New York City and I have an odd relationship. Despite being there twice, I’ve never managed to fully explore the city, because the first time it was a layover before flying home and I crashed at my friend’s aunt’s house, and the second time I had to fly down to replace a stolen passport in during the blizzard that happened early this year.
Regardless I’ve previously heard of this intriguing fusion of 2 food cultures of the West 1 and East. The Ramen burger which combines America’s (well, Germany’s.) well known hamburgers and Japan’s ramen noodles, enjoyed all around the world and filling the stomachs of poor college students who have no time to cook but all the time to procrastinate.
I had a few friends posting selfies with the Ramen burger and the food truck in the background. A quick trivia on this, the original creator of this, Keizo Shimamoto was actually a computer programmer before deciding to quit his job and share this creation to the world. Good on him, maybe one day I’ll quit my day job and share some food creation to the world too (a guy can dream right?).
In case you can’t tell from that photo, it’s a medley of Ramen noodle bun, lettuce, tomato, beef patty, cheese, more cheese, runny egg, seaweed, sauce and another Ramen noodle bun. Definitely something you would not want to eat everyday. Rather it’s one of those things I urge you to try and create. The photos for these were particularly well received by my friends. I’m also calling this the Epic Ramen burger because it really is big, and to be honest I felt a little bloated after eating it, it’s pretty much the evil twin of the Portobello Mushroom Burger I made, but nonetheless so good. Make it when you have guests over for an interesting fusion cuisine, or maybe even date night.
Well I have tried a small bite of a Ramen Burger variation in LA 2 once (and a pretty good one too), since I couldn’t go to Brooklyn and get to the original burger or spend a small fortune going to a Japanese restaurant around here, I’ll just have to get the burger to me.
What we’re going to make today is a modified version of the Ramen burger, because I didn’t have the ingredients on hand to replicate the original one, and also I believe as the person cooking you have total control on how you want it, and what you can add onto it. As I’ve done online research before actually attempting this, I’ve drawn inspiration mainly from an Instructables article as well as this recipe by Popsugar.
Here’s a short clip on the entire process, for your viewing pleasure:
Let’s get down to business. This took me about an hour on my first attempt (which is what the photos are)
– 1 pack of instant noodles (I used Maruchan because cheap, but you can definitely go for any brand) – 2 eggs – Sauce (Sriracha and Mayo, or your choice, I used Raising Cane’s sauce too) – Shredded Cheese – Beef Burger Patty – Lettuce – Tomato – Sesame Oil – Olive Oil – Ketchup – Soy Sauce (optional, seasoning) – Seaweed Strips (optional) – Onions (optional) – Scallions/Spring Onion (optional) – Mushrooms (optional)
Equipment: – Plastic Cling wrap – Round bowl (most recipes online suggest using a Ramekin, a round bowl with flat base that fits the size of your desired bun diameter) – Frying pan, spatula
Step 1: Ramen Noodles
Take out the pack of Ramen Noodles and hold on to the seasoning. Boil the noodles until they are springy, as per the directions on the packaging (should be about 3 minutes or so). While waiting for the water and then noodles to boil, whisk one egg until you cannot see the yolk (thoroughly mixed). Strain and let noodles cool for 5 - 10 minutes.
Step 2: Mix in egg and seasoning base
Put the noodles into the bowl of whisked egg, and then empty the packet of seasoning that came with your instant noodles, I used the beef flavored Maruchan since I will be using a beef patty. Mix thoroughly, the egg mixture will bind the noodles together. Your bowl of noodles should now have an even consistency.
Step 3: Making the noodle bun
Split your noodles evenly into 2 portions, and line your flat base bowl with cling wrap with enough to cover up the noodles. What you want to do is to add in the noddle and wrap it up to make a hockey-puck sized bun. Repeat for the other bun (using another flat bowl and cling wrap) and stack both of the bowls together. Place a can of soup on top to press down on the noodles. This will compress the noodle into a nice bun shape. Leave in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes (you can take this time to chop up other ingredients you want to add you your Ramen burger, such as shrooms, onions, etc.) take out the noodle after the bun and heat up a frying pan with some sesame oil. A teaspoon or so should be sufficient, but this is really up to you. We use sesame seed oil here for added taste, a nice sesame fragrance that isn’t present in other non-sesame oils (duh). Turn it down to a medium heat. Take out the noodle from the fridge and then put the noodles on the pan of oil for frying. I fried the noodle bun for about 7 minutes, but go ahead and use your own judgment on if it’s getting burnt or still too soft and falling apart. You should take caution on this as the oil is pretty hot and you don’t want to splash oil on yourself, or get the plastic cling wrap to come into contact with the pan. Cook until crispy golden brown, flip to the other side. Note that I had to try specially frying a little of the sides given how thick my ‘bun’ was. Repeat for the other bun.
I recommend only a medium heat instead of a medium high heat because despite the mouth watering photo my noodle bun was a little soggy inside, probably because the heat fried the outer noddle crust too fast. Or that I was using cheaper-than-cheap Ramen.
Step 4: The Patty.
The PopSugar article I linked suggested that we season the patty with sesame oil, soy sauce, salt and pepper. I did this and it turned out good, but you’re free to season your patty however you like it. I also took this opportunity to make things even more tasty by stuffing the big patty with shredded cheese. You do this by first taking the patty in your hand and making a small ‘well’ with the other hand, and then put some cheese inside that well, take care not to be too greedy and overfill it, and then proceed to cover up the well and slowly mold the patty back into it’s puck-like shape. This is similar to Step 6 of this Instructables
Fire up the pan and add a teaspoon of oil (or however you usually cook it), and proceed to cook that patty at medium-high heat until desired doneness. Note that if you’ve stuffed cheese inside you can’t smash it (duh.), if you have a different way of cooking your patty though, that’s cool. You’re the king of your Epic Ramen Burger. I’m not experienced enough to argue on whether smashed or no-smashed burgers are better
For added gluttony put some of that shredded cheese on top of your patty.
Step 5: Fry all the other things!
Almost there, here’s the part you can go ahead and fry or prep your optional ingredients. Like that egg, I did it sunny side up for the oozing yolk, or add bacon perhaps? After all this clearly isn’t the healthiest meal already so might as well pig out? How about caramelizing the onions and mushrooms? This step is definitely something you can doing while waiting for the noodle bun or the patty to cook, but that would require multitasking. I’d also prefer that the egg be hot by the time I take the first bite, not cold from leaving it out for too long.
Step 6: Win.
Assemble the burger in any order you like, I somehow feel it’s more manageable if the vegetables where at the bottom, and then patty, onions and shrooms, sauce (Sriracha mixed with Mayo), egg, seaweed strips, chopped spring onion, then the other noodle bun. (You could reheat the noodle bun if you want that warm) If you have an interesting perspective of size like I did, it probably looks like this:
I had to use a pick to hold it all together.
Take a few photos, Instragrammable photos for your parents who might doubt your cooking, or your friends because why not, but deal with the filters and posting later, you got tastier things to handle. Add some sweet potato chips on the side. Compose your hands and pick up your burger, and take a bite. A big one, this epic burger won’t go down without a fight. That crunchy flavored Ramen bun pairing with the cheese stuffed beef patty and the runny egg yolk oozing into every other ingredient. It’ll leave a mess, but nonetheless a beautiful mess, the kind you don’t mind cleaning up after a satisfying meal you’ve made for yourself. So sinful yet so good. Granted it’s a big burger, one that your jaws will barely conquer, but you’ll find it very satisfying when you do. Or split up the Ramen into smaller buns for a thinner and skinnier burger, but really, do you want that?
(Don’t eat this too often though, moderation is key. A PSA by leewc.com)