Homemade Ramen with Shiitake, Kale, and Onion, AKA, How to Make Your Old College Self Jealous

Delicious ramen from Two Ten Jack's in Nashville.
Delicious ramen from Two Ten Jack’s in Nashville: Vegetable broth with burnt corn, collards, benishoga, mayu, and an extra egg, because always have an extra egg!

For many of you, Ramen might conjure images of your youth or college, when all you could afford was the box of too salty ramen that provided a giant bowl of filling warm soup.  Heat it in the microwave, and watch those crispy noodles unfurl and soften.  Its basically a science experiment.  And if you’re like me, you haven’t had that in ages.  It wasn’t until a few years ago that I learned this is not at all what Ramen is supposed to be.  Rather, ramen is delicious, fresh, bright, and GOOD for you.  Check out this bowl of ramen I had at a to-die-for delicious restaurant in Nashville not too long ago.  What really set this ramen off was that soft boiled egg.  Oh. So. Good.  Two Ten Jack in Nashville, TN is an izakaya, or Japanese pub style restaurant and Ramen house.  And I will go there everytime I’m in Nashville.  Because slurping noodles in a bowl is as much my jam as jam.  See what I did there? 😉

So anyhow, after having had that amazing bowl of yum, I’ve been craving it, and there is no place in Knoxville where I can satisfy that craving.  Enter Pinterest.  I found this pin about 21 different ramen noodle recipes you can try at home (I should never be allowed on Pinterest hungry.  Or not hungry for that matter).  Hello and thank you!  So this weekend’s snow storm had us trying the first and easiest.  I like this recipe, because I frequently have these ingredients on hand.  Kale, mushrooms, veg broth.  Onions.  These can almost always be found in my refrigerator or pantry, and if they can’t, its because I am probably on my way to Whole Foods to replenish them.  To be fair, I did change this recipe.  And it was still delicious.  I think there are endless ways to punch this up.  Here’s what I did.

Shiitake Mushroom and Kale Ramen
Adapted from Recipe on Nutmeg Nanny

First, I doubled it, because I have to share with my husband.  Also, this soup is basically healthy, with little added fat, so you can feel free to indulge in a giant bowl.  Not that I did, and still had a second helping.  If my husband tries to tell you that, don’t believe him!

2 Cups of Fresh Kale, sliced into about an inch to two inch pieces.
I was lame and forgot the green onions, so I substituted a purple onion.  About half of one large purple onion, diced.
1 cup of shiitake mushrooms, sliced (portobellos work fine in this too, but perhaps maitake would be divine?)
1 jalapeño, sliced (I like heat, but if you don’t omit this)
About 6 cups of Veggie broth
1 and 1/2 teaspoons ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 teaspoons (or to taste) of a Japanese Ginger Dressing/Marinade, as I couldn’t find a specific garlic ginger sauce
Sriracha – both at the end of the sauce, and added on top to taste for an extra zing
Sesame Oil – woks get hot, so I think sesame works a bit better than
A squirt of lemon juice at the finish

I also had fresh Phad Thai noodles on hand, because my husband frequently makes Phad Thai for me.  I am lucky, I know.  I used these instead of the packet of ramen.  Frankly, as much as I love REAL ramen, I can’t even stand the smell of the packet anymore!  I was really poor in college.

Sautéing Mushrooms, Kale, Onions, and Spices.
Sautéing Mushrooms, Kale, Onions, and Spices.

I started the onions in a skillet wok first, then added the jalapeño, kale, and mushrooms.  When all was mostly softened I added the ginger paste, and some sriracha.  Also the powdered ginger, sat, and pepper.  Stir to combine, and to let the favors release from the ginger, for about one minute.  Then add the veggie broth.  Bring to a boil, then add your noodles, and cook until soft, or your desired level of doneness.  For me, since I used fresh Phad Thai noodles from Whole Foods, this was about 1 minute.  Serve in a large bowl.  Give it a little squeeze of lemon.  Season to taste.  Fight over leftovers.

Next time, I am going to up the ante, with a few more peppers, actual green onions AND real onions, and fresh ginger.  I will also add the soft boiled egg, because YUM.  How would YOU improve this recipe?

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