May 02, 2011
Recently I made a Beef Ramen Skillet. I liked it quite a bit, but Juli was less fond of it. I took that as a challenge to come up with something similar which we'd both enjoy, and this time I achieved that goal.
Juli said her biggest problem with the earlier dish was the bitterness, probably reflecting the combination of the spinach and Chinese black vinegar. I figured the first place to start on this new dish was with a different mix of flavors, one not including much bitterness. I'd initially thought about making another beef dish, as the tender, flavorful slices of beef were Juli's favorite part of the earlier dish, but as I considered options for vegetables and seasonings, I decided to go with shrimp instead.
I'd already decided I wanted to use some baby bok choy in this dish, as I hadn't had any bok choy in awhile and was in the mood for something different. I knew bok choy can sometimes be a bit bitter, though, and while this is rare with the baby variety, I didn't want to take any chances of a repeat of the previous dish's reviews. Balancing things out with snow peas seemed like a good solution, but as I considered seasonings, I also decided to use a bit of oyster sauce to help mellow the bite of the black vinegar.
This one turned out quite nicely: Perfectly cooked, lightly-seasoned shrimp with tender-crisp (or simply tender, in the case of the shitakes) vegetables and noodles made flavorful by cooking them in chicken broth and seasonings, all of it combined by a flavorful, salty-sweet and slightly spicy sauce. Best of all, Juli liked this one just as much as I did. Served up with a side of egg rolls (from a supermarket deli, warmed up at home), this made for a great meal.
Shrimp Ramen Skillet with Asian Vegetables
yield = 4-6 servings
1 1/2 pounds fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons tamari sauce
1 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup rice wine
1 tablespoon Chinese black vinegar
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons Asian (dark) sesame oil
2 tablespoons peanut oil
12 ounces baby bok choy, stalks and leaves separated
12 ounces snow peas, trimmed
4 ounces shitake mushrooms, woody stems removed,
2 tablespoons peeled, minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
4 packages (3 ounce) ramen noodles, seasoning
Add shrimp to a medium-sized bowl. Top with tamari, white pepper and crushed red pepper flakes. Mix thoroughly to evenly coat the shrimp in the seasonings, then set aside.
Add rice wine, black vinegar, oyster sauce, cornstarch and sesame oil to a small bowl. Whisk together to combine, then set aside.
Heat the peanut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the shrimp, pouring any leftover marinade into the bowl with the rice wine mixture. Cook on one side for about one minute, then flip the shrimp over and cook for another 40 seconds or so. Transfer the shrimp to a clean bowl and set aside.
Add the snow peas and slices of bok choy stalk to the skillet. Stir-fry 4 minutes, then add the shitake mushrooms and stir-fry another 2 minutes. Clear a spot in the middle of the skillet and add the ginger and garlic. Cook about 30 seconds, then add the sliced bok choy leaves and cook another 30 seconds.
Add the chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Break the ramen bricks into smaller chunks, stir them into the mixture in the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally until the noodles are tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed.
Return the shrimp to the skillet. Whisk the rice wine mixture, then pour it into the skillet and stir until it thickens. Serve.