(from End Times Recipes for the Whole Family, a fake cookbook I made up just now)
I guess it’s time I told you about Super Ramen.
I’m not entirely sure you can handle it, but it’s too good a thing not to share during Plague Time™, when you’re (as in, “I am”) looking in the cupboard while sighing deeply and talking to your (my) volleyball friend Wilson.
First, a stipulation: Ramen just made directly as-is from the package is Perfectly Barely Adequate. It is a dorm room staple because it is a perfectly barely adequate food item.
Super Ramen, on the other hand, is a substantial upgrade.
First, the BASE INGREDIENTS:
• A package of ramen. Better ramen is better, theoretically. (He posited, offering no evidence.)
• Ketchup. Yeah, I hear you: “Git a rope.” Listen, punk, no greater a food authority than Mark Bittman (NOTE: he’s a bigger food authority than you are, unless you’re Julia Child and this is a séance, in which case GREETINGS YOUR MAJESTY!) sings ketchup’s praises for “Asiany”-influenced dishes — this idea is stolen directly from his AMAZING Ketchup Braised Tofu recipe in “How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.” You will not know there is any ketchup in your soup; you will just think hey this is better.
• Toasted sesame oil. ALWAYS keep this amazing condiment on hand, in the same way that you should always have at least 3 months of expenses in your savings account, which you emphatically do not have and now here you are, eating ramen.
• Soy Sauce. Duh.
• Sriracha (correct) or your preferred (incorrect) hot sauce for Asiany dishes. (Frank’s RedHot is an inappropriate hot sauce for Asiany dishes. Fight me.)
If you only have the above, you’ve already got a hugely better bowl of ramen ahead of you.
But if you also have some OPTIONAL ADD-ON INGREDIENTS, you’ll be godlike; for example:
• Leftover cooked chicken, or whatever.
• Or pork. Or tofu. You got this!
EVEN MORE OPTIONAL: GARNISHES
In a More Perfect World, as opposed to Our Current World — which is not merely imperfect, but is sprawled fully-disheveled across a bus stop bench, shouting profanities at passersby — one would/could/should add:
• lime wedge squirt (delightful!)
• green stuff (scallions are divine, cilantro is lovely for Those In The Know, Thai basil or just Basil basil, etc.)
• whatever speaks to you: no one’s judging you here (unless, I mean, let’s not push it) (sez the guy telling you to put ketchup in your ramen)
1) While heating your noodle water (as per package directions), squirt a Very Decent Squooch of ketchup into your sufficiently-large Destination Bowl (the bowl you’ll be eating from; C’MON KEEP UP!). How much, you ask, reasonably. More than you might think! I’m fully guestimating that my squooches appear to be around 6ish OR MORE tablespoons. Be generous! Whatever, you really can’t go wrong here. BREATHE.
2) Grind some black pepper (“ThAt’S nOt In ThE iNgReDiEnT lIsT”: PEOPLE, IT’S PEPPER!) into your ketchup squooch. Grind in as much as you think is right. Wrong: grind some more, You Unbelievable Sissy.
3) Sprinkle the soup base packet, chock full of incredibly (MSG) wholesome (MSG) ingredients (MSG), into your ketchup/pepper squooch.
4) Also put any already-cooked add-ons (like that leftover chicken), into your Destination Bowl.
5) Once your water is boiling, put in the noodles. Don’t break them up. One minute into the (presumed 3 minute) cooking time, put raw broccoli florets on top of the intact “noodle raft” in the pot while they’re cooking, and cover the pot. They’ll be just right when the noodles are done. (Putting the florets on the floating noodle raft rather them just plopping them into the boiling water means they’ll be more steamed than boiled, as God ordained.) (Ignore any package directions to “stir the noodles” while cooking: madness.)
6) Any other veggie that needs cooking also needs to be added to the pot, either to the raft if they need steaming, or the water if they need more intense cooking.
7) When the time’s up, pour the noodles/veggies/etc. into the Destination Bowl. Stir stuff around like a crazy person!
8) À table (French, for “à table”) add your soy sauce, sesame oil (DON’T be shy with this!), and hot sauce to taste. More is better. More. More. Yes: more.
9) Put in all your lavish garnishes, you Crazy Sexy Person!
10) Eat your Ramen Of The Gods a.k.a. Super Ramen!