I grew up on Sapporo Ichiban ramen noodles (original flavor is the only way to go). My mother, having grown up in Japan, used to have packets of the stuff around the house and would make it for me when I got sick (or she just couldn’t deal with cooking). I called it “soupie.” Still do.
While I still crave that MSG hit from the flavor packet sometimes, I admit that it probably won’t help my high blood pressure any. I still need the noodle fix every now and then though and it’s something my entire family eats so I’ve done a little tweaking to make it a healthier and heartier meal.
For the broth, you can add soak a couple of pieces of kombu in water to get a more robust, authentic flavor or even make stock from a pork shoulder or chicken pieces. Usually though, I’m more worried about getting dinner on the table than producing an intensely flavored broth. Consider that a weekend project. The focus on this weeknight bowl is lots of noodles and veggies.
For the broth:
1 quart chicken broth or vegetable stock
2 scallions, cut into pieces
1 chunk ginger, peeled and cut into large slices
1 pound firm tofu, cubed
2 packages dried ramen noodles (you can get the cheap stuff at the grocery store and just throw out the flavor pack)
2 bunches watercress
1 bunch “adult” spinach (not baby)
Heat chicken broth in a saucepot with scallions and ginger. Add tofu and keep at a low simmer.
Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the noodles until soft. In the bottom of four deep bowls, add some soy sauce and sesame oil. Once the noodles are cooked as desired, divide them between the four bowls and pour some hot stock over them to keep warm.
(Full disclosure: my kids won’t eat the veggies because they’re assholes and I can’t be bothered with arguing with them at the table about it. I give them the noodles, very little broth and I try to sneak in some tofu at the bottom of the bowl. Their dinner cools while I cook the veggies and eggs for my husband and I. )
To the same pot of water, add the spinach and blanch for 2 minutes. Divide spinach between the bowls, add more broth.
Poach the eggs in the boiling water for just a minute or two (if you’re like me, you’ll want to keep the yolks runny). Divide them between the bowls then top each bowl with some watercress.
Serve with soy sauce, sesame oil and sriracha at the table. Folks can season as they wish.