Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Introducing: Grilled Ramen

Tis the season to grill, but it is always the season to eat cheap noodles. So, I have devised a frugal recipe for your grilling pleasure. Introducing: Grilled Ramen.

If you love the taste of a good char on just about anything, then this is a fun and frugal dish that you should add to your repertoire. Now the staple food of college student cooks, the apathetic, and the budget conscious obtains it's bbq boy scout patch. First, a note about our main ingredient: I am loyal to Nissin brand Oriental Flavor ramen (tasty, vegetarian, and always on sale), but feel free to use whichever brand/flavor you prefer.

There are two schools of thought on preparing ramen. The first is to follow the instructions on the packet and add 2 ½ cups of water, creating a noodle soup with a diluted flavor and slightly mushy noodles. The other is to add much less water, creating an intense flavor that evenly coats the resilient al dente ramen (my old favorite method).

There is a time and a place for both methods. However, my newly developed technique focuses on flavor and feel by taking the broth almost completely out of the equation, thus preserving the integrity of the ramen. The result is a rollercoaster of unique texture and smokey savoriness that mirrors the curlicue character of the beloved noodle cake.


Marinate ramen cake in sauce (see below for sauce suggestions), flipping to be sure of absorption throughout the noodle cake (about 20 mins, just enough time to get your fire going).
Ramen cake is ready to be grilled when it has become tender, but still cohesive.

Place on medium flame grill (charcoal is best).

Lift corner every minute or so to look for char marks (about 3 minutes). A little smoke should inform you that it's about ready to flip.

Flip when it’s getting crunchy and black/golden brown spots cover one side. Be sure to detach the whole thing with your spatula before moving it, or else the cake may pull apart, creating a much less appetizing mess (and frustration).

Serve plain or with chives, scallions, grilled tofu or veggies, etc. If there is any remaining marinade drizzle it over top of the noodles

Your grilled ramen cake will have chewy spots and moist spots, but every bite will be flavorful and fun to eat. Tear it apart with chop sticks. Invite friends to dig in with you. It's fun, romantic, contemplative... Whatever mood strikes you, I am sure that a few minutes before the hot fire will sooth your savage beast and satiate your appetite with fire-cured noodle goodness.

For a soupier version, serve "au jus" by pouring the desired amount of boiling hot water over the grilled noodles and letting it sit for a few minutes (but be careful not to dilute the flavor too much). If you have any ideas for grilled ramen, I'd love to hear them. Post your experiments here as a comment. The sun is shining and it's time to have fun by the fire.

SAVOR THE FLAVOR: a sauce for any occasion

For "Grilled Ramen Sauce" you basically just need a concoction that is somewhat syrupy, so it glazes the noodles, watery enough to be absorbed by the noodles, slightly sweet, so it caramelizes, and packed with tangy flavors that will compliment the charred spots.

A lazy method: use 1/3 cup of hot water to dilute 1/3 cup of your favorite asian sauce/marinade like terriaki, szechuan, etc.

An easy method: whisk together the following ingredients

Flavor packet from ramen
2 tblsp soy sauce
Squirt of sriracha (or favorite hot sauce) to taste
Couple dashes of rice vinegar (or lemon or lime juice)
A few drops of toasted sesame oil
½ tsp sugar
¼ cup of hot water
A sprinkling of sesame seeds (optional)

Master sauce: whisk the following ingredients together

2 tsp fresh ginger, minced and ground or passed through a garlic press
1 clove garlic, diced and mashed to a pulp
2 tblsp soy sauce
1 tblsp rice vinegar
squirt of sriracha/sambal (or your fave hot sauce)
a couple cranks of black pepper
2 tblsp olive oil
1/4 cup hot water
1/2 tsp sugar/honey/maple syrup

Well, now it's your turn. I am continually experimenting in the kitchen (and on the porch), so you'll see some more suggestions from me about this in due time (plus, I've got more pictures). But, I'd like to know about the versions of grilled ramen that you come up with. So, dig in and write back.


  1. Matthew10:34 AM

    You did it! That's great. I can't wait to try it out for myself. I'll definitely experiment with my favorite noodles- who's name I can't remember, but I know them by sight at Tan-A.

  2. Thats just awesome, something totally new to do with ramen. I linked you back to my blog (thanks for the comment pointing it out).

    Matt "The Ramen Guy"

  3. Well, Jason, at least we know the dish won't be expensive! I am looking forward to trying a version of this on my new grill!

  4. Grilled ramen. Who would've thunk it?! But I have to confess to being a lover of those summer salads made with crunchy ramen...

  5. That's incredible, we are going to try that for our next barbecue.

  6. Brilliant idea! I'm trying it soon but probably will opt to grill it less.

    Don't know the specifics of the dead Virginia Legislation you mourn but...

    I freaking hate one-size-fits-all Federal Legislation. And suspect the bill took a one-size-fits-all approach to the very large and diverse State of Virginia.

    Abington? NOVA burbs? Do they have the same C.O.L. and competitive pressures?


  7. Artfulsub, glad you like the ramen idea. Let me know how it goes.

    Your other comments should probably go under my previous post about the need for a minimum wage hike, but I will say this: Our federal legislators give themselves raises every year, but wait 10 years to throw a penny ante to the working poor. Therefore, states must act in the interest of their citizens and pass their own wage floor laws (23 states and counting). And to reflect the uniquness of the localities of any state, municipalities are passing Living Wage ordinances all over the country (even Arlington, Charlottesville, Alexandria...). It's around 130+ cities/counties nationally. Check out www.livingwagecampaign.org

  8. Grilled Ramen Experiment # 1.

    Grilled it a little less (I think) than you did. Discovered the Ramen Cake can be split in two, so experiment #2 will make the Ramen the "bread" in a sandwich.

    Used Chicken Ramen and grilled chicken, sweet onions and carrots too.

    Basically followed your "lazy man's" glaze but added some honey. Probably too much.

    Chopped up the chicken, the grilled carrots, the grilled sweet onions, and raw carrots and sweet onions.

    Made sort of a hash of those ingredients and the ramen.

    Visually: "C" grade.

    Taste: "B"

    Texture: "A".

  9. When I was a kid, I'd just eat the Top Ramen noodles raw. Mmmm...crunchilicious.

  10. A great idea! I don't have a grill, but I tried it in my skillet, and it still worked. It didn't get chargrilled, but it did caramelize really well. Thanks!

  11. Mr. Militant Ramen,
    I too came from the raw ramen upbringing. A Vietnamese family down the street taught me that you could simply break up the noodles in the bag, pull out the flavor packet, pour the powder back into the bag, shake it up and then eat it like popcorn. Really, it's not bad.

  12. you are a genius and I'm in love with you!!!

    going to buy my first packet of ramen since 1995.

  13. I must confess I love those ramen noodles! I am addicted to nissen noodle soup for breakfast in the morning. And I love pan fried noodles too. So this grilled ramen is definitely a must try. You must market this to the ramen people...who knows this will make you millions!

  14. pClark3:44 PM

    This should go down as the best of Foodie. Pure genius!

  15. pClark: Grilled Ramen is my crowning achievement. If I were better at marketing myself, I'd be on TV having a throwdown with Bobby Flay: battle grilled ramen.

  16. pClark5:06 PM

    Guess what's for dinner tonight, thanks.


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