We had been traveling for five days and this was our first full day home. Still experiencing jetlag / daylight-time / up-way-too-early hangover, I hadn't realized tonight that our usual dinnertime had come and gone, and I was wondering why I was feeling so uncomfortable...
There was one slice of last night's pizza still in the fridge, but I needed to make something nutritious for our daughter and was craving Asian food after being in an area where we couldn't get it.
And of course, it had to be fast... using whatever I had in the refrigerator and cupboard.
I had picked up this premium ramen noodle at United Noodles earlier this winter, and this seemed to be the right time to try it. This package had four "biscuits" of noodles - so the price per serving is actually well under $1.00.
It comes with the usual foil packets of dry flavoring, but also packets of congealed fat to add in. Use them - it makes a big difference!
* Baby carrots, sliced into bite-sized chunks
* Spinach, chopped into thin julienne strips
* Half a turkey kielbasa, sliced in quarter-inch medallions
* A dash of soy sauce
* A couple dashes of lime juice
* A couple dashes of sesame oil
* Five-spice powder
* Pickled ginger
* 1 teaspoon Sesame seeds
I put a pot of water on the stovetop at high heat while I chopped the carrots, spinach, and kielbasa. As the pot came to a boil, I added the carrots and kielbasa to it along with the soy sauce, lime juice, sesame oil, and a shake of five-spice, and also two biscuits of the ramen noodles. I placed the spinach in the serving bowl for later.
After 3 minutes I added the foil packet of spices and the plastic packet of pork fat to the pot, let that boil for another 3 minutes, and then turned off the heat.
I transferred the contents of the pot with most of the broth into my serving bowl, hit it with another shake of five-spice, the sesame seeds, and about a forkful of pickled ginger strips.
Along with five-spice powder and a good-quality soy sauce, pickled ginger is another must-have "secret ingredient" that makes your home-cooking taste more like what you'd get from a real Asian restaurant. A little goes a long way!
And here's the finished product, four servings total. Plenty of greens and veggies with just enough low-fat meat to get your needed protein. The carrots had cooked to a soft texture while the spinach stayed crisp. The pork-fat packet gives the broth a smooth, smoky texture (and really doesn't add too many calories when split over multiple bowls.)
The judgment - would my daughter eat it? Enthusiastically, slurping the bowl clean and asking for seconds!
Of course, with more in the fridge I would have sliced up some green onion, cilantro, and perhaps some red pepper, but these ingredients did the job tonight - tasted authentic - and even gave me enough for lunchtime leftovers tomorrow.