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.
IT'S SUPER EASY. HERE'S HOW YOU DO IT!
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.
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.