My surrounding family consists of primarily Filipino decent. Many of my dishes are stemmed from flavors of their dishes, and much of their food is really good, especially the snack-like items like lumpia, and pancit bihon, and sisig, only to name a few. I am…
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Instant ramen. What is a kid (or adult) to do when it comes down to this fairly dirt cheap square shaped puck of dried noodles? Well, lots of things. It seems as though instant ramen, Maruchan oriental style ramen packets is what invades my pantry closet on a fairly regular basis. The noodles are pretty much always there, and at least six or so packages (as many as I can grab with my two hands), and they either sit in the pantry for awhile, or they are consumed immediately. Ramen is one of those things where two of my kids will attack them for brunch, or sit for a couple of months. So as my oldest came home from college a couple of months ago, I thought I would load up the pantry with a handful of bags of instant ramen. Little did I know my kid was probably ‘ramen’d’ out by the time he got home from college. So it was up to me to figure out what do do with them to make myself feel better about not wasting them, and that is when I simply came up with a ramen stir fry.
I went with the ramen stir fry because I was thinking of ‘hot noods’. Something along the lines of pancit canton or pancit canton (Filipino dishes), and see how I would fair with instant ramen. Only the noodles though. Save those seasoning packages for some chip dip, or cream cheese spread!
This ramen stir fry is one that you can twist your own way, which I love, and use up pretty much any garden, pantry or refrigerator items you have on hand. What’s not to love about that? Furthermore it is easy to make, and delicious to boot.
Let’s get started. Scale to your needs.
- 2 packages Maruchan instant ramen, noodles only
- 1 tbsp neutral cooking oil
- 1 lb ground chicken (beef, pork, or no meat will also work)
- 2 whole eggs, lightly beaten with a fork
- 2 medium carrots, cut into matchsticks
- 1/2 cup shallots, sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 lime, juice only
- 1 tbsp oyster sauce
- 1/2 tsp ground white pepper
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 tbsp fish sauce
- 2 tbsp light brown sugar
- 1 tsp dark sesame oil
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1/2 tsp chili flakes, to your spice level
- 1 tbsp Chinese Shaoxing cooking wine
- 4 cups napa cabbage, roughly chopped
- 1/2 whole red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 1 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
Always start with your mise en place. To a small bowl, mix the soy sauce, white pepper, oyster sauce, light brown sugar, fish sauce, sesame oil, lime juice, cooking wine, and chicken stock. Give that a good whisk. Heat a sauce pot on medium heat, then add in the sauce mixture. Once it comes to a light boil, reduce the heat to low and let the sauce thicken, or reduce in half, then set it aside to cool.
Cook your ramen noodles according to package, but remove them when they al dente, or slightly before, and strain. Set those aside.
During this time, heat a wok, or large skillet on medium-high heat.
Add the oil and let it come to temperature for a minute. Add in the ground chicken and cook until the juices run free and it begins to turn a white color. Break up the ground chicken as you cook.
Add in the carrots, shallots, and garlic. Give this a good stir, and cook for about five minutes on medium-low heat. Season with the chili flakes and give another stir.
Add the slightly cooked ramen noodles to the sauce, give a gentle toss or two, then add them to the wok. Add the bell pepper and the napa cabbage, and give that a good stir or a few good tosses.
Add in the fresh cilantro right before serving, as well as those green onions, and give that a few good tosses.
Now you are ready to plate and serve.
The result is everything you would expect with a hot noodle stir fry. It’s pure comfort and every bite is a real treat. You get great texture from the cabbage and peppers, and just awesome Asian flavor. Whether you cook with meat, or all veggies, this one is a real easy dish(as well as inexpensive) and recipe to put together. Hope you enjoy!
Snack, Crackle, Pop. Repeat. I’ve said this before but Filipino food is on the rise, and much like many top chefs have predicted, Filipino food will begin to surprise you. If you have never had Filipino food, just give it a try. Granted, I have yet to find a sweet Filipino dessert that I like (but then again I do not like many desserts as I am not a sweet tooth), but the savory dishes are to die for. This one might be the one to top it off. There are many common, top, Filipino dishes that you might already be aware of such as Pancit, lumpia, or even Kare Kare, but there is one that is top notch, and that is lechon kawali.
Your cardiologist may not like you after this, nor probably your primary physician, but in moderation, this Filipino crispy pork is so simple to make, and makes a perfect party food. Traditionally made with pork belly, you can also try it with pork ribs just make sure you have plenty of fat to render on the second cooking cycle. Yep, there are two cooking steps going on here.
Let’s get started.
- 2 lbs boneless pork belly, cut into 2 inch long strips
- 1 head of garlic, skins removed, bulbs smashed
- 4 whole bay leaves
- 3 tbsp black peppercorns
- 3/4 cup soy sauce
- canola oil
- dipping sauce
- White Vinegar, to your liking
- Soy sauce, to your liking
- Chopped garlic, to your liking
- cracked black pepper, to your liking
- 1 Thai birds eye chili, smashed, optional or Thai chili flakes
I recently made this for my son’s birthday party, as well as another Filipino gathering and both times they rocked the socks off of the party guests. You know you’ve done right when the Filipinos are giving you a thumbs up, a hug, or a high five after eating your food. This is a winner.
Start by adding the pork belly, garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns, soy sauce, and enough water to cover the pork belly into a large pot or dutch oven. Cover, and bring to a simmer, cooking for about 1 hour. This is to tenderize the pork, and infuse all of the great flavor from those aromatics.
After 1 hour or so, get a baking sheet out and line it with a wire rack.
Take the strips of pork belly and lay them on the rack, making sure any of the excess liquid goes back into the pot. Once the strips are laid out, lightly salt them with kosher salt. This will assist with the dehydration process and get them ready for the next step the following day, if not hours later in the day.
Place the baking sheet, uncovered in the refrigerator. I do this over night.
When you are ready to go with the next step, take the pork out of the refrigerator and cut them into bite sized cubes, about 1-2 inches in size. Go larger if you prefer.
Heat a pot of oil, about 2-3 cups of canola oil, in a medium sized pot, and bring this to about 350-375 degrees.
In batches, fry the pork. This should take about 5-7 minutes per batch. Once golden and the fat is rendered and crispy, remove with a slotted spoon or kitchen spyder and place onto a paper lined plate to remove any excess oil. Let the oil in the pot come back to temp, then repeat until the lechon kawali is cooked.
NOTE: If you are frying these bad boys, make sure you reserve some for yourself because if you turn your back, trust me, these babies will be gone. This happened to me when I brought them to a party for our friend Miguel to chop up and fry. I didn’t even get a single piece! No worries on that part however, as I know that when I am snacking with the family, that I am sure to get a few pieces.
And that dipping sauce? Go for it. The combination of garlic, vinegar, soy, and chili. That’s a whole other level when it comes to dipping sauce.
If you are looking for a great party appetizer, and don’t mind frying with a bit of oil, this one is sure to please and is a real crowd pleaser not only for those wanting to try some Filipino flavors, but for those who love great, easy food. Hope you enjoy!