Not Your College Student’s Ramen

“We were wondering if you could create a recipe using dorm ingredients like Ramen noodles?”

It was an unsual request, especially coming from the alumni office at my college alma mater.  As they explained, the alumni magazine was doing a spread on alumni who went into food careers, and thought it would be fun if we each submitted an original recipe.  They thought it would be even more fun if the recipe was created using ingredients which are widely considered “dorm food”.  Ramen noodles, boxed mac & cheese, peanut butter, or canned tuna.  Never one to back down from a food challenge, I accepted.  Oh, and this all had to be done for under $10!

The following weekend I was having a reunion with four of my best college girlfriends in New York City and we went to a new food ‘market’ of sorts called “Smorgasburg” in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.  Think flea-market-meets-food-market.  Stall after stall of people selling delicious foods using interesting ingredients in interesting ways.  One of the stalls was mixing up delicious batches of sesame noodles and BAM I had my idea.  Sesame noodles made with ramen.

After a little trial and error, I came up with this recipe.  You can adjust the spiciness by using more or less of the chili paste (or leave it out entirely), but for me, the spicier the  better.  You can also swap out various vegetables for the carrots and snow peas, like red bell peppers.  Don’t like chicken?  Shrimp is a great substitute.

The long, thin Ramen noodles look suspiciously like the ones in the more “authentic” sesame noodle dish I had in Brooklyn…so hey, who has to know?  It will be our little secret.

Sesame Noodles with Chicken

Serves 3-4

3 – 3 oz packaged Ramen noodles (any variety)

¾ lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 cup carrots, cut into matchsticks (about 2)

1 cup snow peas, cut diagonally (about 4 oz)

2 teaspoons sesame oil

Sauce:

3 tablespoons sesame oil

½ cup smooth peanut butter

3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

3 tablespoons rice vinegar (unseasoned)

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

1-2 teaspoons red chili paste with garlic (or hot chili sauce with garlic if you can’t find the paste)–optional

Garnish:

¼ cup chopped scallions or chives

½ cup fresh cilantro leaves

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

1.  Preheat the broiler of your oven or toaster oven.

2. Season chicken with salt and pepper and place under broiler for 7-8 minutes per side, or until cooked through.  Set aside and allow to cool slightly.

3.  Next make the sauce by placing all the sauce ingredients in the work bowl of a small food processor or blender.  Blend until smooth.  Add 1-3 tablespoons of hot water if sauce isn’t pourable and blend again.  Set aside.

4. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add Ramen noodles (discard seasoning packet) and cook for a total of 3 minutes.  During the last minute of cooking, add the carrots and snow peas.

5. Drain in a colander and place in a large bowl.  Add 2 teaspoons of sesame oil and toss.  Set aside.

6. Shred the chicken with your hands or two forks and add to the noodles/veggies.  Add the sesame sauce and toss to combine.

7. Garnish with chives, cilantro, and sesame seeds.  Serve immediately.

 

Click here for more information about Tracy’s Connecticut cooking classes, or to read her The Secret Ingredient Blog.
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