Monday, February 14, 2005

The Decadent Mushroom Ramen

This is one of those dishes which I classify as comfort food for a winter day. It's not exactly a healthy dish (the fat content is a question mark) but I still find it a good stomach settler.

Cream of mushroom soup is one of those dishes that can be considered a "fake luxury." When made right, with fresh mushrooms and real cream, it can be a real delight to start a gourmet meal. But everyone is all too familiar with the Campbell's condensed variety, which is okay but cheap and boring after a while.

The problem I have with Campbell's (and in fact, with most condensed mushroom soups) is that there's not enough mushroom and too much cream broth. Apart from using it as a basis for cream gravy or sauce, I figured that something had to be done to make this a more lively dish to eat.

My answer? Adding ramen noodles.

When prepared properly, the noodles will suck up the liquid rendering the soup to a a thicker consistency than normal. The noodles themselves will pick up the mushroom flavor and take on a more chewy consistency than if you had used plain water to boil them. With the addition of green onions and just a touch of sesame oil, it's a more exotic eating experience than what you normally get with mushroom soup.

The Decadent Mushroom Ramen

1 can condensed cream of mushroom Soup
1 can water

1 package instant ramen noodles (any variety)
1 green onion, minced
sesame oil (optional)

1. Prepare soup in a medium saucepan with 1 can water. Do not use milk or cream or else soup will become too thick. Add the sesame oil and stir to blend, if using.

2. When soup begins to simmer, add the ramen noodles. (You can break the noodle pack in half if your saucepan doesn't have room.) Stir about until the noodles begin to soften, then flip the noodle pack over and cook until the noodles come apart and have a soft give when they're pressed with your stir spoon.

3. Stir in the green onion.

4. When noodles have the desired give, pour into a large Chinese noodle bowl and serve.


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