Quarantine Cuisine: Chef Devan Rajkumar’s remixed instant ramen
We’re asking Toronto chefs to show us what they cook up using basic pantry supplies while they self-isolate at home
Like many of us, chef Devan Rajkumar is confined to his home. We asked the social-distancing chef to whip us up a meal with ingredients he already had on hand. His recipe: his favourite instant ramen, with a few tweaks.
Chef Devan Rajkumar says that instant noodles got him through some tough times when he was a kid. He finished his last two years of high school at a boarding school in Nova Scotia, and he would often get homesick. Fortunately, he had what he calls “food sessions” with his roommate, Kyung-Po, who made him feel at home. “I would help him set up his electric burner on our dorm room floor, and we’d cook instant Korean noodles.”
In honour of that dorm-room ramen, he created this recipe to add to his comfort-food cookbook—something that’s coming in handy these days. Rajkumar’s recipe is pretty straightforward, but he does have one stipulation: you must use Shin Ramyun instant noodles. “Don’t substitute them for any other brand, or it will affect the outcome of the dish,” he says.
Rajkumar loves this quick-and-easy dish because it’s unabashedly rich, spicy and salty. “It also has great textures going for it, thanks to the crunchy vegetables and chickpeas,” he says. “And it’s amped up with the flavours of the sea, because of the sweet shrimp.” But his favourite part of the dish is the egg. “I just love how the yolk adds richness and softly emulsifies with the broth.”
This recipe is a great way to use up vegetable scraps that may otherwise end up in the compost—broccoli stems and celery leaves, for example. However, if you want to get fancy, Rajkumar says go ahead and add any of the following: poached quail eggs, caviar, roe, uni, seared foie, lobster, crab or scallops.
1 packet of Shin Ramyun noodles
6 to 8 shrimp, peeled and deveined
¼ cup parboiled chickpeas (canned ones are fine, too)
¼ cup red pepper, finely diced
¼ cup broccoli stems
¼ cup celery stems, reserve leaves for garnish
1 small carrot, cut into coins
1 clove garlic, smashed
¼ white onion, finely sliced
¾ tsp fresh ginger
½ tsp fresh turmeric
1 large egg
Kosher salt, to taste
Fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
Bring 2 ¼ cups of water in a medium pot to a boil. Then add in the Shin Ramyun noodles, along with the packs of beef stock, seasoning mix and dried veggies the noodles come with. Add the chickpeas and broccoli to the pot. Turn the heat down to medium.
After approximately two minutes, add in all of the other ingredients except the egg. Boil for an additional one to two minutes, then crack the egg and add it into the mix. Simmer for another one to two minutes.
Add salt and pepper, to taste. Pour into a big bowl (or two, if you’re sharing).
Garnish with the reserved celery leaves and enjoy!