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Ramen Noodle Stir Fry


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.

One part of this dish I really want to recommend, and you should try this any time you use canned tuna. Instead of just eating the tuna from the can or mixing it with mayo, fry the tuna in a cast iron skillet. The tuna takes on an entirely different flavor, and this flavor is outstanding! You won't believe the difference you get when you fry canned tuna.

I learned about frying tuna this from, of all places, Legal Sea Foods. Several years ago I was there for lunch, and they had a simple cooked tuna sandwich on the menu…for $10. I wondered what a $10 tuna sandwich at Legal would be like, and gave it a try. It turned out to be the best tuna sandwich I'd ever had in my life. I had to try making it myself, and that was when I began frying canned tuna. When you do this, you may never again be satisfied with just dumping it from the can into your food.

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 - carrot, celery, onion, ginger. Keep the carrot pieces in a separate bowl, because these will need to be fried first. The garlic, celery and onion can be kept in one other bowl or container. 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 60% to 70% of maximum heat on your stovetop range. Add ramen noodles to the boiling water and stir them in. Cook until the noodles are al dente – this should only take 3 to 4 minutes. Drain the noodles into a colander.

When the cast iron 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 the tuna and fry it until the tuna is cooked and somewhat dry. Remove the tuna to a metal container.

Add another two tablespoons of oil, and heat it for another minute. Add ginger to the oil. In only a few seconds the ginger will give an aroma – it is now time to fry. Add the carrots to the oil and fry about two minutes, so the carrots are soft. Carrots are a hard vegetable, and they require more time to fry than the other vegetables; this is why the carrots need to be fried first. Add celery, carrots, and onion. Stir fry for about 3 minutes, until the vegetables change to a darker color and begin to soften.

Add the ramen noodles from the colander, and stir fry everything together for about 3 to 4 minutes. The noodles will turn a darker color and will be less sticky than at the beginning. At this point, add salt, white pepper, and soy sauce. Stir everything together until the noodles are completely coated and have turned a brown color from the soy sauce.

Add tuna, and stir fry it with the vegetables for about two more minutes. Finally, add spinach and stir fry everything until the spinach is wilted and cooked.