Maruchan? Nah. You can! Homemade Ramen Hack 101

“Cooking is love made edible.” ~ Michael Mullan

Let me start by saying these are old pics.  Prior to this new life as a food blogger, I was simply a food porn aficionado.  Therefore, I didn’t line up my ingredients and take pics because I was sick, tired, and hangry when I made this for the first time.  No worries, though.  I’ve made it while well since then, so I know for a fact that it’s GOOD.

The second thing to note is that ramen noodles are hard as hell to find.  Unless you have a decent Asian section in your grocery store or market nearby, it’s nearly impossible to find the right noodle.  Homemade ramen hack #1 (cheap, too): Buy packs of ramen!  Those 10-25 cent packs of Maruchan work just fine (or Top Ramen if that’s your wave).  One pack per person is a good measurement.  The flavor doesn’t matter.  You can buy whichever is on clearance.  Although if you buy the chicken flavor, you can use the packs to make chicken broth if you don’t have any homemade or canned on hand.  I don’t prefer my ramen to be extra soft, so once the water is boiling, I only cook them for 3 minutes on the nose.  Ramen that’s too soft doesn’t hold up to all the goodness that the broth will bring.  Trust me.  AL DENTE NOODLES ALWAYS PLEASE!

I know everybody likes to eat just the ramen with some broth and call it a day when at home, but what if you want that restaurant feel?  When you go to a restaurant, they pile your ramen high with fresh veggies, herbs, maybe a boiled egg (not on mine, but you know), and delicious, tender meat!  This brings me to homemade ramen hack #2: the rotisserie chicken.  You can definitely buy an uncooked one, lather it up in butter and olive oil, season it to the Gawds, and slow roast it in the oven at 250 degrees for a few hours…BUT if you don’t have that kind of time, spend $5 on that store-made chicken and shred that sucker up to go on top of your ramen.  Dark and white meat are applicable here.  I tend to roll with a mixture of both WITH skin (because who doesn’t like the texture of crispy chicken skin?  I mean really!).

The absolute best – and most homemade – thing about this ramen is homemade ramen hack #3: the broth!  For this broth, I started by sauteeing peeled and chopped fresh garlic and ginger in about 2 tbsp. of sesame oil (I tend to do two turns of the pot, which I’m estimating to be about 2 tbsp.).  Then, I added low sodium soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and chicken broth to the pot.  The more soup you plan to make, the more cups of chicken stock you should add.  I also seasoned the broth with black pepper and sea salt to taste.  To that, I added dried black shitake mushrooms.  Bring it to a boil over medium heat, and then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 10 minutes to rehydrate the mushrooms.  Once done, feel free to adjust any ingredients for taste.  To finish the broth, I added some chopped green onion.  Now you COULD cook the ramen noodles in the broth once it’s finished, but I find it’s better to cook them before and pour the hot broth over them.  The noodles absorb all the flavors in the broth and there’s less of a chance that you will overcook them.

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When the broth is done, it’s time to assemble your ramen!  Noodles in first.  Pour that broth over the top and let it sit for just a bit.  Chop or shred you some rotisserie chicken and sprinkle it atop the noodles and broth, along with a little more green onion for taste and color.  #PrettyFoodMatters.  Try it and let me know what you think.  I promise you that you’ll never just eat ramen out of the pack again.

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