Food. I mean, who doesn’t like to eat? It’s often one of the first things we do in the morning and helps start our day off right. With Korean food crossing the ocean and hitting it big in other countries, a Korean Tasty Wave per se, this month’s focus on The Korea Blog will feature several popular meals that can easily be prepared at home. For this first installment, we’ll take a look at one of the most popular meals in Korea: instant noodles, or ramyun (라면).
Korean instant noodles are sold just about everywhere. Go into a convenience store – you’ll find them. Hit up the super market – an entire aisle will be dedicated to the delicious noodles. Spending the night gaming at a PC room – guess what? You could virtually live off the supply. There are so many different varieties of Korean ramyun now, one could have a different kind each day of the month. But that’s kind of boring, don’t you think? Why not take a moment and jazz it up a little – make it gourmet. Don’t think it’s worth the effort? Do it once and you’ll never go back to plain ramyun. Even schools employ industrial machines to help prepare a more robust meal.
So how does one make ordinary ramyun, gourmet? Well, it varies by taste, but as you can see in the school video above; egg, green onions, and dumplings were added. Variations such as these can also be seen at many restaurants throughout the nation, with cheese ramyun, mandu (dumpling) ramyun, and ddeok (rice cake) ramyun appearing as staple menu items. However, we don’t want to go to a restaurant… we want to make something at home, so let’s get cooking!
To be fair, I like a lot of things in my ramyun. Here’s a run down of what I usually put in: carrots, egg, green onions, rice cakes, and cheese. These all work together to enhance the taste of the standard ramyun… and if I want it extra spicy, I’ll add two flavor packets! Talk about living on the wild side.
Here’s my preferred method of creating a gourmet ramyun dish:
- In a bowl, add 500ml of water and a handful of cut carrots and rice cakes. This will help soften the carrots and rice cakes while cooking.
- Once the water comes to a boil, add the ramyun and seasoning packets. I prefer to break it in half, in order to make eating it a bit easier, but that is a matter of preference.
- After 30 seconds, add a handful of mushrooms and sliced green onions.
- After 90 seconds, add one scrambled egg.
- After two minutes, add a slice of cheese. I usually cut it up to make melting it easier.
When the full three minutes cooking time has elapsed, you’re not left with a snack, but with a meal.
It’s relatively simple and easy to take this ordinary staple of the Korean diet and make it a dining event. Which brings me to today’s question: how do you like your ramyun? What do you add to it? Cheese? Kimchi? Ddeok? Something else? Tell us how you prepare it in the comments down below.
Next week The Korea Blog continues the series by making a popular street home.