One of the ongoing themes of this blog is to choose your battles, both culinarily and otherwise. Not every meal at our house is scratch cooked gourmet food. However, I try to have things on hand that make it easy to eat well, even if I'm just opening a package. A little bit of stockpiled food goes a long way, and adding a little meat and a few veggies can take something from a health hazard to a well-rounded meal.
This dish falls somewhere in the middle between real ramen, and that nasty stuff you used to eat in college. Real ramen is a glorious brothy wonder that takes hours to make. Pork bones are slowly simmered, broth created, noodles made fresh on the spot. I eat mounds of it every winter, but I've never made it, it's too much work. I have a couple ramen-ya in the area that I rotate through, each with their own specialty. Packet ramen, on the other hand, is a tragic pile of sodium and fat, with not a vitamin in sight to redeem it. The high end ramen you can get in Asian markets is closer to the former than the latter. It takes about as long as packet ramen, but has less fat, surprisingly good noodles, and comes with real pork goodness. It requires you to have high quality pre-made ramen on hand, but it's almost as good as going out for ramen, is actually faster than getting takeout, and doesn't require you to bundle up children into the car, or leave work before 10 PM when the ramen shops are open. It's also a great dish to blog about when you've had a long day, and minimal time to cook and shoot.
Ramen with Chashu
Time: 10 minutes
Planning Ahead: Needs chashu
The Funny Stuff: Real ramen, nori
Virtues: 10 minutes of effort, lots of vitamins from the nori
Downsides: Requires real ramen, reminds you of being a starving student.
4 oz of chashu, which you have already made
1 2 serving packet of high quality tonkotsu ramen
1 sheet nori
1 green onion, sliced
Compare your tonkotsu ramen to Maruchan. Notice how it is not insanely fatty, and has a realistic serving size. (2 servings per noodle block? Please.)
Chop some squash and put it in a bowl, so you can tell your mom you ate your vegetables. Pop it in the microwave, loosely covered, for 7 minutes.
Follow directions on ramen packet. Boil, mix broth, put noodles in broth, etc. Slice some chashu and green onions. Place chashu, green onions, and a half sheet of nori on each bowl.
Chop some squash and chashu for baby.
Eat dinner and go to bed.
Photo credits to Aaron Wood and Aleatha Parker-Wood.