Cook, Pop, Cook: Shin Ramen
Today dear reader, I reveal to you an ancient Korean secret (I learned it 3 days ago) passed down through many generations (a hyung–that’s an unrelated older brother–told me he heard about it on Korean TV) on how to make the perfect Shin Ramyun.
Actually, that almost looks like chef boyardee…but whatever. Onward!
For the uninitiated, Shin ramyun is one of the more popular Korean ramyuns, and rightfully so. It’s deliciously spicy and it’s gaining in popularity as evidenced by being featured on SlickDeals – if I find it in Costco, then we’ll know Shin ramyun has truly arrived (Update 5.28.10: my friend bought a box at Costco). It’s also an incredibly efficient way of consuming an entire day or two’s RDA of sodium. If you are a masochist, try eating the Shin ramyun raw by breaking up the noodles and sprinkling some of the soup powder on it. As Ralph would say, “It tastes like burning!”
So here are the steps to making the perfect base Shin ramyun. If you want to get fancy, you can add green onions, onions, lean meats, a slice of American cheese, an egg or two, rice cakes, and if you’re really adventurous, some heavy cream. And yes, it’s ramyun and not ramen – we ain’t Japanese, so momofuku!
First gather the ingredients. The secret ingredient is: Ssam jang (the green thing on the right):
You should be able to find it in any Korean Mart.
I have a pregnant wife at home so I made it the “healthy” way: boil 17oz of water in one pot and boil enough water to cover the noodles in another.
Notice the Truck Nuts Spoon Rest in the middle – one reviewer on Amazon called them titanium buttocks. Trust me…much more sac-like than booty-like.
Next, prepare the broth by putting HALF the soup powder and all of the package of “vegetable” flakes in the 17oz of boiling water.
And here’s the secret ingredient – it wouldn’t be so secret to you if you had Korean broadcasts on your FiOS/Cable – 1 heaping tablespoon of ssam jang: a modified soybean paste. It’s laden w/ MmmmSoGood, but what delicious Asian food isn’t?
Throw that in there with the broth and watch the magic unfold.
Once the water starts boiling in the other pot, throw the noodles in there and cook them for 4 minutes.
This is the Korean version of the McDLT: the McD’s sandwich that had the hot side hot and the cold side cold. The parts are prepared separately and when combined, it’s incredibly delicious.
After 4 minutes, strain the noodles and rinse them under COLD water – you don’t want them to continue cooking. The fact that you rinse out all the fat and other preserving goodies is why Koreans believe this way of making ramyun is healthier. Usually when people say healthier, it means it doesn’t taste too good, and it’s no different in this case. If you want all the fatty goodness, just follow the directions on the packaging (19.5oz of water), but substitute ssam jang for 1/2 the soup powder.
Now throw the noodles into the broth and bring the broth back up to a boil.
By our powers combined, we are freakin tasty!
Now you might be thinking to yourself, “Is this guy seriously going to continue posting all of these pics of ramen/ramyun?”
The ssam jang makes the broth incredibly smooth and also gives it a nice, complex flavor – granted we’re talking about ramyun here so being a complex prepackaged noodle is like saying, “He’s really smart for a 2 year old.”
How good was it? I had it two nights in a row. And yes, my face was swollen the next morning both times. I also awoke incredibly thirsty.
Give it a try and let me know what you think.