Green ramen season


Who among us doesn’t have a trick or two up their sleeve for making instant ramen? A vegetable or egg in the pot, your special sauce or powder and, if you’ve got some game, perhaps a garnish on top. These are all good. But there are levels to this soup. 

My breakthrough happened when I stopped thinking in terms of which ingredients I should add to my ramen and instead began looking at a package of instant ramen itself as an ingredient, a raw material to be used in the creation of a truly unique bowl of noodle soup. 

This time of year, the young farmers markets are awash with greenery that’s full of nutrients, fiber and flavor: lettuce, kale, bok choy, herbs, pea shoots, spinach, watercress, chard, onions, chives, garlic, scallions, green onions and many other shades of green. Keeping it seasonal, like I do, means a decidedly green ramen. Minus the lettuce, most any greens will work. I like to add a mix.  

Most enthusiasts have their preferred make and model of instant ramen. Mine is by the South Korean brand Nongshim. It’s called Shin Black with Beef Bone Broth and comes in four packs that cost upwards of $15. It’s also extremely spicy, though nowhere on the package is this mentioned. For me, ramen has to be spicy. If the brick I’m working with isn’t, I adjust with spice of my own. 


1 package Nongshim Shin Black with Beef Bone Broth or instant ramen of choice 

A diversity of  greens, ideally three of the following: kale, bok choy, gai lan, mustard greens, spinach, chard 

1 egg 

Mayo, hoisin, soy sauce, hot sauce, etc. 

Cilantro, basil, chives or green onions for garnish 


Clean and chop 4 to 6 cups of greens. Crack the egg into a small bowl. 

Add four cups of water to a pan with a lid. While the water’s still cold, add the flavor packets contained within the package of instant ramen. Atop that, add the brick of noodles. Turn on the heat to high. Put the lid on. 

When the ramen reaches a rolling boil, add the greens, spreading them out so they’re even atop the noodles. Pour the egg atop the greens gently so it nests stably. Put the lid back on and cook for two minutes. Turn off the heat and assess. You don’t want to overcook the egg. Or maybe you do. Egg cookery is a personal thing. If you think the egg needs a bit more, put the lid back on for a minute. 

By this time, the pile of greens will have tightened into a mat atop the noodles. With a spatula or some kind of wide spoon, scoop the green puck, egg and all, into a bowl. Then use a fork or chopsticks to transfer as many noodles to the bowl as you care to eat. 

Before you eat, pour off any remaining broth into a separate container like a small pot or a cup. Don’t leave extra noodles lingering in the broth like a rookie. They’ll suck it up and render themselves too soggy to be of any use. 

Finally, adorn your bowl with garnishes and sauces of your choice. 


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