"Yes, you can make ramen in an aluminum pouch, but why oh why wouldn't you just simmer it in a pot?"
That Alton Brown. I have nothing but respect for the guy. He's one of the reasons I first became interested in cooking in the first place. But sometimes you just have to wonder. This recipe brilliantly dresses up a cheap (as in 33¢ cheap) packet of ramen.
That's thanks to some dried mushrooms and shrimp, which make the vegetable broth taste almost meaty. It tastes great. It's just that Brown has you cook it in an aluminum pouch in the oven. This may initially sound like a really novel idea, until you start wondering why you'd ever crimp and fold a bunch of aluminum foil and preheat the oven when there's already an invention designed to hold food over a flame—called a pot.
I feel like paraphrasing Jeff Goldblum's character in Jurassic Park. Brown was so preoccupied with whether or not he could, he didn't stop to think if you should.
Yes, you can make ramen in an aluminum pouch, but why oh why wouldn't you just simmer it in a pot? The noodles come out a tad limp and lifeless in the aluminum packet. They'd taste better if they were cooked over slightly higher heat in a pot. Also, I'd trade the diced onion for more scallion, and red pepper flakes for whole dried chiles.
But I suppose the big question in the end is whether this tastes good or not—and it thankfully does. It may not make much sense, but Brown sure does know how to make things taste good.
Dinner Tonight: Alton Brown's Ramen Shrimp Pouch
- 2 packages ramen noodles (discard the flavor packets)
- 1/2 cup dried mushrooms, chopped
- 20 raw shrimp (medium to large), peeled and deveined
- 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup scallions, thinly sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 quart vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup mirin
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 4 teaspoons sesame oil
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Meanwhile, break each ramen packet in half, so you have four sections of ramen. Tear off four foot-long sections of aluminum foil. Divide the four sections of ramen onto the four pieces of aluminum foil.
Top each ramen section with a quarter of the mushrooms, shrimp, onions, scallions, red pepper flakes, and salt.
Fold in the sides and corners of the aluminum foil to create a little boat for the ramen. Leave a hole in the middle and pour a quarter of the broth, mirin, soy sauce, and sesame oil into each pouch. Crimp the top a little more, leaving just a tiny hole. Place on a baking tray in the oven. Cook for 15 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and serve.