Thursday, April 22, 2010

I ♥ Ramen Noodles

This one is great for one of those spring evenings when it’s not too warm but not freezing either, and you can’t be bothered with really cooking, and you want something both warming but not stodgy and heavy and wintry, because you’re trying to move forward into spring, if the goddamned weather would just play ball, and you don’t have anything in the fridge except two salmon fillets and half a spring cabbage. Having said that, this particular recipe does rely on you, like me, having an unhealthy obsession with ramen noodles, and preferably a kitchen cupboard stocked with the bare essentials for oriental cooking: fresh garlic and ginger, chilli, some bamboo shoots, some water chestnuts, toasted sesame oil and of course, soy sauce. Some baby corn would also go down a treat, but I didn’t have those this time.

Salmon Ramen Noodles

2 fillets salmon
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2x1 inch piece fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 tbsp clear runny honey
2 tsp dried chillies
half a pointed cabbage or 3 tops pak choi
2 packets ramen instant noodles
soya bean paste
toasted sesame oil
a few healthy dashes of soy sauce

1. Firstly get your salmon fillets marinating in a mixture of soy sauce, crushed garlic, chopped fresh ginger and honey (the runny kind works best, although soy sauce will mix with any kind). Leave them to marinate for as long as you can, turning occasionally, while you prepare your vegetables.

2. Chop your bamboo shoots and water chestnuts if the kind supermarket people haven’t already done that for you. The same goes for the cabbage. I like pak choi or spring greens best, although of course Savoy cabbage, pointed spring, or any other kind of leafy thing would work well.

3. Get a griddle pan nice and hot and throw in a dash of sesame oil. Fry your marinated salmon fillets evenly on all sides until they’re nicely charred and criss-crossed with black stripes with a hint of pink in the middle (maybe 4-5 minutes on either side). The honey will caramelise on the outside and make them look well fit.

4. Bring a large pan of water to the boil and add some flavouring to it. Now, you have a choice here. The minimum effort option would be to tip in the handy little sachet of flavouring that comes inside the ramen. But it's mostly MSG and tends to give me headaches if I use all of it. So, you could tip in a bit, as they do taste good, but you could throw most of it away and tip in some toasted sesame oil, some soya bean paste if you have any, some freshly chopped ginger, a little crushed garlic, some dried chilli flakes and a tiny bit of Chinese five spice.

5. Add your noodles, stir in your veggies (saving the leaves of whatever green leafy thing you have chosen to throw in near the end). Once the noodles are cooked, add the leaves and take off the heat. Place in warmed bowls and rest your salmon fillets on the top.

6.Take photos and send to your friends. Yum.

NB: After writing this, a nice lady called Helen who has just visited Japan told me that in restaurants there, if you pronounce Ramen 'rahhh-men' you're probably going to get tittered at when ordering it, so she kindly enunciated the correct way for me: 'ra-Men'. So now we know. Thanks Helen. This post is for you.


  1. "One fine day I went out with an old man. He'd studied ramen for 40 years".

    That's Juzo Itami's Tampopo (1985), a goddamned fit film -and I'll cut off my pinky toe if you don't think so-.


  2. I love it! The pork-poking is great. The old guy reminds me of someone...can't quite put my finger on it... ;)