouillon can be used with any meat.
Seasonings - Again, like the bouillon. You want to use sauces, herbs and spices that first, complements the type of meat you are using. Secondly, are sauces, herbs and spices that you find tasteful and are not allergic to. Make sure that you have a perfect balance between all your sauces, herbs and spices. As to much of either can throw the balance of the flavor in the ramen. Remember to have a sipping spoon handy, so that you may sample your soup during the seasoning process.
Bowl - The bowl you're going to use is either the one you are going to serve your ramen in, or the tupperware bowl container you use for your lunches. It can be any bowl of your choice. An actual ramen bowl, soup bowl, etc.
Step 2: Making the Broth
To make the broth, you want to fill the pot with about a bowl and a half to two bowls of water. Since this recipe is for one serving/bowl. Don't forget to adjust the amounts to accommodate for more servings/bowls.
Put the pot of water over medium to high heat. We want to get the water to a nice rolling boil.
While the water is warming up. Put in a tablespoon of bouillon paste/puree and a tablespoon of tomato paste. Stir a few times. Then put in a couple dashes of curry powder, or to liking. Along with a tablespoon of sesame oil and about 2 tablespoon to 1/4 cup of soy sauce. Again, put as much or as little according to your liking. Next, drop in 3 chopped green onions and 1 minced garlic. As for the rest of the spices, herbs and sauces. I put in either 2 - 3 shakes of spices and herbs, and about a tablespoon or so of sauces. Again, judge accordingly to your taste. Stir again a few times. Be sure to take a few taste tests during seasoning. Careful though, the broth is going to taste SO good that you'll find yourself constantly drinking your broth. At this point, the broth should be halfway warm and near close to a boil. All together, this should take about 5 - 10 minutes.
When the broth starts to boil. It is time to throw in your jerky meat of choice. I use about a cup or so of jerky meat myself. Once added in, give a couple stirs and let the jerky meat boil in for 4-8 minutes. Or when the jerky meat becomes half tender. During this process, the jerky meat will release additional flavoring and oils into the broth. Making it oh so delicious. At this point, it will be now ready to move onto the next step.
Step 3: Veggies and Egg
At this point, your broth is at a nice boil and is tasting so good. Now is the time to throw in your veggies of choice. For me, I used a cup of cabbaged. Which I sliced into nice thin strips.
You will now noticed after adding in the veggies, the broth is no longer boiling. Give it 2 minutes or so for the boiling to come back.
When everything is boiling again. You now want to add in your egg. You can fully beat, half beat or use a unbeaten egg. I did a half beaten egg myself. When adding the egg. You want to slowly drip in the egg as best as you can. Once the egg is fully in the broth. Give one quick stir and let it come back to a boil. Which should take another couple of minutes.
Step 4: Noodles and Plating
At this point it is now time to add the noodles. Have a timer on hand as the noodles will literally take 4-5 minutes to cook.
If you are using packaged instant type noodles. Carefully place them in the pot and fully submerge. Start the timer for 5 minutes.
Or if you decided to use stick noodles such as I did. place them in the pot upright like in the photo above. With a spoon or fork. You want to slowly and carefully push the rest of the noodles into the broth as they begin to soften up. Once the noodles are fully submerged. Start the timer for 5 minutes.
When the 5 minutes are up. Take your noodle tongs and remove the noodles, veggies and jerky meat from the broth. Plate your bowl/s with the noodles, veggies and jerky meat as shown in the photo above. If you are meal prepping for the week. Place the noodles, veggies and jerky meat into your tupperware bowl containers and place into the refrigerator quickly.
After removing everything from the broth. Grab your pot of broth or a ladle and fill your bowl/s up with broth. Barely covering the noodles. If you are meal prepping. Fill separate tupperware bowl containers with just the broth and place into the refrigerator.
Step 5: Conclusion
All together it should have taken you 15-30 minutes to cook a very delicious, nutritious and cheap ramen meal. On ingredients alone, I believe to only have spent roughly $20-$30. Which would yield about 20 single serving ramen meals. That once you first learn how to make homemade ramen. It is extremely difficult to not eat ramen every day or even just having one bowl.
For those who meal prepped their ramen. Reheating for lunch is super easy and no different than any other instant ramen. Place your container of ramen broth into the microwave for about 2 - 3 minutes on high. Once done, pour the broth into the other container holding the noodles, veggies and jerky meat. A minute or two after pouring the broth. It's now good and ready to eat.
Hope you all enjoy this simple and quick recipe. If there are any questions. Feel free to leave comments :)