The Washington Post

Better Than Instant Ramen

Better Than Instant Ramen 1.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post; tableware from Crate and Barrel

Cooking for One Jan 16, 2013

When chef Haidar Karoum finds time to cook for himself, he likes to make soup, sometimes jazzing up instant ramen noodles with condiments such as sambal oelek, an Indonesian chili paste. Besides adding whatever leftover meats and vegetables he finds in his refrigerator (he recently used pastrami from Bourbon Steak executive chef Adam Sobel), he finishes with an egg poached right in the broth.

This is a very generous serving for one. It can serve two with the addition of a side salad.

Servings: 1 - 2
  • 3 ounces (1 package) instant ramen noodles, seasoning packet discarded or reserved for another use
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth or water
  • 2 ounces diced or cubed pastrami or ham (may substitute tofu, cooked chicken or turkey)
  • 1 cup thinly sliced shiitake mushroom caps
  • 3 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, cut in half and seeded, then thinly sliced
  • 4 large Brussels sprouts, thinly sliced
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce, or more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon sambal oelek , or more to taste (see headnote)


Combine the ramen noodles, broth or water, pastrami or ham, mushrooms, scallions, bell pepper and Brussels sprouts in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium or medium-low so the mixture is barely bubbling. Cook for about 3 minutes, until the vegetables have softened slightly and the flavors have melded.

Crack the egg into a ramekin or small cup, then gently slide it into the soup. Cook for 1 minute, then turn off the heat, cover and let the soup sit for 3 minutes. The yolk will be filmed over yet runny.

Stir in the fish sauce and sambal oelek. Taste, and add more of each as needed.

Transfer to a bowl and eat.

Recipe Source

From Karoum, executive chef at Proof and Estadio in the District.

Tested by Joe Yonan.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving (based on 2): 320

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 7g 11%

Saturated Fat: 2g 10%

Cholesterol: 125mg 42%

Sodium: 850mg 35%

Total Carbohydrates: 43g 14%

Dietary Fiber: 7g 28%

Sugar: 5g

Protein: 25g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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