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Ramen Noodle Stir Fry

ramenstirfry.jpg

Every so often these moods get me: tonight I had the urge to make a stir fry specifically with ramen noodles. Here in the USA those el cheapo ramen noodle packets are usually the food of last resort (and a mainstay for starving college students and artists), but in most areas of the world ramen is enormously popular not only because it's so cheap, but because it's easy to cook with. With only a little preparation (and some additional ingredients), you can have a tasty stir fry that stands head and shoulders above those salt-and-calorie-laden cup o' soups.

Pans needed: 1 frying pan (a wok is traditional, but any large frying pan will work), 1 saucepan to boil ramen noodles, metal or glass dish for reserving hot cooked ingredients

Stir fries don't take very long, especially when cooked over high heat. Prepare for this stir fry by chopping up your ingredients in advance - celery, carrots, onions, ginger. Open the can of tuna and drain the liquid. Crack eggs into a bowl and stir them into a mix, and keep aside. Open the ramen noodle packs and throw the flavoring packets in the trash.

Begin heating water in the sauce pan, while you heat up your wok or frying pan on a setting of between 70% to 80% of maximum heat on your stovetop range. When the pan is hot enough that flicking a few drops of water onto the cooking surface causes the liquid to sizzle and evaporate almost immediately, add 2 tablespoons of cooking oil and heat it for one minute. Add ginger to the oil. In only a few seconds the ginger will give an aroma – it is now time to fry.

Add celery, carrots, and onion. Stir fry for about 3 minutes, until the vegetables change to a darker color and begin to soften. Add tuna, and stir fry it with the vegetables for about two more minutes. Remove all of the vegetables and tuna and reserve it in a separate dish. Turn the heat down to about medium, to keep the pan warm.

By now, your saucepan should be at a roiling boil. Add ramen noodles and stir them into the water. Cook until the noodles are al dente – this should only take 3 to 4 minutes. At this point, bring your wok heat back up to 70% to 80%, and add 3 more tablespoons of oil. Drain the noodles into a colander.

When the noodles are drained, add them directly to your wok. (Be careful, the oil may splatter when you add the noodles!) Quickly stir the noodles to absorb the oil, then pour the egg mixture into the noodles and stir it all around. The eggs will cook very quickly. Add soy sauce and stir it into the noodles until they are all a darker color.

After about a minute of stirring, add your tuna and vegetables back into the wok, and stir it all. Finally, add spinach and stir fry everything until the spinach is wilted and cooked.

Summary (for those of you who are experienced at stir frying):