Friday, July 1, 2011

Mapo Ramen

Who didn't live on ramen in college?  You could eat ten meals for a dollar, and most of the time it was better than what they were serving in the cafeteria.  My 18 year old self didn't care that I was eating my monthly salt intake in one convenient, microwavable Styrofoam cup.  Technically, my first "cooking" happened while I made ramen in my dorm room during my freshman year of college.  I invented "gourmet ramen," which was a Styrofoam of instant ramen with one packet each of soy sauce and hot mustard from the previous night's Chinese delivery dinner. I think once I went so far as to get some scallions from the salad bar to put on my ramen after I nuked it. 

This ramen is different.  No super salty flavor pack or Styrofoam is involved. Oh, and it also tastes really good.  I've posted before about how much I love mapo tofu.  The same blog that created the awesome mapo tofu recipe I use added one for mapo ramen.  The thing I love about this dish is that it's a soup flavored like the spicy mapo tofu sauce I love so much.  Plus, it has noodles, and you can't go wrong with noodles.  This is enough food for a meal in itself. 

I made a few changes.  I added a ton more green onions. Since I don't have fermented black beans, I used a tablespoon of black bean paste.  The reason I added twice as much black bean paste was because that's what the mapo tofu recipe called for, and I really wanted the sauce to taste similar.  I always use low sodium soy sauce instead of regular. 

I actually had difficulty finding plan ramen noodles at my local Korean supermarket.  They had an entire noodle aisle, and a huge selection of flavored ramen packets.  Finally, I found one that had the spice packet separate, so I bought two of those and then tossed the packets. 

Mapo Ramen
Adapted slightly from Appetite for China
Serves 2

1 Tbsp black bean paste
2 Tbsp chili bean paste
1/2 Tbsp Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
1 tsp low sodium soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground Sichuan pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 ounces ground pork
4 scallions, white and green parts separated and chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp minced ginger
3 cups chicken stock
1/2 block soft or medium-firm tofu, drained and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 packets instant ramen*

*I used a kettle to boil the water for my ramen.   Then, I poured into the pot to cook it, since my kettle can boil much faster than my stove.  If you don't a kettle, start boiling the water for the ramen before you begin making the sauce in step 1.   

1)  Make the sauce.  In a bowl, mix black bean paste, chili bean paste, rice wine, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, and Sichuan pepper.
2)  Heat the oil in a wok and when it's hot enough, add the pork and stir fry until it's browned, about 2-3 minutes.  Make sure to break up the pork so no there are no big chunks.
3) Reduce heat to medium and add garlic, ginger, sugar, and white parts of the scallions.  Stir fry for another 30 seconds.
4) Add the bowl of sauce and the chicken stock.  Increase heat and bring the liquid to a boil.  Carefully add the tofu and carefully stir it into the sauce.  Allow the broth to simmer for 5 minutes.
5) In the meantime, cook the ramen according to the package, drain well place it into 2 bowls.
6) Season the tofu and sauce with salt and pepper and then spoon it over the noodles. 


Elizabeth said...

Innovative! That looks really good. I admire your college creativity as well.

Scienter said...

Before I made this dish, I don't think I'd eaten ramen since graduation. ;)


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