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The Quick and Cheap Asian Meal

The Heart of Life: The Quick and Cheap Asian Meal

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Quick and Cheap Asian Meal

A staple at our house is something we call Fried Noodles.  It's similar to Chinese fried rice, except it's more like a meal than a side dish.  Surprisingly, my husband endorses this meal.  He spent two years in South Korea serving a mission for the LDS church, and has very high standards for Asian food.  He avoids Panda Express because it isn't authentic enough.  That being said, you know this is fairly legit.  I think it's good too.  It certainly doesn't hurt that it's also incredibly easy, quick, and cheap. 

I had every intention of including pictures in this post, but this meal is so quick to make that I literally didn't have enough time to snap some pictures.  Fortunately, it's so simple that visuals really aren't necessary.

Here's what you'll need:
1 splash of Sesame Seed Oil
1 splash of Vegetable or Olive Oil
1 handful of Vegetables
1 portion of Meat
1 package of Top Ramen (the flavor doesn't matter--you'll throw that part away)
1 Egg
Soy Sauce (optional)

Yes, my measurements are vague, but there's really no point in measuring.  Put as much oil, vegetables, and meat in there as your heart desires.

First of all, put a splash of both oils in a large wok or frying pan and heat it on the low-ish side of medium.  As a side-note, you could probably make do without the sesame seed oil, but this is what makes it really Asian.  It will make your house smell like Asia.  That's what my husband says it smells like, anyway.  I've never been to Asia, but I trust my husband's judgement of Asian smells.

Once you've got your pan nice and hot, you're ready to throw in some stuff.  What stuff?  It depends.  This is a social worker's favorite answer.  It depends what you're working with.  The beautiful thing about this meal is that you can just use what you've got on hand.  As far as vegetables go, you can use fresh or frozen.  Anything goes with meat--chicken, beef, ham, Spam (yes, Spam--I never thought I would ever consume Spam, but it's pretty good fried), or you can just go meat-less.  The rule of thumb is that the first thing you put in the pan should be what you think will take longest to cook.  Add the vegetables accordingly.  If they're frozen, add them earlier, if fresh, add later.  Use your best judgement.

Here's an example of what I've done before:  I started by frying up some diced Spam.  It's already cooked (yay!  fast!), so after a few minutes I added some frozen mixed vegetables (this is a very inexpensive way to go).  At this point I covered the pan with the lid so I had some steaming action going on.  After the vegetables had cooked long enough that they were thawed (but not fully cooked) I added some fresh diced red bell pepper.  After everything was cooked I moved on to the next step.

Here's the next step.  When your meat and/or vegetables are a few minutes away from being done, get some water boiling in a pot.  Boil the Ramen for about a minute, keeping it in the block shape for easy transfer.  You will only need the noodles, so do what you want with the flavor packet.  You don't want to boil the noodles quite as long as you would for Ramen soup, or it'll end up really mushy.  Gross.  Actually, it tastes about the same, but the texture is weird.  When it's sufficiently boiled, use a slotted spoon (or the like) to transfer the noodles to your veggie and/or meat-filled pan.  Then crack an egg on top of your Ramen block and start stirring everything until the egg is well incorporated into your noodles and vegetables/meat.  You'll have to do this kind of quickly, as you don't want the egg to cook in one blob--it should be scrambled-esque.  It doesn't take very long to cook after this point, so watch closely.  It's fairly obvious to tell when it's done--when the noodles stop looking ooey-gooey, it's probably cooked.  We like to add a little splash of soy sauce before we eat it.  Neither of us are huge fans of soy sauce as a condiment, but we both agree that it adds that perfect little something to our noodles.

That's all!  How neat is that?!



At March 29, 2012 at 8:26 PM , Blogger Celia Turner said...

I actually tried this recipe (minus the sesame oil), a few months ago. It was really, really good! And, yes, it was super easy and fast!! It's nice for those nights when you have no idea what to cook, and only 10 minutes to do it!

At March 31, 2012 at 9:06 AM , Blogger Andrew and Carly Child said...

I love that Kevin won't eat Panda Express. It's the only "Asian" food I will eat! Probably because it's American-ized. Maybe I will have to try this recipe. It sounds easy enough :)

At April 16, 2012 at 5:37 PM , Blogger Georgia said...

This is what I'm doing for dinner tonight! Thank you for the recipe and step-by-step directions!

I traveled to Korea and Japan with Kevin a few years after his mission and that is when I finally figured out the reason he loves Korean food so much. It was absolutely flavortastic! So if Kev likes your version, I'm sold!!


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