I’m in the home stretch of pregnancy (about 40 days to go!), and all I can think about is brothy soups.
I’m exhausted all the time (which has been my biggest preggo issue since the beginning – I got off easy!), and the late-pregnancy “discomfort” that everyone tells you about is starting to kick in. Lower back pain, occasionally swollen ankles/feet, breathlessness after the simplest tasks, and fierce baby kwon-do moves to the pelvic area are now in effect (seriously, I think we have a future martial artist on our hands). Thus, comfort food is all I am in the mood for these days. Not necessarily comfort food that is heavy or creamy, but rather something more along the lines of the hearty-yet-light variety. Enter my go-to meal of choice: soup. I know it’s still too warm outside for most people to be on board with a hot bowl of soup, but I haven’t been able to shake the idea of a slurp-worthy and noodly soup for weeks now. In fact, in the midst of our kitchen renovation this summer, I was counting down the days to where I would have a stove again…just so I could make a pot of soup. I’m addicted, I tell ya.
Many months ago, I saw a recipe online for homemade ramen. Ramen as in the authentic kind you get at Asian noodle houses…not so much the instant kind that comes with the scary MSG-loaded flavor packet. I’ve been dying to try it out at home for forever now, and I’m taking this pregnancy craving as an opportunity to do so. If it’s still too warm out for you to make something like this, PLEASE save this recipe for the winter. It’s so incredibly cozy and comforting. A definite must-make meal.
This version uses some breakfast flavors we all know and love: bacon and eggs. We’re already off to a good start, right? Combine those with an spiced, salty broth and fresh spinach and shallot…and OMG, it’s a flavor and texture explosion. I DO take the shortcut of using the pre-packaged noodles I ate daily in college but sans the mystery seasoning packet. The dried noodles themselves work great for this. If you can get your hands on fresh ramen noodles (I could not), then definitely use those!
Not only is the broth suck-through-a-straw good, but the soft-boiled eggs are not to be ignored! To soft boil my eggs, I cook them in simmering water for exactly 5 minutes (you can go an extra minute if you like the yolks a tad firmer – you can see mine are still pretty runny), run under cold water until completely cool, and then carefully peel. They should be added to everything. I will not debate this. Soft-boiled eggs for life! This has been something I have eaten all through my pregnancy, despite many people’s feelings against runny egg yolks (don’t worry, I cleared it with my doctor). Runny yolks are the only yolks worth eating, unless we’re talking about deviled eggs or egg salad.
If you have some leftover cooked chicken, pork, or beef, feel free to add them in. If I had some of this pork on hand, I definitely would have thrown that into the mix. That’s the wonderful thing about dishes like this: they’re completely customizable. If you’re a vegetarian, you could easily swap in veggie stock for the chicken and omit the bacon altogether. You might want to sub in something a bit heartier to give this soup the heft you normally get from the pork flavor, though. Maybe some sautéed mushrooms (I’ll try not to judge…)…or some crispy tofu? I think it would still be fabulous without the bacon…not that I personally would ever try it that way, hah. Bacon and soft-boiled eggs for life!
Thanks, Baby Boy, for making me crave noodly soup in August and forcing me to try out this long-awaited recipe. I’m going to high five you in approximately 40 days.
Bacon, soft-boiled eggs, AND noodly ramen for life!
Check out the video I made for this recipe as well. It shows just how easy it comes together!
- 4 slices bacon, chopped
- 1 (1-inch) piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, sliced
- 1 tablespoon minced lemongrass
- Red pepper flakes, to taste (I used about ½ teaspoon)
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon white miso paste (or more to taste)
- 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce (or to taste – the miso already adds quite a bit of salt)
- ½ tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- ½ tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 2 cups ramen noodles (use fresh if you can – dried work in a pinch, just make sure to discard the included seasoning packet)
- 2 cups stemmed and chopped baby spinach leaves
- 1 shallot, very thinly sliced
- Soft-boiled or poached eggs (I usually do 1 egg per person)
- Chopped scallions
- Sriracha hot sauce (optional)
- Place a pot over medium-high heat and add the bacon. Render until crispy. Remove the bacon and set aside (this will be used as a garnish).
- To the drippings, add the ginger, garlic, and lemongrass and sauté for 1 minute. Add the red pepper flakes and stock and bring to a simmer, scraping up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan.
- Simmer for 30 minutes and then strain out and discard the aromatics (garlic, ginger, and lemongrass). Stir in the miso paste, soy sauce, vinegars, and toasted sesame oil and keep warm until ready to serve.
- Make the soft-boiled/poached eggs at this point but do not drain the water when finished. Instead, return the water to a simmer and cook the ramen noodles for 2-3 minutes or until tender. Drain, rinse, and set aside.
- To serve, divide the baby spinach, shallot, and the cooked noodles between two bowls. Ladle the hot broth over the noodles and top each bowl with the crisped bacon, soft-boiled eggs, scallions, and hot sauce. Serve immediately.
- If you cannot find fresh lemongrass in your grocery store, check the Asian/International aisle for jarred lemongrass in water. Works in a pinch!
- Miso paste can be found in the produce or refrigerated section of most grocery stores. You can also order it online. It has a strong flavor with a super salty punch, so start out with a little bit and add more as needed. I found that 1 tablespoon was perfect for me.
- The original recipe called for Chinese Black Vinegar, which I could not find anywhere for the life of me (except on Amazon). Not needing a millionth bottle of something in my pantry, I made do with a mix of balsamic and rice wine vinegars. While not as authentic, it still tasted great!
Adapted from here.