Hi again! Today’s post is paying homage to one of the all-time icons of cheap food: ramen noodles. We’ll be taking a package and whipping up something healthy, tasty and open to all sorts of customizing.
You’ll locate the recipe for Cold (And Spicy?) Asian Noodles on page 50 of the PDF version of “Good and Cheap”. This wonderful cookbook is a free download at leannebrown.com. If you’ve splurged and purchased the print version of “Good and Cheap”, it’s on page 38.
This is another fast & easy recipe that takes:
- soy sauce
- green onion
I used these ingredients, with a little bit of sambal oelek. My only other deviation from the recipe involved timing. It asks you to let the noodles sit in the fridge for about an hour, to let the flavours develop. I was ravenous when I was making this, so I’m afraid it didn’t spend even a millisecond in the fridge before I wolfed it down. Well … there’s always next time.
How Did It Taste?
The cookbook notes describe this as “a recipe that you can really make your own.” I agree. The basic version of Cold Asian Noodles was good, but it felt like something was missing. (Part of that is my fault for not letting it spend some time in the fridge.) But I think that this would be great with the addition of fresh grated ginger or some teriyaki sauce.
“Good and Cheap” also suggests Peanut Sauce or Spice Oil as add-ons, and recipes for those are found in both versions. The Peanut Sauce sounds especially good to me.
The overall verdict? This is a solid base recipe, but it needs you to apply some creativity to really make it shine. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Think of it as an empty canvas, just waiting for you to build your own masterpiece.
Time and Money
I made a quarter-recipe which was a generous meal-sized serving for one person. You can put this together in ten minutes, fifteen tops. (Chop the vegetables while you wait for the water to boil for the noodles.) The final tab was $1.20, which is really, really cheap.
Interestingly, this is another one of those instances when the price per serving is actually much cheaper what’s quoted in “Good and Cheap”. I attribute that to the inexpensive ramen I used (Mr. Noodles brand.)
A Homage to Ramen Noodles
In February, I did an interview with CBC’s Isabelle Gallant, talking about the “Good and Cheap” experiment. Isabelle asked if there was ever a time in my past when I could have used this cookbook.(You can have a listen here. I start at the 9:02 mark.)
Indeed there was, and ramen holds an iconic place in that part of my culinary history. I was a struggling freelance, and you could get Ichiban noodles for 29 cents a package. (25 cents on sale.) At one point, I ate them for every lunch and supper, for about two weeks straight.
Not the healthiest diet, but I will point out that I never, ever used the flavour packets, which seemed like an atomic bomb’s worth of sodium. To this day, ramen with a little bit of butter and light soy sauce is a super-fast comfort food for me. I’m intrigued by today’s recipe and will do some more experimenting to find that magical combination of vegetables and sauces that hits a home run.
And that’s it. Thanks for coming to visit! Next up, we’ll look at how my food spending played out in July (and got much more complicated by the addition of a week-long vacation.) See you then!