Whether you make your own noodles or doctor packets of the instant stuff, there are a seemingly endless number of ways to zhuzh your ramen. I usually bombard mine with handfuls of corn, either frozen or pickled, but last night, about to tuck into a bowl of Shin, I impulsively grabbed a bottle of onion oil I had made earlier and drizzled it on the hot noods.
It dispersed into droplets, dancing around the bowl and mingling with the noodles, soy sauce egg, and corn, adding richness and a hit of fried allium flavor (I tasted hints of onion ring). It also made the instant noodles feel a bit more like an intentional dish, rather than a last-minute supper solution. And it took all of one second.
You can finish your ramen with any oil you like. For a dark, toasty flavor, roasted sesame oil is a good choice. For heat, drizzle on some chili oil or chili crisp (either store-bought or homemade). Chili crisp has the added benefit bringing a texture to the bowl, and soup always benefits from some crunch.
You can make your own bespoke finishing oil by sizzling some onions or frying garlic. (Bonus: You’ll have sweet, tender onions and crispy garlic chips to further adorn your noodles.) Have a dried-up, shriveled hunk of ginger around? Pour screaming hot oil over its chopped, lifeless body to make ginger oil (and season that with a little MSG).
Don’t be afraid to use a solid fat, particularly one with a lot of flavor. Do bacon grease or chicken schmaltz count as finishing oils? I don’t see why not. Though they may not drizzle at room temperature, you can’t tell me a tiny scoop of rendered pork or poultry fat, melting and mingling amongst the noodles and vegetables, wouldn’t taste good. (You could try to tell me that, but I would not believe you.)
Leave a Reply