At one point in my life, I swear I consisted of Top Ramen. Back in college my diet was scrambled eggs, turkey sandwiches, and Top Ramen. We tried all different ways to dress it up but it was cheap and plentiful. Since I have grown up, I have become way pickier in my ramen choices. I even know the difference between miso, tonkatsu, and shoyu ramen. Ramen restaurants seem to be popping up all over the place across North America. There is good reason, ramen done well is a great experience. Top Ramen is like eating a grilled cheese sandwich with Wonder bread, American “cheese” and margarine compared to an authentic Croque Monsieur with real bread, high quality French Cheese and top-notch butter.
I don’t know when Trader Joe’s introduced these two instant ramen. They seemed to have some type of instant cup-o-soup type instant ramen on the shelves for a long time. The weather was turning colder and I was looking for something to transport me back to my college days so I picked up the chicken and miso-flavored ramen to try out for a weekend lunch. I made both of them because they are 180 calories for just the cup of ramen which is hardly a snack considering that Trader Joe’s has snack bars with more than 180 calories.
The preparation is pretty simple. Just pull the top off. Grab the flavor and oil packets. Tear those open and dump them into the cups and then pour boiling hot water over the noodles and give it a good stir. Cover them up and let them sit for minutes. Stir again and enjoy! I decided to add some Trader Joe’s frozen vegetables and half a hard boiled egg to each cup after the six minutes were up.
The chicken one smelled like many of the decent ramen I have had over the years, while the miso ramen smelled a little off, like stale cardboard. When I started digging into each cup of ramen, I noticed that the noodles had clumped together and I tried stirring for a while to break them up, which worked. Also, when I started eating the noodles from both of them, they were underdone. I poured boiling hot water directly on them and waited. Maybe I needed to wait a few more minutes. Maybe I should take the noodles out of the cup and boil them in a small pot to make sure they were done. Either way, it wasn’t a bulletproof procedure.
OK, the chicken ramen I really liked it. The broth seemed to have a nice chicken stock-type flavor with good richness. The miso ramen actually tasted odd, like it was stale or something. I didn’t really care for it. If I was to do it again, I would double up on the chicken, cook it in a small pot with both cups and then pour it into a bowl to eat. One is not enough so pick up at least two for one person!