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Weeknight Cooking

I Love Instant Ramen Noodles but Hate the Flavor Packs. Help!

A bulk-buy staple forms the backbone for this quick weeknight supper.
By Published Mar. 3, 2020

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My ramen memories go back nearly 40 years to a time when, as a grade school latchkey kid, I had all afternoon to “stay out of trouble” at home before anyone adult got home from work. I spent most of my time in the kitchen, making snacks and baking cookies and watching General Hospital on the old black-and-white TV. (Anyone else remember Luke and Laura?)

Ramen was always there as an after-school treat mostly because it was so cheap, but I always loved the slithery noodles and warm broth. To this day, I keep a few packets of ramen noodles in the cupboard. But I don’t mess with the flavor packets. Instead, I use that block of ramen as a canvas—something to build on.

This recipe for ramen with meaty shiitake mushrooms, gorgeous soft-cooked eggs, and the lively flavors of fresh ginger and Asian chili-garlic sauce comes together in just a few minutes and is deeply satisfying. It can be served on a cool evening or in front of your favorite soap opera. Next time you’re at the grocery store, pick up a packet of noodles. You never know when the mood might strike to doctor it up into something special.