Ramen noodle packages make easy meals and are ultimately affordable. Put a little thought to it, though, and you can use them for a lot more than a quick bowl of dubious-quality soup.
My friend Jim gave me a cookbook with the ultra-generic title of “Ramen Noodle Recipes” that started me on this path. Do a little Googling and you’ll find a host of books and websites dedicated to this form of convenience cooking.
For example, you could make fudge with bits of ramen hiding inside like little “guess-what?” surprises. It’s an idea that will either intrigue or repel.
“Do NOT make that,” my son said when he saw the cookbook open to that recipe. You can guess what side he was on.
I made it anyway and was pleasantly surprised. Not only was it the world’s easiest way to make a very tasty fudge (melt chocolate, mix in a couple things and refrigerate), but also, the ramen gave it an interesting texture. Not crunchy, as the noodles soften in the chocolate, but just a little chewy.
When I passed around the pieces, they disappeared quickly and I made everyone guess what was in it. The leading response was coconut (the noodles gave off that sort of texture), followed by “some kind of nut,” breadcrumbs and “I give up.”
It’s a conversation starter.
Some other ideas for ramen, which is cheap and neatly portioned to make it easy to use:
>> Toss the cooked noodles with the enclosed seasonings and fry to imitate cake noodles.
>> Discard the seasoning packet, cook the noodles and use them in any pasta dish, from a stir-fry to spaghetti.
>> Crush the noodles and use as the breading for fried shrimp or fish, or as the crust in a savory pie.
>> Break up the noodles and toss into a salad to add crunch, or to replace potatoes, rice or bread cubes in casseroles, meatloaves, burgers, soups or stews.
Or, make fudge.
Chocolate Ramen Fudge
Adapted from “Ramen Noodle Recipes” (Publications International, 2012, $9.99)
- 1 (3-ounce) package dry ramen noodles
- 1 (12-ounce) package semisweet chocolate chips
- 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
- 2 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
Break noodles into small pieces; discard seasoning packet.
Line 8-inch square baking pan with a sheet of baking parchment or foil, with ends draping over sides of pan.
Melt chocolate chips over double boiler, or microwave on high 1 minute (stir and return to microwave in 30-second intervals, if needed, to melt all chips).
Stir in condensed milk, butter, vanilla and noodle pieces. Spread evenly in prepared pan. Chill 1 hour or until firm.
Use ends of parchment to lift fudge from pan. Peel off; cut fudge into small squares. Makes about 60 pieces.
Nutritional informational unavailable.
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