Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Recipe and Rambling: Ramen Noodle Slaw

This recipe has two things going for it. (Well . . . actually three.)

  • Thing One: It’s a make ahead recipe which means that you can compile the pre-made ingredients in about 30 seconds and have it on the table and ready to go.
  • Thing Two: It tastes really, really (did I mention really?) good.
  • Thing three: Whenever I serve it, I am always asked for the recipe. Which makes me happy.

So let’s get started with the recipe! And the rambling! (Non-rambling recipe is at the end.)

To make the marinade, mix together one cup of sugar,

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1 cup of oil,

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1/2 C cider vinegar, and 2 T soy sauce.

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Please pay special attention to the picture in the top left hand corner which displays the fact that the bag I happened to choose contained a mere and measly 14 ounces of cabbage instead of the 16 ounces called for. However, since I am far too cheap to buy a second bag just to score two extra ounces of slaw, I just went with what I had. And all was well.

slaw edit

Find some scallions and chop ‘em up. Chop, chop, chop. Show no mercy.

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Mix the onions with the merely measly slaw. Pat yourself on the back for a job well done. (Oh yes. And don’t forget to stir all the ingredients around. In this picture, the stuff is yet unstirred.)

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Pour the marinade over the slaw/scallion mixture, stir, and stick it in the fridge for at least 8 hours.

You are not required to visit with this mixture, or talk to it, or even open the fridge to sing songs to it. This is a very low maintenance slaw. It is happy to just sit in your fridge.

In the dark. Alone. Abandoned. Forsaken. Ignored. (But hey. It’s not bitter.)

Now. After you’ve worked through your guilt about leaving the poor measly slaw to marinate in the juices of its own self pity (ooh, that doesn’t sound too appetizing), grab a stick of butter from the Official Butter Compartment in your fridge and throw it onto a skillet.

At this point in the process, I always become inordinately fascinated with the melting butter and take many inordinately fascinated pictures of it. Because melting butter is just so fab!

(Well, it’s fab except for the fact that it doesn’t melt off my hips the way it melts in the pan. But I’m not bitter. About butter. Much.)

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Now. Here’s the hard part. Buy some Ramen noodles.

I know, I know. That doesn’t seem hard for most of you, but for me? It was just a wee tad challenging. Because it seems that when one dashes through the grocery store in a hurry to grab things hither and yon to throw in one’s card so that one may drive pell-mell home in order to start compile a large meal for speedily approaching dinner guests, one is sometimes known to commit the semi fatal cooking foible of choosing the wrong kind of Ramen noodles.

Because who knew that Ramen noodles also came in cups? Not me, that’s who.

(See picture below for an illustration of how I was duped and sadly deceived by the familiar orange color of the Ramen package and why I grabbed it thinking, yes, even knowing for certain, that it was surely the product I was looking for. It wasn’t.

Bottom line? You want the product on the left.

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Since my hubby was out running errands that day, I threw myself on his mercy and begged him to stop by the grocery store and get the correct Ramen noodles for me. Which he did. With a minimum (well, actually a complete absence) of any husbandly murmuring in the process. And may I just add that a mere half hour before that, I had also realized I was completely out of soy sauce?

(You’ll never guess who I called. )

Let me just say that it is a very dear, devoted and patient husband who will make two separate trips to the grocery store in the space of just thirty minutes to retrieve ingredients for a wife whose forgetful behavior eats into the very fabric of the efficiency of his very being. (Or something like that.)

Okay. Where was I?

Oh yes. We were mixing together yummy stuff which so far has included butter and Ramen noodles. The Ramen noodles, however, cannot be added to the melting butter until they are first thrown into a Ziploc bag and pounded heartily with a mallet or any other pounding utensil you might have. (Steve and Sarah were cooking together one day and Steve actually went out to the garage and got a real hammer. So feel free to pound with whatever sort of pounder makes you the most happy.

You don’t want the noodles to become all crumbly so just pound until they’re broken up slightly and not all clumped together. This is a de-clumping sort of pounding.

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The next ingredient in this recipe is slivered almonds. And do you know what? I don’t think that I have even on single time ever purchased the correct almonds for this dish. Because what happens is that I always very efficiently write on my grocery list, “Sl almonds.”

And then I get to the store and I arrive post haste in the nut aisle. I stand by the selection of nuts and I squint up my eyes at my list in a usually futile attempt to read my own writing. And I stare at “sl almonds” for a very, very, very long time as I interrogate my scattered brain. Does “sl” stand for slivered or sliced? sliced or slivered? slivered or sliced? What to do? What to do?”

And every single time? I choose sliced.

And every single time? I’m wrong.

Sigh.

But whether you slice ‘em or sliver ‘em, I am of the firm opinion that nuts should be roasted before eating because they taste so much butter. So I just throw them on a cookie sheet for 5 minutes at 350 degrees before proceeding.

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To the butter, nuts, and noodles, you now add 1/2 C sesame seeds. You will add these last because they burn easily. (So keep a close eye on ‘em and sauté just a couple minutes while stirring.)

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Now just so you are fairly warned, this next step will present a major challenge to your self control.

Dump the whole butter/noodle/nut mixture onto a paper towel to cool. While it’s cooling, see if you can keep yourself from grabbing a handful of the wonderful concoction and stuffing it in your mouth. Because I guarantee. You can’t. This mixture is just way too wonderful for any sort of non-ingesting to take place.

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When the mixture is cool, gather up the sides of the paper towels and make a sort of Paper Towel Funnel and pour it all into a gallon Ziploc. Put the bag out of sight for safe keeping because if you walk by it for the rest of the day, you will be compelled (not to mention forced) to stop and take a spoonful. And then? The lovely mixture will be all gone. (Don’t ask me how I know.)

So I’m just saying--store said bag in a secure facility. (Fort Knox would be good.)

When it’s time to serve your detectable dish, merely retrieve the (forsaken, sulking) marinade mixture from the fridge, add the crunchy stuff from the Ziploc bag, stir and serve.

You will love it. I promise.

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Funny side note:

When Steve arrived home (the second time) with Yet Another Ingredient That His Wife Forgot, he was accompanied by a cute little girl. A cute little Girl Scout girl. A cute little Girl Scout girl who was on a box of cute little Girl Scout Cookies.

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Even though I’m not a huge fan of coconut, I had one little ol’ cookie, just because I felt compelled to support the efforts of Girl Scouts everywhere. (And also because the coconut was accompanied by chocolate.)

So there I was, munching my cookie while surrounded by a huge box of Ramen noodle cups and a huge box of regular Ramen noodles when Mike, the guy from our church who was working on our bathroom, walked by. I said, “Mike, we’ve got plenty of space at our dinner tonight if you think you can join us.”

He took one suspicious glance at the box of cookies and another wary look at the multitudinous quantities of Ramen noodles and (for some completely unfathomable reason) said that he had other plans.

What?

He doesn’t want to come to a dinner where the menu includes two kinds of Ramen noodles and a box of Samoas? What’s wrong with him? (Actually, he really did have other plans but I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself when I thought how the whole dinner prep thing must have looked to him.)

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Alrighty then. Here is your non-rambling recipe. Enjoy!

Ramen Noodle Slaw
(I got this recipe from my friend, Leanne, in Smithfield.)

Blend Well

1 C sugar

1 C oil

1/2 C cider vinegar

2 T soy sauce

Pour marinade over:

1 16 oz package shredded cabbage slaw mixture

6 scallions, chopped

Mix well. Refrigerate at least hours or overnight.

Sauté

1 stick butter

3 packages Ramen noodles, broken in small pieces (discard flavor pack)

1 C slivered almonds (can roast in a 350 oven for 5 minutes for extra crunch and flavor)

1/2 C sesame seeds (add these when the noodles and almonds are about browned as they burn easily)

Let this mixture cool on paper towels and then store in Ziploc bag. Add to slaw mixture just before serving.

Mix well before serving. Serve with slotted spoon.


Edited to add:

Here are a few variations to this recipe that came in after I posted this recipe.

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Deb: I also have a MN twist...I use the "Oriental" flavor packet from the noodles instead of the soy sauce(don't have to worry about having it on hand).I also mix everything just before serving! Love the narratives with the recipes, always makes them better!

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Sandy: If you add grilled chicken to the ramen noodle slaw it can be a great meal in the summer time or any time.

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MN Mom" Ok, I am going to give you the MN version of this salad, which is similar. No butter, so the calorie count is definitely lower.

Use the same bag of cole slaw, but instead of chicken Ramen, use beef, and the flavor packet gets included in the dressing which is 1/3 c. cider vinegar, 1/2 c. canola oil, and 1/2 c. sugar, mixed well and refrigerated. Ramen noodles are broken up just the same, but instead of sesame seeds, I use 1 c. toasted sunflower seeds, and 1 c. toasted slivered almonds. One bunch chopped green onions also. I often add a cup of dried cranberries too for color. There is no need for cooling, just mix the ingredients together just before serving. I get requests for this one whenever I serve it."

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PFC: Here in Pittsburgh, we do it a little different I use Rice Vinegar instead of cider ( its is the only recipe I use Rice vinegar for so it last a long time!) I cook the Ramen noodles, I do not use the flavor packet. I save it for annother day. I mix it together the night before using 1/2 of the dressing, then add the 2nd half right before we serve it! And I am way to cheap to buy Slivered almonds, I always go to the store with the intention of buying them then I see the sunflower seeds just as yummy and cheaper and I always use them!! Still Yummy!! It is my mothers favorite!! Although I do have an ongoing argument with my best friend over whether the noodles should be cooked, I always cook them and she does not! It is always a hit no matter what!

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Catherine: I make a lo mein with ramen using a very similar recipe but I dump the noodles into boiling water for a minute or so and then saute lightly in oil with cabbage (or wilted left over lettuce), green onions, shaved carrot and slivers of ham or chicken.



Comment Corner

Thank you to everyone who signed in yesterday after my morose Monday missive and said such sweet and encouraging things. You just plain ol’ made me smile. Smithellaneous readers are the best!

Also, I just hate it when I spell words wrong and it just occurred to me a few minutes ago (after reading some of your comments where you spelled "bonny" correctly) that I had misspelled that word in yesterday's post. So I have gone back and edited it. And now I feel so much better.


This question was left in the comments concerning Nathan and Meagan’s engagement photo: “Meagan's purple dress is so cute! Would you mind asking her where she got it?”

Here is Meagan’s response: I got my dress from Macy's in the junior department on sale in August of 08. I actually bought it for a friends wedding. Who would have thought that I would be wearing for my own wedding/engagement? :)

8 Had Something To Say (Just click here!):

Amanda J said...

The recipe sounds great! I also wish I could reach through the computer and grab that box of Samoas. Those are my favorite of the Girl Scout cookies. Haven't had any in a long time.... I'm jealous now. LOL jk

Melanie said...

This is one of our favorite slaw recipes... we fix it ALOT, particularly during the summer!

MN Mom said...

Ok, I am going to give you the MN version of this salad, which is similar. No butter, so the calorie count is definitely lower. Use the same bag of cole slaw, but instead of chicken Ramen, use beef, and the flavor packet gets included in the dressing which is 1/3 c. cider vinegar, 1/2 c. canola oil, and 1/2 c. sugar, mixed well and refrigerated. Ramen noodles are broken up just the same, but instead of sesame seeds, I use 1 c. toasted sunflower seeds, and 1 c. toasted slivered almonds. One bunch chopped green onions also. I often add a cup of dried cranberries too for color. There is no need for cooling, just mix the ingredients together just before serving. I get requests for this one whenever I serve it.
Isn't it amazing what you can do with simple ingredients!

Anonymous said...

If you add grilled chicken to the ramen noodle slaw it can be a great meal in the summer time or any time.
Sandy

Me said...

Thanks so much for answering my question!
I LOVE ramen slaw, a friend made it for me back in college but I never got her recipe, I'm so glad you chose to post this recipe.

Deb said...

My favorite also! I also have a MN twist...I use the "Oriental" flavor packet from the noodles instead of the soy sauce(don't have to worry about having it on hand).I also mix everything just before serving! Love the narratives with the recipes, always makes them better!

Catherine said...

Are the noodles crunchy when you make this?

I make a lo mein with ramen using a very similar recipe but I dump the noodles into boiling water for a minute or so and then saute lightly in oil with cabbage (or wilted left over lettuce), green onions, shaved carrot and slivers of ham or chicken.

PFC said...

Here in Pittsburgh, we do it alittle different I use Rice Vinegar instead of cider ( its is the only recipe I use Rice vinegar for so it last a long time!) I cook the Ramen noodles, I do not use the flavor packet. I save it for annother day. I mix it together the night before using 1/2 of the dressing, then add the 2nd half right before we serve it! And I am way to cheap to buy Slivered almonds, I always go to the store with the intention of buying them then I see the sunflower seeds just as yummy and cheaper and I always use them!! Still Yummy!! It is my mothers favorite!! Although I do have an ongoing argument with my best friend over whether the noodles should be cooked, I always cook them and she does not! It is always a hit no matter what!!