When I left home to pursue my dream of becoming Andy Warhol with a vagina, my life got a little easier once I found four-for-a-dollar ramen. But this dorm-room staple has come a long way since then. With different broths and a huge range of toppings, you can make endless takes on this simple Japanese noodle soup—the easiest meal for the season’s coldest days.
Prep time: 10 to 30 minutes
(feeds 4-6 people)
Here are three tasty bases to get you started:
- Miso Soup:
Bring 4 coffee cups of water to a simmer and stir in 2 plops of miso paste (add more to taste). Simmer until ready to serve.
- Chicken Soup:
Boil 4 coffee cups of chicken broth; add a good pinch of sugar and a good drizzle or two of soy sauce. Simmer until ready to serve.
- Sake Soup:
Boil 6 coffee cups of vegetable broth, 1 plop of peeled and sliced fresh ginger, 2 cloves of skinned garlic, and 1 handful of sliced scallions for 20 minutes to get all the flavor. Strain to remove the solids and return broth to the stove. Add 2 or 3 drizzles of soy sauce, 1 drizzle of sake, 1 drizzle of sesame oil, and salt to taste. (You can also add a plop or two of white miso if you’re a fan.) Simmer until ready to serve.
When ready to chow down, boil one package of ramen noodles according to instructions (3 minutes is average) and strain. (Gluten-free babes can use rice noodles.) Put a heap of noodles in the bottom of each soup bowl, cover with simmering soup, and go to town with your toppings! Serve within 5 minutes.
Top it off:
Prepare whatever toppings you want in advance. Here are a few of my favorites: sliced shitake mushrooms, cubed tofu, sliced cooked chicken, fresh bean sprouts, sliced hard-boiled eggs, chopped bell pepper, dried seaweed, blanched snow peas, pulled barbecued pork, quick-boiled sweet corn kernels, blanched spinach or bok choy, sautéed shredded cabbage, and Korean barbecued beef. Embrace your inner Warhol and get creative!
Recipe by Chef Rossi
Photography by Vanessa Rees
This originally appeared in the December/January print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today!