DIY Ramen
September 30, 2014 9:53 AM   Subscribe

The Food Lab: Make Your Own Just-Add-Hot-Water Instant Noodles. "Wouldn't it be great if you could get all of the convenience and pleasure of instant noodles—the portability, the just-add-water cooking, the lunch-sized portions—but pack it full of fresh vegetables and real, honest-to-goodness flavor? Here's a secret: you can, and it's easier than you think."
posted by showbiz_liz (105 comments total) 111 users marked this as a favorite
 
Can someone just give J. Kenji López-Alt a MacArthur genius award
posted by HumanComplex at 10:04 AM on September 30, 2014 [48 favorites]


instant soup, requiring 2 hours of prep time the night before, made with fresh ingredients that won't last two weeks?


Where I come from, that's called "Leftovers"
posted by rebent at 10:11 AM on September 30, 2014 [81 favorites]


These are great! Soon, I will transition into an entirely mason-jar based diet...
posted by fermezporte at 10:11 AM on September 30, 2014 [5 favorites]


Soon, I will transition into an entirely mason-jar based diet

I smell a book deal in the offing, followed by a middling-lucrative promotional relationship with a certain jar manufacturer.
posted by aramaic at 10:15 AM on September 30, 2014 [6 favorites]


I was hoping this was going to be instructions for flash-frying your own instant ramen. This seems useful only in the odd case where you have a workplace with a refrigerator but not a microwave.
posted by Lazlo Hollyfeld at 10:18 AM on September 30, 2014 [9 favorites]


This is excellent, and I will not cease from waiting patiently until Waitrose starts stocking a hideously overpriced version.
posted by Devonian at 10:18 AM on September 30, 2014 [4 favorites]


Here's a secret: you can, and it's easier than you think.

Except, it's really not that easy is it? Tons of chopping, dicing, packing, pre-cooking the noodles ahead of time......
posted by JenThePro at 10:20 AM on September 30, 2014 [16 favorites]


I did this last night thanks to this post! I even took it out of the fridge this morning, but promptly forgot it on the kitchen counter. I amaze even myself sometimes.

Also rebent it took about 10 minutes minus the waiting time on the pasta. It was really quick to make 2.
posted by Carillon at 10:20 AM on September 30, 2014 [11 favorites]


this looks great, but is way too fancy to be considered something close to instant ramen. it's like a gourmet chef trying to recreate a McDonald's hamburger and fries.
posted by Bwithh at 10:20 AM on September 30, 2014 [6 favorites]


instant soup, requiring 2 hours of prep time the night before

It sounds, from the article, like you could prep 5 of these on a Sunday and use them all week. (Also you don't need to pre-cook the noodles if you use certain kinds of noodles.)

(Also why do people always talk about chopping things like it's a Herculean task? You all need to sharpen your dang knives.)
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:20 AM on September 30, 2014 [29 favorites]


My life is complete now.
posted by Melismata at 10:21 AM on September 30, 2014


I was hoping this was going to be instructions for flash-frying your own instant ramen.

YES
posted by Bwithh at 10:21 AM on September 30, 2014 [3 favorites]


These look really great, but I really would not call them a substitute for instant ramen. It's more like the original food of which ramen is the shelf-stable form.

Frankly, I like to keep bags of frozen stir-fry veggies on hand, and when I make ramen I toss in a handful of those, and then add an egg as I take it off the heat. Adds veggies and protein and you end up with a pretty decent veggie egg drop soup for basically pennies.
posted by hippybear at 10:22 AM on September 30, 2014 [11 favorites]


Yay! There's even a vegan option!

On Sundays, Shepherd and I do all our weekly veggie prep for the week (lunches/snacks/the sturdy stuff for dinners that can stay in a holding pattern), but I do understand how a lot of the stuff required to make this deliciousness happen is a bit daunting for folks. Not everyones wants or likes to chop veg or have the time to really invest in this idea as practical, but with the schedules and lives of people varying wildly, that's understandable.
posted by Kitteh at 10:26 AM on September 30, 2014 [2 favorites]


These look really great, but I really would not call them a substitute for instant ramen. It's more like the original food of which ramen is the shelf-stable form.

Yeah, I was going to stay, this is how people from Original Ramen Regions (Japan, or Indonesia/Malaysia if you're calling your ramen "mi goreng") tend to do it. If you're doing it Malaysian style you fry the stuff (hence "goreng").
posted by divabat at 10:28 AM on September 30, 2014 [3 favorites]


The thing is, stuff like this combines the wants and needs of disparate groups of people: the people who want something quick and convenient, and the people who enjoy cooking. The people who want something quick and convenient would have stopped reading this article 1/4 of the way through to log into grubhub and order something for dinner, while the people who enjoy cooking have paused to mentally calculate which of their vast stores of mason jars to use.
posted by poffin boffin at 10:30 AM on September 30, 2014 [25 favorites]


Finally, the All-Kosher as-good-as-the-asian-deli lunch I've been waiting for! And did you know most instant ramen/noodle cup flavors, even the vegetable ones, aren't kosher? And the ones that are, are terrible.
posted by Dreidl at 10:31 AM on September 30, 2014 [2 favorites]


I don't think anyone's going to thank the person who makes those kimchi noodles and keeps them in the office fridge until lunchtime. The core rule of eating in offices is no smelly foods, surely.
posted by ambrosen at 10:31 AM on September 30, 2014 [4 favorites]


The thing is, stuff like this combines the wants and needs of disparate groups of people: the people who want something quick and convenient, and the people who enjoy cooking

Nailed it!!!
posted by JenThePro at 10:34 AM on September 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


and then add an egg as I take it off the heat

what no

that's for udon soup not ramen, man.
posted by Hoopo at 10:38 AM on September 30, 2014


Well, people who enjoy cooking might still want something quick and convenient at lunch time. They are not mutually exclusive.
posted by tofu_crouton at 10:39 AM on September 30, 2014 [7 favorites]


I wish J. Kenji López-Alt would come hang out over here instead of Reddit. We're cooler! Right? Guys...?
posted by archagon at 10:40 AM on September 30, 2014 [9 favorites]


that's for udon soup not ramen, man.

That's for "how to eat ramen as a basic staple and not starve to death while feeling full".
posted by hippybear at 10:41 AM on September 30, 2014 [6 favorites]


This looks delicious. I need, crave and can handle a pretty good amount of salt, but Mr. FHT isn't built that way, and is much more careful about salt intake. Has anyone had any success making less-salty versions of this kind of thing?
posted by Flipping_Hades_Terwilliger at 10:43 AM on September 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


What Hoopo? Egg and ramen go together soo well. It's one of his tricks to upgrade the package stuff even!
posted by Carillon at 10:44 AM on September 30, 2014


Well, people who enjoy cooking might still want something quick and convenient at lunch time.

"Quick and convenient" are precisely why I have a tiffin-style thermos. My lunch prep in the morning usually is -

1. Microwave food.
2. Stuff in Tiffin containers.
3. Close lid.

And then for lunch, the prep is:

1. Open lid.
2. Nom.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:44 AM on September 30, 2014


Quick, someone send this link to Sarah Miller!
posted by grumpybear69 at 10:46 AM on September 30, 2014 [4 favorites]


Frankly, I like to keep bags of frozen stir-fry veggies on hand, and when I make ramen I toss in a handful of those, and then add an egg as I take it off the heat. Adds veggies and protein and you end up with a pretty decent veggie egg drop soup for basically pennies.

Yeah, I think this sort of "slightly enhanced ramen" is a better value. Some of those recipes use fresh-frozen yakisoba noodles which are pretty expensive. The whole theme of this page seems to be, add lots of real food to your ramen and you can't even tell it's ramen.

Well excuse me I know damn well when I'm eating ramen, because it's all I can afford. Here is one of my typical recipes: Open a can of green beans from the food bank (they always have green beans). Add to pot with liquid from can. Crush a block of 10 cent ramen into pot, add water if necessary. Boil for 3 minutes. Total cost: ten cents, a trip to the food bank, and every remaining shred of my human dignity.

Now here is my recipe for what I am eating for lunch right now, I had this same thing for 3 days in a row. In small saucepan, sautee 1/3 lb of hamburger ($1.33). Add water and dried vegetable packet to yakisoba ramen bowl ($0.75) and microwave for 10 minutes (I only have a 600 watt microwave so it takes forever). Now take a green pepper ($0.33 on sale) and chop it roughly, add to hamburger. Sautee peppers and hamburger, add to ramen when it's out of the microwave. Oh crap I forgot to add the flavor packet (I♥MSG). Total cost, $2.41, slightly under my lunch budget of $2.50.

But my supplies for luxury $2.50 ramen are gone, and so is my money. I will go to the food bank again today, for the first time in weeks. It looks like I'll have to subsist on the ten cent ramen for a while. Maybe I can scrimp on the enhancements and do a ramen lunch for around $1.25.
posted by charlie don't surf at 10:51 AM on September 30, 2014 [12 favorites]


Those refrigerated/frozen packs of yakisoba noodles are dope as hell.
posted by Juliet Banana at 10:52 AM on September 30, 2014 [3 favorites]


Since my poverty stricken PhD days I have been eating: supermarket own brand super noodles cooked in hot water with chopped up veg selection and then with a tin of cheap mackerel added towards the end of the 5 minutes of cooking time. Tastes fine, ticks boxes for veg and protein and even omega oils. Quick and cheap.
posted by biffa at 10:52 AM on September 30, 2014 [2 favorites]


While not really a substitute for the instant ramen packets, this is still a great way to throw together a fairly healthy and cheap lunch quickly.

It's also an idea that seems super obvious once you read about how it's done (everything that goes into soup, minus the hot water. Then add hot water when you want to eat.), but isn't something I've even thought about doing on my own, without the help of the magic packets of dehydrated veggies and fried noodles.
posted by Fig at 10:57 AM on September 30, 2014 [3 favorites]


Total cost: ten cents, a trip to the food bank, and every remaining shred of my human dignity.

I'd like to see a breakdown of what the home-made Ramen costs. Beef jerky, Shiitake mushrooms and organic scallions don't come cheap.
posted by Flashman at 10:58 AM on September 30, 2014 [4 favorites]


Here's a secret: you can, and it's easier than you think.

Apparently the secret is that I thought it was much easier than you thought I thought it was.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:06 AM on September 30, 2014 [14 favorites]


... organic scallions don't come cheap.

You may be right about the rest, but about this, you are wrong. All you need is a tiny planting pot, and about 2 cups of dirt. Wait until organic green onions are on sale, buy a pack, and chop 4 of the stalks down to about 6 inches long, stick the root ends an inch or 2 deep in the dirt, set by the window, and water liberally for a week or 2.

Prune carefully, and you get fresh organic green onions for at least 2-3 months. I suspect you could keep them going for a lot longer, but I keep going out of town and letting mine dry out.
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 11:07 AM on September 30, 2014 [6 favorites]


Joey - that still requires purchasing the initial outlay of organic scallions.

As well as the pot and the dirt.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:09 AM on September 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


still requires purchasing the initial outlay of organic scallions.

Yep, a cool $1.25 for the pack I bought yesterday. I'm probably going to buy a Bentley next, because I'm a high-roller now.
posted by aramaic at 11:11 AM on September 30, 2014 [6 favorites]


Apparently the secret is that I thought it was much easier than you thought I thought it was.

There are seven ingredients, four of which only require you to remove them from a package and add them to the jar. The other three require a minimal amount of knife work. So, yes, compared to buying a styrofoam Cup o'Noodles this is more work, but I am having a hard time figuring out a way to make this at home any easier than it has been presented.
posted by backseatpilot at 11:12 AM on September 30, 2014 [6 favorites]


You may be right about the rest, but about this, you are wrong. All you need is a tiny planting pot, and about 2 cups of dirt. Wait until organic green onions are on sale, buy a pack, and chop 4 of the stalks down to about 6 inches long, stick the root ends an inch or 2 deep in the dirt, set by the window, and water liberally for a week or 2.

I love how this easy homemade ramen lifehack now involves becoming an actual farmer.
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:15 AM on September 30, 2014 [74 favorites]


ok but for reals do you not see the undeniable hilarity inherent in the suggestion of "wait 2 weeks for your food to grow" as a response to "some of these ingredients seem expensive for this healthy replacement of instant packet food"?
posted by poffin boffin at 11:16 AM on September 30, 2014 [12 favorites]


What Hoopo? Egg and ramen go together soo well. It's one of his tricks to upgrade the package stuff even!

Well I'm no kind of fancy package ramen expert, but in my experience ramen shops typically don't do the raw-egg-into-hot-soup thing while udon shops do. Just sort of assumed that's how it was done. I found one ramen cup I liked and stuck with it; Big Cup Curry Cheese. Also UFO nstant yakisoba would do for a late night post-drinks snack.
posted by Hoopo at 11:17 AM on September 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


Welp I love cooking, and I also love ramen, and hey I've got too much free time, so sounds like a good use of an evening to me!
posted by likeatoaster at 11:17 AM on September 30, 2014 [5 favorites]


Yep, a cool $1.25 for the pack I bought yesterday. I'm probably going to buy a Bentley next, because I'm a high-roller now.

For some people that would indeed be half of what they budget themselves for lunch each day.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:17 AM on September 30, 2014 [2 favorites]


that's for udon soup not ramen, man.

Tsukimi ramen

FWIW, for that level of cooking dedication I'd go to Cookpad and whip up a rice and tofu soboro bento or something. If I wanted to have instant Japanese food I can do a ninjin no shirishiri (carrot, tuna, egg, soy sauce, sesame seeds) in the time I use to do an instant ramen.
posted by sukeban at 11:19 AM on September 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


...organic scallions don't come cheap

To be honest this sounded dubious even to me, but I needed a third thing.
posted by Flashman at 11:20 AM on September 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


/Spot the obsessive Cooking Mama player that found a website that has ALL THE RECIPES.
posted by sukeban at 11:20 AM on September 30, 2014 [2 favorites]


I've never used Better Than Bouillon, but oddly enough, I caught part of an America's Test Kitchen this weekend that recommended it over liquid stock on the basis of economy. I think I never bought it because the jar is pretty damn expensive, but I suppose it keeps.

In any case, I saw this when it went up and I'll probably give it a go. If you use rice noodles, you could bang out a whole fleet of these in about as long as it would take to make a couple sandwiches, no?
posted by uncleozzy at 11:23 AM on September 30, 2014 [2 favorites]


Also, if you have a pasta maker and want to kill an afternoon, you can make ramen noodle stupid easy, for quite a bit less than the dry shit. It tastes much better, doesn't have werid stabilizers that the chilled stuff has….if you're into it, they're good noodles and are really tasty.

My dough usually starts at about

300g '00' flour, or really fine semolina*
125-130g warm water
8-10g of kansui that looks like this

Knead it up with the dough hook, take it out and smooth it out by hand kneading a couple times, let it hydrate in the fridge for an hour and roll it and cut it. It takes an hour or so of active time, but if you double or triple the recipe, the noodles freeze well.

*Sometimes with about 10% of rye in there, if i'm feeling it, its not traditional, but if you're making like some sort of bastardized asian style chicken soup, the rye really brings something to the party.
posted by furnace.heart at 11:25 AM on September 30, 2014 [6 favorites]


Can someone just give J. Kenji López-Alt a MacArthur genius award

The name alone should rate a regular slot on All Things Considered.
posted by dhartung at 11:28 AM on September 30, 2014 [17 favorites]


The arc of this thread is bending towards growing the wheat for your ramen noodles in a planter box and milling it yourself.
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:30 AM on September 30, 2014 [20 favorites]




What's 8 months and hard labor for the perfect noodle prize bull octorok? I'm starting to think you don't take this seriously enough!
posted by Carillon at 11:32 AM on September 30, 2014


I think it's kind of a stretch to say that someone suggesting that growing your own scallions is pretty easy if you can't afford organic scallions is even in the same ballpark as someone suggesting you mill your own wheat for noodles. And poverty is a real problem in the US and elsewhere, but I can't be the only one for whom scallions (organic or not) are just about the cheapest thing in my grocery cart every week.
posted by matcha action at 11:37 AM on September 30, 2014 [2 favorites]


note that instant ramen/noodles shouldn't be conflated with all ramen... it's a subset of ramen. "Ramen" does not just mean instant noodles
posted by Bwithh at 11:39 AM on September 30, 2014 [4 favorites]


Alright well the smoker I built looks pretty good, and now that I've leased a few acres for Bessie and Flossie to grow up on there'll be some mighty fine jerky to add some protein to my quick-n'-easy ramen lunches in a few short years. And the local mycological society just approved my membership, so when the rainy season comes I'll be able to throw in some nice wild mushrooms too. I'm wondering, though, if I could cheat a little and drop this glass-blowing apprenticeship and just source some high-quality antique mason jars somewhere.

I'm sorry, Carillon, you were saying?
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:41 AM on September 30, 2014 [14 favorites]


It sounds, from the article, like you could prep 5 of these on a Sunday and use them all week.

I always wonder how people do that. Not the prep but the eating. I get bored after the second day, and can't imagine doing it two weeks in a row.
posted by smackfu at 11:42 AM on September 30, 2014 [3 favorites]


I'm wondering, though, if I could cheat a little and drop this glass-blowing apprenticeship and just source some high-quality antique mason jars somewhere.

This sort of slacker mentality is everything that is wrong with the YOUTHS of today
posted by poffin boffin at 11:43 AM on September 30, 2014 [12 favorites]


I always wonder how people do that. Not the prep but the eating. I get bored after the second day, and can't imagine doing it two weeks in a row

I'm good with leftovers for exactly two dinners (this includes the initial meal I cooked said food for) and one lunch. After that, I resent them.
posted by Kitteh at 11:44 AM on September 30, 2014 [5 favorites]


It would be great to have a leftovers exchange program where you and an approved semi-stranger in the same leftovers network would meet equidistant from both offices at lunchtime and exchange leftovers.
posted by poffin boffin at 11:45 AM on September 30, 2014 [17 favorites]


I get bored after the second day, and can't imagine doing it two weeks in a row.

I'm like a garbage disposal for leftovers. I'll eat the same thing, or at least use parts of leftovers, two or three times a day for as long as it takes.

Anything can be tacos.
posted by uncleozzy at 11:46 AM on September 30, 2014 [7 favorites]


I can vouch for replanting the stubs of storebought green onions, at least. They certainly did better than the patch next to them where I tried growing some from seed, and it doesn't get much cheaper than free. Apart from a bit of fertilizer if you don't want them to be thin and limp and have little more flavor than grass.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:46 AM on September 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


It would be great to have a leftovers exchange program where you and an approved semi-stranger in the same leftovers network would meet equidistant from both offices at lunchtime and exchange leftovers.

Just need a leftovers hookup app

Leftovr
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:47 AM on September 30, 2014 [29 favorites]


He's drowning those Fearnley-Whittingstall style Pot Noodles!
posted by davemee at 11:47 AM on September 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


note that instant ramen/noodles shouldn't be conflated with all ramen... it's a subset of ramen. "Ramen" does not just mean instant noodles

If you have one hour free: the NHK-produced documentaries Begin Japanology Ramen and Japanology Plus Ramen.
posted by sukeban at 11:48 AM on September 30, 2014 [5 favorites]


I always wonder how people do that. Not the prep but the eating. I get bored after the second day, and can't imagine doing it two weeks in a row.

Yeah, two weeks in a row seems a bit extreme, but with some of these recipes, if you're cooking other things that use the same ingredients in other dishes that week, this makes for an awesome way to use leftovers.

Lets break out that first one; If you're cooking anything with kimchi, and beef (shit doesn't have to be jerkey…) you can store the rest of these ingredients, save the scallions, in the fridge forever. So if you're cooking anything beef, and happen to have kimchi on hand, you could prep this for lunch really easy a couple days that week…not everyday. You could easily use any of these recipes for a general template for 'asia-soup-leftover jar.' Shit with soup base and par-cooked noodles.

Which sounds fucking awesome for those of us who don't have microwaves at work, but are surrounded by hot water towers.
posted by furnace.heart at 11:50 AM on September 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


Just need a leftovers hookup app

At least one exists.
posted by Buttons Bellbottom at 11:52 AM on September 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


I wonder if you could also do this in a large thermos jug.

  • Prep all ingredients except noodles (include hot water!) in the thermos jug (leaving room for noodles).
  • Keep noodles (prepped same way) in a zippy bag or smaller container.
  • Add noodles to thermos about 5 min before you are ready to eat.

  • posted by Buttons Bellbottom at 11:56 AM on September 30, 2014 [2 favorites]


    It would work great in a wide-mouth thermos. The mason jar is only for people who never have to take a glass bottle to work on public transit or a bicycle.
    posted by bonehead at 11:59 AM on September 30, 2014 [2 favorites]


    I'm good with leftovers for exactly two dinners (this includes the initial meal I cooked said food for) and one lunch. After that, I resent them.

    Kitteh sits at the table staring at a plate of food. The food is cold, untouched, and wearing a discarded birthday hat.
    "It would have nice to have been invited," Kitteh mutters through clenched teeth.
    The food opts to wait it out.
    posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:59 AM on September 30, 2014 [7 favorites]


    The mason jar is only for people who never have to take a glass bottle to work on public transit or a bicycle.

    Uh, what? My sole means of transportation are by bike and by bus; most of my food to work travels in jars (or other glass containers) on a bike or on the bus. The reason I switched to glass containers is because every wide-mouth thermos I could buy ended up leaking everywhere.
    posted by furnace.heart at 12:03 PM on September 30, 2014 [3 favorites]


    It's like instant ramen without the instant.
    posted by Schadenfreude at 12:40 PM on September 30, 2014 [4 favorites]


    matcha action: I can't be the only one for whom scallions (organic or not) are just about the cheapest thing in my grocery cart every week.
    Per pound? Or per calory? Either way, they're pretty damned expensive.

    Now, a head of cabbage - THAT is cheap. And lately, 2 lb of baby carrots, which for some reason are cheaper than regular carrots.
    posted by IAmBroom at 12:49 PM on September 30, 2014 [2 favorites]


    I just realized I saved his recipe for tonkotsu ramen a year ago, and still haven't got around to making it.
    posted by bradf at 12:51 PM on September 30, 2014


    poffin boffin: It would be great to have a leftovers exchange program where you and an approved semi-stranger in the same leftovers network would meet equidistant from both offices at lunchtime and exchange leftovers.
    We had that in my grade school.

    Well, technically it was the Zech boy taking my lunch from me, but... basically the same idea.
    posted by IAmBroom at 12:52 PM on September 30, 2014 [6 favorites]


    You know, easy as it can be to scoff at "artisanal" convenience foods, I see a kind of philosophical value in it. It's as if convenience foods are a particularly tactile "file format" for storing the idea of real foods. Instead of a recipe that you read, you get to touch, smell and taste something a bit like the real thing. You get the idea of the food, instead of just information about what should be in it and how it's prepared. "De-convenience-ing" the food by making a "real" version of it--a version with all the proper ingredients and none of the fillers--seems like the culinary equivalent of extracting a zip file.
    posted by Flipping_Hades_Terwilliger at 12:56 PM on September 30, 2014 [11 favorites]


    On the scallions/green onions: they don't have to be organic and you don't have to use a pot and dirt. Just cut them back to the white part and put them in a glass of water (leave the tops sticking out of the water). They will regrow several times.
    posted by fiercecupcake at 12:59 PM on September 30, 2014 [8 favorites]


    Anything can be tacos.


    Natto?
    Pea gravel?
    Hair?
    A Campagnolo Super-Record 53T chain ring?
    posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:12 PM on September 30, 2014 [11 favorites]


    If I wanted to have instant Japanese food I can do a ninjin no shirishiri (carrot, tuna, egg, soy sauce, sesame seeds) in the time I use to do an instant ramen.
    posted by sukeban at 19:19 on September 30 [+] [!]


    Somehow, this got me to here
    posted by joboe at 1:19 PM on September 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


    This is food gentrification because of the scallions? seriously? They are less than $1 for an amount that will sufficiently scallionize multiple meals. (source. not organic, but no one is putting a gun to your head to eat organic all the time).

    Yeah, this recipe is more work than just heating up a cup of noodles. It's also on a website called Serious Eats, and presented by a dude who is super into making tasty food even if it's complicated. Pretty much the opposite of this chick.

    The fiddliness:benefit ratio of this recipe is probably too high for me to try it. Mainly it's the ingredient management -- buying a whole thing of kimchi or soup base or whatever just to use a few tablespoons to make a weeks worth of jars say probably wouldn't work with the way that I eat food. But I can still acknowledge that this is a great idea, and I wish I had J. Kenji's mind/imagination/knife skills.
    posted by sparklemotion at 1:27 PM on September 30, 2014 [2 favorites]


    Anything can be tacos.

    Natto?
    Pea gravel?
    Hair?
    A Campagnolo Super-Record 53T chain ring?


    Never underestimate the things a food truck will try.

    But seriously tho, this post is awesome. I have been on a noodle binge lately, and I can't wait to try this. Thanks for posting it, Liz!!
    posted by jbickers at 1:29 PM on September 30, 2014


    Oh look
    posted by prize bull octorok at 1:33 PM on September 30, 2014 [7 favorites]


    For some people that would indeed be half of what they budget themselves for lunch each day.

    Given that onions regrow themselves for months with very nearly zero effort, this is not entirely convincing.

    Nevertheless, the total cost of the clothing pretty much anyone in this thread has on their body right now, even if acquired from a thrift store, is a remarkably large portion of the yearly income for much of the planet. The percentage will naturally vary, but on the whole it is a terrifyingly large percentage.

    Clothing is a bourgeois affectation that must be crushed by proletarian nudity.
    posted by aramaic at 2:14 PM on September 30, 2014 [2 favorites]


    I love Serious Eats but I have to admit I don't really get this. It's like, "Look how easy it is to enjoy a fully-prepared cup of noodle soup...all you have to do is fully prepare a cup of noodle soup!"
    posted by threeants at 2:19 PM on September 30, 2014 [7 favorites]


    Hmm, I guess reconstituting the stuff at work does make it less heavy/messy than cooking soup at home and bringing it in as leftovers, as I'd otherwise be wont to do.
    posted by threeants at 2:23 PM on September 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


    It's like, "Look how easy it is to enjoy a fully-prepared cup of noodle soup...all you have to do is fully prepare a cup of noodle soup!"

    I think it's more like, "look, you can have noodle soup that only takes 2 minutes to heat up even if you're vegan/gluten free/worried about sodium etc."
    posted by tofu_crouton at 2:52 PM on September 30, 2014 [6 favorites]


    Plus it's super easy to make. Seriously it's a lot less work than a full-on soup made from scratch.
    posted by Carillon at 2:57 PM on September 30, 2014


    I think it's more like, "look, you can have noodle soup that only takes 2 minutes to heat up even if you're vegan/gluten free/worried about sodium etc."

    Or like food that doesn't need a crap load of chili to not taste like styrofoam.
    posted by lumpenprole at 4:27 PM on September 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


    it's like a gourmet chef trying to recreate a McDonald's hamburger and fries.

    This is Kenji we're talking about. While not an exact recreation, he has indeed created his take on the Big Mac, and he put a ridiculous amount of effort into replicating McDonald's fries.
    posted by Shmuel510 at 4:43 PM on September 30, 2014 [5 favorites]


    I love how something that's so common back home to the point of trivial is suddenly Artisanal Goodness in the US. Been seeing that a lot lately in the Bay Area.

    Too bad the price gets exponentially higher the more hipster it gets.
    posted by divabat at 4:45 PM on September 30, 2014 [4 favorites]


    I'm like a garbage disposal for leftovers. I'll eat the same thing, or at least use parts of leftovers, two or three times a day for as long as it takes.

    Anything can be tacos.


    Admit it - you are my husband using a secret user name...
    posted by ersatzkat at 5:39 PM on September 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


    I love how something that's so common back home to the point of trivial is suddenly Artisanal Goodness in the US.

    Trivial? Where is "back home" where ramen is so commonplace, Japan? Have you ever seen the movie Tampopo?
    posted by charlie don't surf at 5:44 PM on September 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


    Malaysia. This sort of noodle-cooking is pretty common, easy, and cheap. And has been around for YONKS.

    (We use the same sort of noodles but call them "mee" or "mi", and cook them in various ways, including soups.)
    posted by divabat at 7:00 PM on September 30, 2014


    (well technically "mee" refers to the entire category of noodles, of which ramen-style noodles is one of them. Australian students go gaga over "mi goreng" or Indomee, which is Indonesian instant noodles that are exactly the same as American ramen.)
    posted by divabat at 7:02 PM on September 30, 2014


    Kenji baked over 1500 cookies in pursuit of Cookie Perfection, and for this he shall forever be my hero. These chocolate chip cookies are glorious.
    posted by emeiji at 7:41 PM on September 30, 2014 [2 favorites]


    I learned I can partially cook pasta and later pour boiling water on it and eat it. This seems useful.
    posted by bigbigdog at 9:15 PM on September 30, 2014 [4 favorites]


    On the scallions/green onions: they don't have to be organic and you don't have to use a pot and dirt. Just cut them back to the white part and put them in a glass of water (leave the tops sticking out of the water). They will regrow several times.

    So I tried this with scallions in leftover yogurt tubs and even though I have literally killed every single cactus I've ever owned these are like a foot tall now. The garbage lettuce ends I threw in are trying to Jack and the Beanstalk their way out the window. I think the roots are forming dark runes but at any rate, as long I sacrifice an inch of water every week, they're thriving.

    I'm actually too scared to eat them and anger the Pinterest Food God*, but I will second that if you're buying scallions, regrowing them is easier than running the garbage disposal.


    *seriously the lettuce isn't even lettuce shaped any longer; how??
    posted by jetlagaddict at 9:47 PM on September 30, 2014 [5 favorites]


    I planted lettuce this year. None of it was lettuce shaped.
    It was research. Store lettuce hits my stomach hard. Sulfites. So my home grown also is mean to my stomach. Not happening next year...
    The lettuce bolted and reached for the stars.
    posted by Katjusa Roquette at 10:00 PM on September 30, 2014


    Thanks for posting! I just had some sub-par pasta for dinner that I was not looking forward to reliving for lunch. But with some frozen veggies, bouillon, and kale that was not going to last too much longer, this will make a great (or at least better than what I had) ramen lunch tomorrow! And it took a grand total of 45 seconds to make that happen!
    posted by greermahoney at 10:34 PM on September 30, 2014 [2 favorites]


    *seriously the lettuce isn't even lettuce shaped any longer; how?

    It's bolting, which sadly also means that it's bitter as hell.
    posted by KathrynT at 10:37 PM on September 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


    Australian students go gaga over "mi goreng" or Indomee, which is Indonesian instant noodles that are exactly the same as American ramen.)

    Well as a former Australian post-grad student I wouldn't say I went gaga, but indomee + cheap frozen vegies + wisked egg got me through a lot of 'oh shit every bill plus rent is due this week and that's pretty much my entire stipend for the month gone' episodes. Even now that I'm on decent full time academic money it's still a great go to dish when I've spent all day teaching and can't be bothered doing proper cooking.
    posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 11:20 PM on September 30, 2014


    If you have a freezer you can chop up the non-noodle ingredients and put them in the freezer in a jiffy bag or some other small container for future use. Some ingredients that are damaged by freezing might actually be better for this as they will not need to cook (for as long).
    posted by asok at 5:28 AM on October 1, 2014 [1 favorite]


    Taking this one step further, make your own bouillon with some bone scraps, gelatin and 24-48 hours.
    posted by fontophilic at 8:37 AM on October 1, 2014


    I just throw the whole sad carcass of the rotisserie chicken in a big pot with some water and boil it until it's reduced in half. Then I skim it and pour the liquid into ice cube trays and freeze them.*

    Of course, it was tricky in the first place breeding and raising pedigreed White Langshan in my third floor walkup for the rotisserie chicken in the first place. Nonetheless I feel that if you can't be bothered to raise your own heritage chickens to make chicken with you shouldn't even be eating.

    *technically I have only thought about doing this and even bought the ice cube tray, but in reality I just throw the shredded carcass of the chicken into the trash and buy boxes of broth on sale.
    posted by winna at 2:02 PM on October 1, 2014 [4 favorites]


    This has got me misreading ads online. I thought Pizza the Hut was offering a The Hut Leftovers email program.
    posted by Buttons Bellbottom at 3:40 PM on October 1, 2014


    Australian students go gaga over "mi goreng" or Indomee, which is Indonesian instant noodles that are exactly the same as American ramen.)


    Not exactly the same. There's quite a lot of variance in seasoning styles between brands, and perhaps partly due to national origin (and the tastes of their domestic market) too (e.g. S. Korean tends to focus on the very spicy, Japanese tends to focus on "clear" tastes). I've had good experience with mi goreng.
    posted by Bwithh at 1:07 PM on October 6, 2014


    I tried this technique for lunch yesterday, and it's pretty good!.

    Two things:
    • Be careful with the amount of bouillon, it's salty!
    • The hot water dispenser in my wasn't nearly hot enough. Needed a quick trip to the microwave.
    (It's also hard to eat noodles carefully at your desk without making a giant mess)
    posted by device55 at 6:50 AM on October 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


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