I love a good cooking challenge and this one is fun! Nissin Foods is asking you how to top their Top Ramen product to celebrate 50 years of their enterprise in the United States. I couldn’t resist giving it a try. You can find full information at the URL below and should use the hashtag #HowDoYouTopRamen with your entry.
There is a significant cash reward, free ramen noodles and other perks if you are selected as the winner. The main draw for me is to be officially named Chief Noodle Officer as it is a significant promotion from my current position of NoodleHead.
Ramen is a terrific platform for anything you want to add, from meats to vegetables to spices and other flavors. I set two rules for myself. I would make a true “topping” instead of just mixed in components (though that is good as well). While I would use common ingredients, I would make sure at least one component of each offering was homemade. I’ve chosen two options – my favorite – SAVORY and another option – SWEET.
First, the SAVORY. I think it would go best with either the Beef or Chicken variety, but you have many options.
While you can find Parmesan Crisps in stores I like to make my own. Place a tablespoon or two of freshly grated Parmesan cheese on a silicon mat on a sheet pan, a couple of grinds of fresh pepper and pop into a 450 degree oven. Watch closely as they will bubble and brown slightly. Remove from oven and let sit on the mat a few minutes to firm up and then transfer to coolings rack to finish. Or buy some at the store, your choice.
I arranged the chives on the crisp, sliced a center cut out of the egg and arranged the capers atop (couldn’t resist doodling a bit with them).
Go easy on the capers as the ramen broth and parmesan have plenty of salty flavor already.
A mix-in version would be to sprinkle some grated Parmesan Cheese, chop and scatter some chives, scatter some capers and chop or crumble a hard boiled egg. Same result. Hope you try it and enjoy it. Now the SWEET version.
A SWEET topping does not immediately spring to mind for ramen, but I think this one hit the spot. I think it would suit either the shrimp or chicken flavors, but again, your choice.
The pineapple and green onion are easy, the real decisions come with the final topping. You can certainly select honey, maple syrup or agave syrup. The unlabeled squirt bottle you see is my preference – reduced apple cider – my homemade component to this topping. Simply heat quality apple cider to a boil in a pan and then cut back heat until you maintain a steady simmer. It will take a while and reduce substantially (the pictured bottle started out as half a gallon!) until you get a nice gel (which will be more evident once it cools). It can take several hours and makes your kitchen smell delicious!
Pretty simple from here. Prepare the ramen, slide the scallion prepared pineapple slice atop the noodles and squirt however much “syrup” you want on top of it.
Of course the mixed-in version is simply pineapple chunks, sliced scallions and the “syrup” of your choice squirted atop as much as you like. This was surprisingly delicious, sort of a Pacific Islander chicken version – and the reduced apple cider was fantastic.
So there you have it. Do go to Nissin Food’s site and try your own hand at this fun and tasty challenge.
Please note that any name brands shown in pictures above are not an endorsement but what I can get locally. Feel free to substitute your favorite brands of the same products, but DO choose Nissin Food’s Top Ramen as your base!
Feel free to riff on these selections or make up your own combinations. Either way you can’t go wrong with Nissin Food’s Top Ramen!