Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Guilty Pleasures: Instant Noodles

Last night, after a long bus ride from Boston back to NYC, I needed something comforting to eat. Something easy to make. And what else fits that descrition than a bowl of Top Ramen. For me, it really is a childhood comfort (like mac and cheese).

Growing up, it was always a treat to make some ramen for myself. It was easy. It tasted good. I didn't know any better. During my college years, when I ate it our of neccessity, I learned how to throw away the MSG packets and make it a tastier treat. When it comes down to it, anything you do to ramen, you can do to other staple asian carbs. You can replace it with rice or even better noodles, for the same price. But what you can't replicate is the texture of those noodles. Its that texture that brings me back to my childhood and that's always a good feeling.

What I love about this preperation is that I always end up with extra Japanese curry, which I end up eating with rice (another comfort food I enjoy). Adding parmeson to curry helps add an extra layer of creaminess. The grilled tomato is amazing in this dish. It adds a degree of freshness to a heavy dish, plus a little acidity and sweetness (from the burnt kosher salt). And who doesn't love a poached egg on top of anything.

Ramen with Japanese Curry; onions, grilled tomato, & poached egg

2 packages of Top Ramen
1 4.1 oz packet S&B Golden Curry Hot or any instant curry
1 handful Parmeson rinds (optional)
1 small onion halved and sliced
1 large tomato cut into 1 inch slices
1 large egg
2 handfuls grated Parmeson
3 cups water
1 tbsp hot oil
Kosher salt

Start off by melting some butter in a wok. Add the onions and cook until they became translucent. Add the water and bring to a boil. Add the curry paste(cut into small cubes) and some parmeson rinds(optional). Stir until paste breaks down and sauce becomes thick. Turn down the heat, keeping the curry at a simmer. At this point start working on the rest of the dish while keeping an eye on the curry, stirring occassionally.

Start a 2 pots of boiling water. one for the ramen and another to poach an egg.

Melt some butter in a pan. Cut a tomato into 3 large slices. Sprinkle a little bit of kosher salt on a flat side. Cook the tomato on the pan until you get a slight burn. Turn off the heat in the pan. Let the tomato rest.

Cook the ramen without the MSG packet. Drain. Mix in a little hot oil (pepper flakes soaked in oil). This will add some flavor to the noodles, while keeping them from clumping together.

Put the noodles in a bowl. Add some grated parm on top of the noodles. Pour some of the curry over the noodles and add more grated parm on top. Add the 'grilled' tomato. Poach the egg and add on top.


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