Many of us think of ramen noodles as a staple for financially-strapped college students, but when you discard that sodium-packed flavoring packet and add an assortment of fresh flavors you can easily transform this humble ingredient into a truly outstanding meal.
We chose to use chicken, baby bok choy, egg and enoki mushrooms for this recipe, but if you follow our basic instructions, you can mix and match ingredients however you see fit.
About Ramen Noodles:
If you can find them, we highly recommend trying straight ramen noodles imported from Japan. There’s certainly nothing wrong with the curly variety we’re all familiar with, but we found the plain, straight noodles to have more flavor and a slightly firmer texture.
About Shichimi Togarashi (Japanese Seven-Spice Seasoning):
Shichimi Togarashi is a popular Japanese spice blend that combines red chile flakes, Japanese pepper, white sesame seeds, nori (seaweed) flakes, orange peel, black hemp seeds and white poppy seeds.
Sprinkled over the top, it adds a nice little kick to our ramen bowl, but it’s by no means a crucial ingredient. If you like to experiment with unique spice blends, give it a try.
Ramen Noodle Bowl with Chicken
- 3 packages ramen noodles, 8 to 9 ounces – see notes
- 2 medium-cooked eggs, peeled and halved lengthwise (see below)
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1 lb)
- 1 ounce enoki mushrooms, optional
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- 1 medium shallot, finely chopped (about 1 tablespoon)
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely chopped
- 4 to 5 cloves garlic, about 1 tablespoon
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons mirin
- 5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 baby bok choy, leaves separated
- 4 scallions, roughly chopped
- Shichimi Togarashi, optional – see notes
- Put a large pot of salted water on to boil for the ramen. Discard the seasoning packet or reserve for another use. Cook the ramen until tender, drain and rinse with cool water to eliminate any excess starch.
- Divide the ramen between 4 serving bowls. Place an egg half and a portion of enoki mushrooms (if using) on top of each nest of noodles. Set aside.
- Place the chicken breasts between two sheets of plastic wrap and gently pound them to an even thickness of 1/2-inch. Season on both sides with salt and pepper.
- Using the same pot you cooked the ramen in, add the sesame and vegetable oils and heat over medium-high heat.
- Working in batches if necessary, add the chicken in a single layer and cook until lightly golden and cooked through, 3 minutes per side.
- Transfer to a cutting board and set aside to cool.
- Reduce the heat on the pot to medium and add the shallots and ginger.
- Sauté until soft and fragrant, 2 minutes, then add the garlic and continue cooking, stirring constantly, until the mixture fragrant, about 2 minutes longer.
- Deglaze the pan with the soy sauce and mirin, scraping up any browned bits that may have accumulated on the bottom. Add the chicken broth and bring the mixture to a rapid simmer.
- Add the bok choy leaves a few at a time and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes. Using tongs, remove the leaves from the broth and divide between the serving bowls.
- Bring the broth back to a rapid simmer and cook for 2 more minutes.
- While the broth simmers, slice the chicken breasts crosswise into 1/2-inch strips and transfer to the ramen bowls.
- Add the scallions to the simmering broth, remove from the heat immediately and ladle the hot broth over each ramen bowl.
How to Make Medium-Cooked Eggs:
- Gently place the eggs in a saucepan large enough to hold them in one layer. Add cool water to the pan to cover them by about 1 inch.
- Bring the water to a boil, then immediately remove the pan from the heat, cover it and let stand for 8 minutes (for large eggs).
- Drain and cool by running cold water into the pan until the eggs are cool enough to handle for peeling.