It’s a funny thing, Ramen. Ask anyone who grew yup in a traditional Asian home and they’ll tell you, it’s a household staple, just like the American version of macaroni and cheese. You eat it when your poor, you eat it when you’re rich, and all the times in between, it’s not a monetary-based decision. It’s a year round love affair to be sure, as on hot 80+ degree days you’ll find my husband and kids (as well as me) enjoying a bowl. So…what makes it so great and why does everyone in America think it’s only for those who are financially challenged??
Well, I don’t know how YOU eat your ramen, but I was quite shocked to hear my husband tell me when we first met that he HATED it! Our relationship was doomed, I just knew it…until I made it one day and insisted he try some. I just wasn’t willing to accept that he didn’t like it, maybe it was the brand he grew up on?? So I placed the bowl in front of him and he looks at me with a “what is this??’ look on his face. Umm…it’s ramen with sliced beef and broccoli in it (my favorite kind). And so funny, he tells me “ramen is usually plain…just noodles and broth”, which made me laugh so hard! Not that plain ramen is bad, as given the right spices and cooking method plain ramen kicks butt (drained, add in spice packet, a little sesame oil and hot pepper), but who would eat their ramen plain all the time when so many great things can go into it?!? After one taste my husband was HOOKED. I think I made it for him 3 times the first week, he loved it that much! To this day I still poke fun at him for telling me he “hates” ramen and that it’s for “poor” people. That and bringing home “La Choy” soy sauce and trying to pass it off as real soy sauce, ha!
So if you’ve never tried your ramen with a fixings, I encourage you to! It’s a quick and easy soup to prepare, affordable, and really tasty once you find the combination you like. To get specific, I grew up on the “kung-fu” brand of ramen, which is a common household brand, able to be purchased at pretty much any Asian grocery store, at least all of the ones I’ve been to in MN. My favorite flavor is Beef, as that seems to go well with whatever I put in. As for mix-ins, you just add them in according to how long they need to be cooked. I usually do beed and broccoli and add them both in maybe the last minute of cooking, as I don’t like my broccoli too soft.
There are tons of other things you can add in, it’s almost like an “everything buy the kitchen sink” type of soup, which makes it a GREAT way to incorporate leftovers. got grilled meat leftover from yesterday’s cookout? ramen. how about that handful of veggies sitting in the fridge? ramen. Need a quick bowl of soup to warm you up? ramen! I’ve added in stuff like asparagus, cauliflower, cabbage, zucchini, sliced pork or beef, chicken, snow pea pods, poached eggs, etc… So if you’re the type that thinks ramen is just meant to be eaten plain and dislike it that way, try adding some of your favorite veggies and meats and see what happens!
And if you are feeling especially inspired, find out how sacred ramen really is by watching the movie “The Ramen Girl” starring Brittney Murphy.