The holidays are over and sometimes you just want to have a quick and easy meal that you can whip up. Below, Chef Glo will help you spice up your instant ramen to a comfortingly yummy Laksa Noodle Soup.
Instant Ramen is an inexpensive staple in every cupboard across the globe. It was originally invented in Osaka, Japan by Momofuku Ando in the late 1950s to address the food shortage in war stricken Japan. Instant ramen used to be expensive and was considered a luxury item. However, today’s instant ramen is considered one of the most popular cheap food in grocery stores.
Cheap also means very basic ingredients – you will usually find a block of dried noodles, a flavoring packet, and sometimes if you are lucky, it may contain freeze dried vegetables and meat. Lately, there seems to be a craze about upgrading your ramen experience. I am going to share with you one way to ramp up your bowl of piping hot noodles in a way that is fresh, spicy, and comforting.
Turn your packages of instant ramen into a Laksa Noodle Soup – a spicy Southeast Asian coconut milk and broth-based noodle soup. You will commonly find it in Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia in various forms. In the last decade however, it has also found its way to the Philippines. It’s a good weekday lunch or quick dinner fix, and requires just a few ingredients that you usually have at home.
The success of this dish relies heavily on the soup. I usually use either homemade or store bought Laksa paste, but today, I only have red curry paste. Both have similar base ingredients such as ginger, lemongrass, galangal, red chili, shallots and coriander seeds. We will add or substitute some of the missing flavors, and trust me it will work and taste like the authentic version if not better. For protein I am using thin slices of chicken, assorted fishballs, fish cakes, fried tofu, and medium boiled eggs with jammy yolks.
- Fill a small sauce pan with about 3 quarters of water and add 2 tablespoon of vinegar. The vinegar will help the eggs coagulate better and ease its release from the shells. Also prepare an ice bath to shock the boiled eggs and stop the cooking process. Bring the water to a rolling boil, gently put your room temperature eggs into the water, and cook for 8 minutes (6 minutes for soft boiled and runny yolks). Immediately place eggs into the ice bath and leave to cool completely.
- In a medium pot, sauté 1 tsp of red curry paste, ¼ tsp of turmeric, 1 tsp shrimp paste, 1 instant ramen flavor pack, and a tablespoon of oil. Cook this for about 5 mins over medium low heat, making sure that the bottom doesn’t burn. Add 6 cups of water, 3 tbsp of coconut milk powder (or substitute one cup water with one can of coconut milk.) Bring all to a rolling boil and adjust seasoning if needed with either nuoc cham or patis, or salt, if needed. Add noodles from 2 packages, and boil for 2-3 minutes or until al dente. Take the noodles and arrange into a bowl.
- Add the fishballs and fried tofu to the soup and cook until it floats, add the chicken pieces and cook through. Peel and slice eggs in halves and arrange with all the protein in the bowl. Ladle over some soup that now has this wonderful layers of flavor from the laksa paste, coconut milk, and the proteins. The tofu would have absorbed all that goodness. Garnish with sliced scallions and if you want to spice it up some more, you can add a little bit of sambal sauce and sliced chili peppers. You can also add beansprouts, but I don’t eat them so I am serving them with a little bit of cooked spinach and pea pods for veggies. Don’t forget to serve with a slice of lime.
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