I love ramen. So much so that when I visited Japan with my husband, we spent an afternoon at the Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum in Osaka, attending a workshop on making instant ramen. Yes, that is a real thing. For five yen, you are handed an apron and taught the fine art of instant ramen-making from scratch.
From that trip, I also learned that ramen is not always about pouring hot water into a Styrofoam cup. Ramen joints in Japan (and also in my hometown of New York City) serve up carefully prepared, artfully presented dishes with nary a reconstituted corn kernel. I decided to take a page from their book and turn a container of chicken-flavored Cup Noodles into a steaming, fragrant bowl of goodness.
By the way, I could've sworn the name of the brand was "Cup O' Noodles" and was very confused when I saw the labeling. But then I looked it up, and it turns out the name got changed a few years ago, so I'm not crazy. But why Cup Noodles, I wonder? Cup O' Noodles makes so much more sense. Cup Noodles is just bizarre syntax.
Anyway, the precooked Cup Noodles deserves a close-up shot for the deliciously instant dried vegetables alone...
At the instant ramen museum, there is an awesome larger-than-life-size Cup Noodles on display:
To make your instant ramen less instant and infinitely more delicious, all you have to do is boil the noodles in a proper pot, and boost the flavor with some soy sauce, sesame oil, and garnishes like seaweed and scallion. I also like to throw in some fresh vegetables--in this case, sugar snap peas, but broccoli or spinach or enoki mushrooms would do just as well.
For the piece de la resistance, I added an egg to poach in the broth just as the noodles were approaching al dente.
Cup Noodles Ramen with Sugar Snap Peas
1 container Cup Noodles
4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil
Handful of sugar snap peas or other fresh vegetables
1 sheet of dried seaweed, cut into 9 equal pieces
1 tablespoon finely diced scallion
1 large egg
1. Bring 1 1/2 cups water to boil in a medium pot.
2. Add the container of Chicken Cup Noodles, soy sauce, sesame oil, and sugar snap peas. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the noodles have reached the desired texture. Add the egg to the boiling broth 1 minute before the noodles are done.
3. Transfer the contents of the pot to a large serving bowl. Garnish with seaweed and scallions. Serve immediately. Serves one.