This afternoon's pick is sort of a bachelor's chow mein made from very simple ingredients. See, the ingredients are simple, but the key is the method of preparation. Perhaps even the tools are key. But I can imagine a real-live bachelor can pull this off with naught but a single soup pot, a frying pan, one big bowl, and one of those pairs of free wooden chopsticks swiped from his favorite takeout joint.
Bachelorette Chow Mein, Basic
- One pack of instant ramen, any flavor
- About 2 tbsp tangy sauce i.e. soy, oyster, or Korean BBQ marinade
- About 2 tbsp vegetable oil or butter
- Garlic and/or onion if you like
Steps to deliciousness:
1. Get a pot of water boiling! While it heats, fill up a large bowl with cold water.
2. When water is boiling add the ramen noodles without the flavor packet. Let it boil for maybe a minute.
3. In the meantime, mix tangy sauce with flavor packet and start heating the oil/butter in a pan on high heat.
4. Turn the ramen noodle brick once -- don't break it up. Let it boil another minute.
5. Take the noodle brick, now softened, out of the boiling water and blanch it in the bowl of cold water to stop the cooking process. This is what gives the chow mein its stiffness. Drain the bowl of almost all the water -- a couple teaspoons left of the starchy water is okay.
6. When the pan of oil is hot, add the tangy sauce, onions, garlic, and, finally, the noodles!
7. Be sure to stir thoroughly, frequently, and swiftly to evenly distribute heat, moisture, and flavor.
That's the super-simple recipe, really, just to show how you can use instant ramen to make pan-fried noodles. Of course, they won't be as crunchy or thick as good chow mein, but as a bachelor, you shouldn't complain anyhow.
To snazz it up and make a real hearty meal out of it, you can add meat and/or veggies. Sauté slices of meat in tangy sauce, garlic/ginger/onion and whatever if you like; steam and add some Asian-dish veggies like broccoli, snap peas, or bean sprouts. Bear in mind that because ramen's preparation is, by nature, quick and dirty, if you do add meat and/or veggies you should make sure they are prepared to nearly edible before added to the noodles in a stir fry. Better yet, steam and cook veggies and meat and serve atop the noodles to ensure both are cooked to proper doneness.
Addendum: About a half-teaspoon of sugar and a little bit more soy sauce, stirred in and around quickly, gives a nice little teriyaki glaze to noodles also. Or you can go Filipino style and top the whole thing with sliced boiled egg and crushed chicharrón.
Hooray for ramen!