The language of hospitality can often come in the form of extending a comforting meal to others. Meeting the most basic need of tending to hunger and doing so in a caring way does not have to be overly complicated to be meaningful. If you are planning ahead for hosting a large gathering or having an intimate dinner with a few close loved ones, consider including a ramen bar as your meal option. It is a great alternative for someone looking for something simple, easily customizable and fun.
Follow a few simple steps to create your own ramen bar in the comfort of your home. First, choose what type of ramen to include. One option is to buy the instant noodles that come prepackaged with the seasoning included. They typically only take hot water and a few minutes to prepare. To make it easy for guests to help themselves, have a kettle of hot water ready to go. Another option would be to make a large batch of plain ramen noodles beforehand, and each guest can fill their own bowl and add an accompanying warm broth.
Second, decide what toppings and add-ins you’d like to provide alongside the ramen. Some ideas for proteins to add include cooked chicken, diced Spam or cubed tofu. You could also try the savory recipe for Korean Soy Marinated Eggs, which you will find on the next page. They are jammy, soft-cooked eggs that elevate noodles to another level. Other add-ins that you can provide include chopped green onions, shredded carrots, sliced mushrooms, kimchi and roasted seaweed. If you want to add some heat to your ramen bowls, you can try the flavorful recipe for Spicy Chili Crisp, also on the next page.
The final step is to set out your noodles, hot water or broth, add-on ingredients, soup bowls and utensils in an easily accessible way. Get creative with what you include in your ramen bar and have fun helping your guests build their own ramen bowls. Remember, hospitality can be as simple as a warm bowl full of comfort food shared amongst kindred spirits. ::
- 6 eggs
- ½ cup soy sauce
- ¾ cup water
- 1 Tbsp. minced garlic
- 1 large jalapeno, diced
- 3 green onions, sliced
- 1 Tbsp. sesame seeds
- 1½ Tbsp. brown sugar
Boil 6 eggs in a medium-sized saucepan for 6 minutes. Immediately remove from heat and place eggs in a medium-sized bowl with ice water until cooled and then peel. In a medium-sized bowl, add soy sauce, water, garlic, jalapeno, green onions, sesame seeds and brown sugar, then stir to combine. Carefully add the peeled eggs to the marinade. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator overnight. Serve over rice or noodles or simply enjoy them on their own!
Spicy Chili Crisp
- 1½ cup sunflower oil or any neutral oil
- 2 shallots, thinly sliced
- 8 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- ½ cup red chili flakes
- 2 Tbsp. gochugaru pepper flakes
- ¾ Tbsp. salt
- 1 Tbsp. sugar
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
In a medium-sized, heat-resistant bowl, combine the red chili flakes, gochugaru, salt and sugar and set aside. In a medium-sized saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat and carefully add in the sliced shallots and sliced garlic. Cook while stirring frequently for about 10 to 20 minutes until the shallots and garlic have become golden brown and crispy. Using a metal straining spoon, remove the shallots and garlic promptly from the oil and set aside in a small bowl. Use caution with the next step as you will be working with hot oil. Slowly pour the hot oil into the heat-resistant bowl over the chili flake mixture. It will bubble a bit because of the heated oil. Carefully stir the oil into the chili mixture. Mix in the soy sauce, toasted sesame seeds and reserved crispy shallots and garlic. Allow for the chili crisp to cool and store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 3 months. Serve as a topping for rice, eggs, noodles, salads and more!