Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Bowl of Ramen

There has been a change in me lately and I am trying to decide if it is good or bad. Things seem more serious and seem to require me to be more serious. Sad news comes from the newspapers about people having a hard time finding jobs, my friends are losing jobs or are the ones having to let people go, and then I hear from an old colleague who has been unemployed for three years and who struggles to pay their health insurance that costs $720 a month. All this has made me reevaluate my life. Looking back at past bank statement makes me disappointed in myself. I forget how easy it is to drop $50-$70 on one dinner. The dinners were delicious and a lot of fun but did I need to spend that much money to eat something delicious and have fun. No. Am I worth it? Yes. Is it better to have financial security in the future? Yes.

I started this blog three years ago because I wanted to share the fun I have shopping and creating tasty and cheap meals. Since then, this blog has brought me to meet new friends and to have other adventures. Did I lose touch with the purpose of this blog? Yes. A little.

Looking at the big picture, I want my life to be about family, good health, good food, laughter with friends, and stability. And it is time to make use of this blog and keep working at finding great recipes that won't cost an arm and a leg.

So I bring you ramen. The type of ramen I grew up with not only included a block of fried noodles and a packet of sodium loaded seasonings but it also included grilled meats, loads of vegetables, and sometimes...fish balls. (For those unfamiliar with Asian food, this is like a meatball but it is made of seafood. Not as disgusting as as sounds. Or maybe it is.)


1 package of Ramen - You can use any type of ramen but the ones found at Asian markets tend to have spicier seasonings and just taste better. I find that the noodles are less gummy.

1 Pork Chop - Choose one with a bit of fat

2 bunches of Bok Choy

1 Egg

Salt and pepper the pork chop and sear it on an oiled pan. The pork chop we had was about 3/4 of an inch thick and we seared it for 5 minutes on each side. We seared it so that each side had a good browning at the edges. Take out of pan and let it sit for a bit before slicing. Leave pan on low and crack an egg and place it in the pan. This will fry the whites of the egg a bit but will leave the yolk runny.

Boil 2 cups of water in a saucepan and parboil the bok choy for 2 minutes. Take bok choy out of the saucepan and set aside. Place noodles in and bring to a boil. After 2 minutes, add seasonings and cook for another 2 minutes.

Place noodles and broth in a large bowl, add bok choy and sliced pork, and place the egg right on top. Break the yolk so it cooks into the broth. I can't describe the richness that the yolk adds to the broth. It is just delicious.

For those who are worried about the amount of sodium or fat in ramen, there are a couple of things you can do. One, you can boil double the amount of water, put the noodles in a bowl, add some water and let some of the oil come out of the noodles. Drain the water and put the noodles back into the boiling water on the stove. How much fat does that eliminate? Not a ton but it is kind of like blotting your pizza with a napkin. At least you are getting a bit of the fat out.

To reduce the sodium, just use half of the seasoning packet. If you eating the ramen with lots of vegetables or pan-seared meat, there is going to be plenty of flavor in your ramen.

Financially, this meal is a steal. The pork chop cost us a little less than $3. A package of ramen was 80 cents. Bok Choy will be less than $1 for 2 bunches. And eggs are generally $3 for a dozen. A dinner for two cost us less than $6.50.

Ramen can be a beautiful thing if made right. It is quick to make and it satisfies the soul when slurped up on a cold night.


  1. So I've always been curious about the whole 'dropping an egg into ramen' bit. Previously I've done it like you mentioned (though I overcooked my eggs because I got distracted by a shiny object); however, I swear I've heard of people just cracking the egg straight into the ramen after taking it off the heat.

    Have you tried that? Or seen that? Or should I risk it, and write back when I have recovered? :)

  2. Yes. I usually just drop a raw egg right on top. This works as long as the broth is hot enough and as long as you let it sit for one minute. Let the whites cook and then you can stir it and get the yolk to mix into the broth. DELISH!

  3. You could go old school and drop some noodles in chicken or beef stock to cut down sodium and oil.

  4. Cat - I should. I have been playing with the idea of making my own CH'A HSAO JOU. I might have to pick up some supplies this weekend at the Asian Market.

  5. Ah! You have to admit that you were also inspired because you had a good "mi goi" at our place when you were here!