Writing about what feeds me.

MacGyver Vegetarian (Ramen) Noodle Stir-Fry

When people ask me what my specialty is in the kitchen, I like to say it’s “MacGyver-ing”.  That just means I take whatever is there (usually ordinary stuff you wouldn’t normally think to use) and I throw something together.  I can do the same thing whenever I go to a party and there is random liquor laying around.  People always drink well when I’m mixing drinks. =)

There is by no means nothing fancy about this stir-fry.  I mean, if actually PLAN to make stir-fry and go shop for specific vegetables and buy some good noodles from the Asian grocery, the process is virtually the same.  In this particular case, however, I simply took a gander at what was in the kitchen and (being that it was past 11pm in the suburbs) bought some 99 cent ramen from the local drugstore and go to work.

The main thing about this stir-fry dish is that I want to take something boring and completely unhealthy like instant ramen and try to spruce it up a bit.  Admittedly it’s still got a decent amount of sodium (this can be avoided however, as I will explain later) and other crap, but I try to add veggies and other tasty ingredients.  As you can see in the photo above, I’ve got a fair assortment – all just random leftovers from the fridge and freezer.  The photos from this particular session were taken awhile ago, so I will do my best to recall what ingredients were used, but generally speaking, anything goes!

– quarter of one cabbage head, shredded
– 2 or 3 carrots, shredded
– approx. 1 cup corn kernels (I used canned, but rinsed them first since they were packed in salt too)
– approx. 1 cup broccoli florets (frozen)
– jalapeno, minced
– one medium onion, diced
– 2 or 3 cloves garlic, minced
– 4 bags of instant ramen and 2 of the included flavor packets
– cooking oil
– sesame oil
– cilantro
– lemon or lime wedges (optional)
Other vegetable suggestions: green onion, red/green bell pepper, peas, string bean, bean sprouts, etc.

This is really simple.
– Bring water to boil and undercook ramen.  This means that as soon as the noodles start to loosen up from their square shape, they’re almost ready to be taken out.  Strain and set aside.

The reason my noodles look this way is because I cooked them the night before, having originally planned to make the stir-fry right then.  I got lazy and ended up storing the noodles overnight… hence the triangular cakes.

– Brown onions and garlic in cooking oil (I probably used EVOO).

– Toss in the jalapeno, cabbage and carrots and allow to soften a bit before adding other vegetables that don’t take as long to cook.

– Add a little water if it seems to be getting dry or the ingredients show signs of burning.  Add the noodles a little at a time while continuing to stir.  You could technically dump them all in at once if you want, but more than likely this will just make it harder to mix everything together.

– Now, for seasoning.  Here’s the “trick” I use, especially since I’m “MacGyver-ing” this dish.  While I do add sesame oil at the end (once I turn the heat off) to give some nice aroma and flavor, I mainly rely on the seasoning that comes with the instant ramen packages.  I always use only half of the seasoning; therefore, if I cook only two packages of ramen, I use just one seasoning packet.  It helps to evenly distribute this with the vegetables first so that it mixes more evenly once you add the cooked ramen.

NOTE:  If you definitely want to eliminate the massive amounts of sodium, artificial flavorings and MSG that are included in the seasoning packets, just use S&P or some soy sauce and maybe a little hoisin or oyster sauce (don’t get too crazy!).

– I like to sprinkle chopped cilantro on top as a garnish, in addition to including some in the dish itself.  If you want to make this stir-fry a bit similar to pancit or pad thai, squeeze in some lemon or lime juice.  I prefer it, so I almost always do.  Don’t forget the Sriracha!


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This entry was posted on April 27, 2012 by in Asian, Improvised, Noodles, Vegetarian and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , .
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