Instant ramen was brought about by the founder of Nissin Foods, Momofuku Ando, in 1958. The first flavor was Chicken Ramen. Now, the product is made in a wide variety of flavors and is available worldwide. (Source)
Some like the egg yolks broken and stirred up with the whites, some like the eggs poached, some like them raw on top, and others like the eggs hard boiled. There are a wide variety of ways to eat eggs in ramen, with two styles in particular argued about in the Spring 2011 anime, AnoHana. The scene where Menma and Jintan stand over the stove top and debate about whether or not to break the egg made me smile because, like Jintan, I prefer to poach the egg and preserve the yolk’s shape.
There’s something so miraculous about saving that moment of breaking the yolk–sometimes I like to break it so I can pull up the noodles through the yolk, perfectly coating them, and other moods have me greedily spooning it up and mouthing the whole shape so that not a single drop of egg-y saltiness escapes. Ultimately, instant ramen can be made a countless amount of ways. It’s one of my go-to comfort foods on cold days, as I can always guarantee a satisfying warmth and full tummy. Recipe below pictures.
Dressed-up Instant Ramen
- 1 packet of instant top ramen noodles
- 1 packet of the instant top ramen flavor of your choice (I usually use Nissin, and favorites include chicken and picante beef)
- 2 cups of water
- 1-2 raw chicken eggs
- 1/4 lb. meat of choice (I usually stick with the named meat of the flavor pack, though more often than not I just go with what’s in the fridge)
- Vegetables of choice: shitake mushrooms, bean sprouts, spring onions, etc.
- 2 pinches of red pepper flakes
- 1 dash of soy sauce
- 1 dash of sesame oil
- Heat a cap-full of vegetable oil in a small frying pan over medium heat.
- While the pan is heating, prep the vegetables that need slicing/dicing, and cut meat into bite-sized pieces (or prep shrimp) and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Brown meat in pan over medium heat. Set aside. Saute vegetables in the meat juices until just cooked but still vibrant and also set aside.
- Bring 2 cups of water to boil in a small pot.
- Once water is boiling, drop in the instant noodles and lower heat to medium. Continue boiling noodles for 2 minutes.
- Drop in the raw eggs gently, so the white stays close to the yolk. Poach eggs for an additional minute before removing the pot from heat.
NOTE: If you want your yolk firmer and not runny, cook for a longer period of time, and/or drop eggs in sooner so the noodles don’t overcook.
- Stir in the meat, as well as the flavor packet (you can choose to use only half or even less of the packet if you like), being careful to not break the egg yolks.
- Stir in the red pepper flakes, soy sauce and sesame oil.
- Open up your next anime episode for viewing and devour the delicious ramen!
In the beginning of AnoHana, Jintan stubbornly cooks the ramen his way, but there’s a lovable moment where he later breaks up the egg to keep with Menma’s preferences. Perhaps I’m over-thinking the scene, but I like to think that at that moment, he accepted her presence and made the first move to helping her in her journey to discover her reason for returning. Ramen, even instant ramen, has this magical ability of bringing distant people closer together. Like Jintan and Menma, I hope you share the simple meal with those dearest to you.