How to Make Your Instant Ramen Look More Like a Restaurant's
This make-ahead upgrade is worth the wait.
While instant ramen has always been a go-to meal of mine when pressed for time or when the craving just hits, it's become a full-blown pantry staple during quarantine. My favorite type that I always stock up on is Nongshim Shin Ramyun, a popular Korean brand that has a spicy beef broth and chewy noodles.
Like most types of instant ramen, Nongshim Shin Ramyun usually includes the dried noodles and two packets — one with a seasoning blend and another consisting of dehydrated vegetables such as scallions and mushrooms. While I used to occasionally crack an egg in the pot toward the end of cooking for a quick poach, that all changed after I took a trip to Japan last year (which has, hands down, some of the best eggs I've ever tried).
After returning home, I started searching for an easy way to re-create the creamy soft-boiled eggs that were served at all the ramen restaurants I tried in Japan. I happened to discover a super simple recipe for soy-pickled eggs, and now that I've made them all through quarantine, I'm never going back to plain! It instantly elevates instant ramen to make it taste more like a restaurant's by adding extra umami flavor. It also takes less than 10 minutes to cook and requires just three ingredients, besides the eggs.
My go-to method for soy-pickled eggs comes from a recipe I found in a cookbook, The Japanese Table by Sofia Hellsten, and calls for just three ingredients in the pickling liquid: soy sauce, mirin and rice vinegar. While the recipe's ratios are a great starting point, I've adjusted them to fit my taste preferences. The first step is to soft-boil room temperature eggs for exactly 6 minutes and 30 seconds (7 minutes if the eggs are straight from the fridge). I usually cook 3 eggs in one batch and find that it's the perfect amount that can be fully submerged in the amount of pickling liquid. While the eggs are boiling, I measure out 6 tablespoons soy sauce, 5 tablespoons mirin and 4 tablespoons rice vinegar in a quart-size Mason jar (it's easy to remember the quantities as 6, 5, 4 and 3 for the eggs). Once the eggs have finished cooking and are cooled, I peel them and add them to the jar with the pickling liquid. Then I leave them to pickle in the fridge for at least 12 hours or up to 24 hours (18 hours is the sweet spot for me).
Once the eggs have reached my preferred amount of time, I remove them from the liquid to stop the pickling and keep them in the fridge until I'm craving some ramen (they'll keep in the fridge for about three days). When it comes time to eat, all I do is slice them lengthwise and add them to my bowl — there's no need to reheat them as they'll warm up in the hot soup. You'll be amazed at how the yolks turn out super creamy and dark orange — just like a restaurant's!