Ramen is something so many people are familiar with. Maybe you’ve had periods in your life where you’ve become too familiar with the noodles, but our objective today will be to elevate your at home ramen experience to something that rivals a bowl that you’d find on the menu of a noodle house. Not only will the base of this dish be cheap, it’s also an ingredient that is so widely accessible. This recipe is only labeled as hard because of the level of detail we’re going to take in creating the dish. Don't be afraid.
- Ramen noodles
- Shrimp (Preferred: Raw shrimp labeled 16/20 or extra jumbo)
- Teriyaki sauce
- Soy sauce
- Vegetables of your choosing
- 1-3 eggs
- Old Bay
- Salt + Pepper
- Tablespoon of Butter
With this recipe, we’ll be working in a pretty specific order to ensure that everything is finished and ready to eat all at the same time. Let’s start with talking about buying shrimp. Whether fresh or frozen, they’ll be labeled by size. The numbers, 31/35, 26/30, or, 16/20 will correspond with how many shrimp would be in a pound. Simple equation: the lower numbers, the larger the shrimp. My general standard is 16/20 or below, they’re easier to clean and gives shrimp the weight of other proteins. Recently, when buying frozen shrimp my preference has been Argentinian pink shrimp. you can find them in most grocery stores. They’re wild and have a taste and texture that is closer to lobster. If you’re using frozen shrimp you’ll want let them thaw in cold water for 30 minutes.
De-veining and cleaning shrimp can be a tedious task, but there’s nothing like the flavor you’ll get from fresh, raw shrimp. If you’d like to skip a step you can certainly buy them already deveined, but I’d still recommend following here and running your knife through the shrimp one more time to be sure that they're all clean.
Everyone has their own best way to peel a shrimp, so I’ll leave that to you. The objective is to remove the shell while keeping the meat of the shrimp intact. For this recipe, we’ll be hanging on to the shrimp’s shells to use for a shrimp stock. We’ll start with using a knife to cut a shallow slit in the back of the shrimp, from the tail down. The sand vein is actually the contents of what the shrimp has consumed so it’s a little gross, but it can be easily be removed with the tip of a knife. When you’ve removed the vein from all of your shrimp, give them all a good rinse to be sure you don’t see any remnants. For now we’ll cover the cleaned shrimp and refrigerate them while we start on the stock.
Typically when making a stock you would use bones, but the shrimp has an eco-skeleton so all of the flavor will come from the shrimp’s shell. start by covering your shrimp shells in water, roughly 3-4 cups. ultimately this liquid will be what we use to boil our noodles and it will reduce over time so be generous with the water. for this recipe, i’m also using simple old bay, red pepper flakes and sea salt to season the liquid but here’s an opportunity to get creative. any cajun/creole seasoning will work, curry powder, cumin, paprika, all work. whatever you choose, bring it to boil then simmer. (in plain language once it starts boiling, turn it down)
While the stock goes, we can go to work on vegetables. again this is all about personal palate and preference so, for this recipe i’ll be using mushroom, carrots and green onion but i encourage you to explore here. green beans are great, sweet peppers, asparagus, i’ve even made ramen with collard greens! find what works best for you.
Cook the vegetables through. I add a quarter-sized amount of oil to the pan and a few splashes of soy sauce. I’m using a $25 dollar wok from Ikea, but any frying pan will certainly do. Once fully cooked, turn your veggies off to avoid overcooking.
We’re doing a lot of shifting so I’ll give a quick recap:
We’ve got shrimp in the refrigerator, shrimp stock simmering, and cooked veggies all waiting for us to return to them, but nothing that we need give all of our attention to. This next step will require your whole attention but only for a few minutes.
We’ll be making a soft boiled egg. in the ingredients list, I recommended 1-3 eggs for this recipe. You truly only need one, but this may take a few tries to get right.
Fill a pot with enough water to cover your egg(s) and bring it to boil. Gently lower the egg into the boiling water and immediately set a timer for 6 minutes. At the 6-minute mark, move the eggs from the boiling water into a bowl of ice water. Let them cool for AT LEAST 10 minutes. Be very careful when peeling as the eggs yolk may be easily breakable.
Okay, we’re in the home stretch—these final 3 steps will bring together what we’ve been working toward. First, we’ll strain our stock, separating the shrimp shells from the liquid that will be used for our ramen. A standard strainer will do you fine, enough to hold onto the shells while allowing your seasoning to stay in the liquid. Once separated, bring the shrimp stock to a boil and add ramen noodles. Reduce to low heat after 3 minutes and add the vegetables we previously cooked.
In your wok or frying pan, add a dime-sized amount of oil and sauté shrimp on medium-high heat, again being sure not to overcook. Cover shrimp in teriyaki sauce and toss.
The assembly is simple: ladle your ramen into your favorite bowl, top the bowl with your sautéed teriyaki shrimp and soft boiled egg. This bowl is garnished with green onion and black sesame seed.