This is probably the meal we are making most often at our house right now. It all started back when Trey and I both got sick about two months ago. I was way more sick, not that it's a competition. 🙂 Anyway, we got into a ramen habit. This was Trey's idea, and it was genius. Warm, salty, brothy soup with comforting noodles floating among a few vegetables—sounds perfect basically anytime it's cold outside, but it especially hits the spot when you're not feeling well.
Of course, when you don't feel well, or if you are getting home late from work and feel pressed for time, then it can be easy to reach for a packet of instant ramen noodles. Honestly I think part of the appeal for me is it's something I ate in high school and college a lot, so there's a nostalgia factor going on. But man, there's pretty much ZERO nutrition in a meal like that. Which is no good if you plan to eat it often.
So this is my homemade hack version. It's way better for you since it's quickly made from scratch and actually contains real foods like spinach, garlic and ginger. But it's still super fast to make, and you can totally customize based on what veggies you have on hand.
1 tablespoon sesame oil
4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
2-3 teaspoons peeled, chopped ginger (probably about 1/3 of what is pictured above)
1/2 oz dried mushrooms (I really like porcini but shiitake are great too)
4 cups vegetable or fish stock (low sodium is preferred here)
1/2 to 1 cup water
1-2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon miso paste
4 oz Chinese noodles (usually sold in 8 oz packages, so you get two meals out of it)
1 cup packed spinach
1-2 tablespoons chopped green onion
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional, but do it)
First sauté the garlic and ginger in the sesame oil in a large pot over medium/high heat for 3-4 minutes until very fragrant. Add the stock, water and mushrooms. Reduce the heat to low/medium. Stir in the miso paste and soy sauce. I usually start with 1 tablespoon soy sauce here and I'll taste toward the end and add more if I think it needs it. Cover and let that cook for 4-5 minutes. This will soften the mushrooms a great deal.
Uncover, turn up the heat and add in the noodles. These will cook pretty quickly, usually in 4-5 minutes. Towards the end of this cook time, toss in the spinach and green onions. You can totally change out the spinach here for chopped kale or bok choy. You could also choose to add more veggies like matchstick carrots, bean sprouts or corn (among other things). Taste and add more soy sauce or the red pepper flakes if you want to add some heat.
Serve immediately as the noodles will continue to soak up stock. You can serve this alongside some hot tea, or, if you're trying to show off for friends, some hot sake. (I did this last month, so I'm sort of just making fun of myself here—thanks for bearing with me). There are SO many ways you can change it up to make it your own. This is just how we make it most often right now. Thanks for letting me share! xo. Emma
Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.