Ramen-ish, 77p

Over the last few months I have been introduced to the wonders of London’s ramen bars by my lovely foodie friend Chriss, often when I’m in need of a pick me up, on of those days that can best be summed up like this:

And the first time we went, I forget where now and have trawled my Instagram account to try to jog my memory but didn’t upload any pics, I fell in love. Soft silky pork broth hugging slightly crunchy noodles, blanched green veggies, skinny slivers of onion, and tender meat falling apart in my chopsticks… Eggs with bright orange runny yolks, and an array of extras, like chilli oil, hot sauces, black garlic paste, to customise to my heart’s content.

Soon after, friends and readers started asking me for a ramen recipe. My eyes widened in horror: who was I to try to create the orgasmic utopia of my rainy-day experiences? No way. Not me. Ramen recipes are for Other People, I said. I couldn’t. Wouldn’t know where to begin. I tried to let you all down gently, but still the requests trickled in.

And then yesterday, dipping a spoon into my accidental three day beef stock, a quiet but insistent voice whispered: “Ra-men.” And again, “ramen ramen ramen ramen ramen go on you know you want to…”

So here I find myself today, dear readers, with my version of a ramen recipe. I’ve called it Ramen-ish, so as not to offend the professionals who take such glorious meticulous care over the authenticity of their ingredients, their bone-roasting, their 18 hour pork stocks, the dashi eggs, the things that make the proper experience so blissfully delicious… But this, if you can’t get yourself to a Tonkotsu or Bone Daddies, this comes a very close second.

Ramen-ish. Serves one at 77p.

250ml three-day beef stock, 12p ( http://agirlcalledjack.com/2015/04/11/three-day-beef-stock/ )
1 tsp soy sauce, 3p
1 tbsp Whoa F*ck dressing, 7p (http://agirlcalledjack.com/2015/04/11/whoa-fck-dressing-7p/ )
1 nest (50g) of dried noodles (try udon or soba if you want the proper experience but I’m an egg noodle girl, its Ramen-ish after all), 19p
Half a carrot (40g), 2p
1 large free range egg, 17p
1 spring onion, 5p
A fistful of fresh spinach (20g), 12p

First grab two saucepans, one for your noodles and one for your egg – the timings dictate that they will need to be cooked simultaneously, so have your wits about you, and a clock or other time-telling device to hand.

Decide which pan is which. The smaller one should ideally be your egg pan, if there’s a size difference. Pop water into your egg pan. Add the soy sauce, and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and leave sitting there simmering for a moment.

In the second pan, dollop in your stock and add 100ml water to loosen. Bring to the boil and reduce to a simmer.

Gently lower your egg into the egg pan, and your noodles into the noodle pan. Cook both for four minutes.

While cooking, ribbon your carrot with a vegetable peeler, then cut into thin strips. If you have a julienne peeler, use that instead, but they’re vicious on the old knuckles… Finely slice your onions and toss the white bits into the noodle pan to soften, reserving the green to garnish. Add the carrots to the noodles halfway through so they retain a bit of crunch.

Chop the spinach and the green part of the spring onions and leave to one side for a moment. Remove the egg from the pan and give it a quick blast of cold water. Peel it and halve it.

To assemble, pour the contents of the noodle pan into a bowl. Garnish with the greens, carefully place your egg on top, and dollop the dressing over the egg… And enjoy your bowl of comforting goodness… Yes the stock and dressing take a bit of prep, but you can keep both for a long time, and it’s all undeniably worth it…

Tip: For an even cheaper version, replace the noodles with the Basics kind at 25p a packet, but last time I had them they had changed the recipe and they err on the side of stodgy these days – although saying that I had them on their own, so they might come into their own in a great stock with some fresh veg to lift them… Also, if you didn’t make your own stock, you can get away with a chicken cube for this, but it won’t have the silky texture that a good ramen broth does; all depends on what your priorities are, and when I started blogging I’d have made this with a Basics stock cube and Basics noodles with tinned carrots and frozen spinach and considered myself lucky, so go right ahead. In fact, this might call for a separate Budget Ramen recipe all of its own…

Prices based on my last Sainsburys shop, correct at the time of blogging, but sadly subject to change as food prices do…

Light soy sauce 95p/150ml. Medium egg noodles £1.40/375g. Basics carrots 95p/1.5kg. Mixed weight free range eggs, £1/6. Spring onions 45p/100g. Fresh spinach £1.50/260g.

Jack Monroe. I’m on Twitter and Instagram @MxJackMonroe. If you like this then there’s a few hundred other recipes on this here blog, and books available to buy from lots of places but do consider supporting independent book shops and small businesses by buying from Hive Stores; check them out here: http://www.hive.co.uk/book/a-girl-called-jack-100-delicious-budget-recipes/18105011/


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  1. Yesss <3 I've been tootling about with different ways of making propper ramen for awhile now, and this looks like the perfect balance between "too much bother for a bowl of noodles" and "pot noodle" Thank you!

  2. Nova’s just asked the question I wanted to raise. I thought perhaps you were poaching the egg, until the mention of shelling it…..

  3. In graduate school I came up with what I called “Designer Ramen.”

    Cook half a package of Maruchan instant ramen noodles (Do you have this in the UK? Here in the US it’s 20 cents a package and ubiquitous college food. Keep the noodles and throw away the nasty seasoning packet.) in a small saucepan of water or stock if you have it. Splash on a bit of soy sauce, some garlic powder, a few drops of chili oil, and tofu if you’re feeling fancy. Cook for a minute, then add some frozen green peas, and any other odd vegetables that are getting wilty, cook for another minute, then tip into a bowl and top with a spoonful of sesame oil. Repeat as needed to feed admiring roommates.

    This was a great comfort food in school, and I still make it ten years later!

  4. I made this for my tea last night, and it was delish – thanks for the recipe Jack! I’m afraid I was my usual slobby self and turned the whole thing into a one pot dish by boiling the (previously washed) egg in with the noodles and everything else. There’s probably a very good reason why I shouldn’t do this, but I’ve been boiling eggs in my soup to have egg and soup for lunch for years now, and I’m still here (and aged 67). The nervous could use a floating poacher for the same effect. Mine cost £1 for two of them in the pound store.

  5. I believe that Wagamama (and probably others) use a lot of mise-en-place, and ramen is a place where it really works. You can have your cooked (but not too cooked) drained noodles sitting in a bowl with some of the veg, soft-boil (then plunge into water, peel, & sit) your egg, and then assemble it all at the end. So long as your broth is properly hot all will be well.
    The one in the picture I’ve linked to was made like this with the egg chopped and floated last.

  6. I made the ‘whoa f*ck’ dressing this evening and then did a spin on your ramen recipe. I’m vegequarian and my partner is lactose intolerant, so we have to think outside the box. I substituted the 3 day beef stock by putting a veg stock cube in some water with a bit of Marmite and some 5 spice to make it a bit more interesting. It worked really well.

    I also have to say, you have single-handedly got me cooking. I used to think scratch cooking was the preserve of uppity stepford wives with well stocked and equipped kitchens. It always seemed to me that if cooking for two, the ingredients would cost far more than the bottled/canned/packet or ready-to-eat version. My mother was a working single parent, so we were latchkey kids and dinner was whatever she could bung in the oven and ignore for half an hour when she got indoors. More recently, back when I was slowly starving to death on carer’s allowance, I stumbled upon your book and the intro promising cheap nutritious meals that required no great culinary knowledge or fancy equipment persuaded me to have a go.

    I now have a windowsill crammed with herbs and a chilli plant and a tiny galley kitchen with 1 cupboard full of cookware that keeps my partner and I in great food at a cost we can afford. The Jack ethos is unintimidating, uncomplicated and has completely revolutionised my approach to ingredients, cooking and if not ethical, then at least mindful consumerism. We can’t all afford organic, fair trade, sustainable produce but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t give some thought to what we’re buying.

    It’s no exaggeration to say that you really have changed my life.

    Thank you.

  7. Just made this recipient and its great! I substituted the stock for the cube sort but the dressing was well worth making! Thanks a million!

  8. This looks like a great Ramen (ish hehe) recipe, I’ll have to show the boyfriend – who eats both pork and eggs.
    I’m a veggie with a mild intolerance to eggs (so I can eat the noodles if I’m careful, but a whole egg is a bit much for me). Luckily I have my own veggie ramen (very very ish) recipe based on a happy accident.
    I fry some very finely chopped onion and boil the kettle, then put the onion in a small pan of water and half a stock cube (crumbled), some soy sauce and the crucial ingredient – ginger. I didn’t have fresh so used ground and accidentally slipped with the pot. This is how I discovered that this is incredible with slightly more ginger than you’d think wise – I put a heaped teaspoon in last time and it wasn’t quite as good as the accidental batch =P
    Then I add the noodles and whatever veg I have in the fridge – usually carrot (peeled into ribbons with the potato peeler) and something green (leek, spring onion and have spinach all been good) and then the other crucial ingredient- some very finely sliced mushroom.
    Then I just simmer until the noodles are cooked and tip it into a bowl (with a splash more soy sauce to taste) – it’s hot and warming and does wonders when I have a cold. Also it takes about 5 minutes to cook which is a bonus when I’m ill.
    If I’m feeling flush I buy some tofu to fry and add to this recipe, when I’m not I quite like it with toasted nuts or seeds (I buy ’em at Lidl so they are cheap staples for me) – just for some extra protein.

  9. I got hold of some reduced yellow-sticker pork belly and fried it on both sides in paprika and black pepper, then popped in the oven for 20 minutes and served it sliced up over the top of this. Absolute heaven. Just like W*gamamas at home.

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