You know about the ramen burger craze, right? The next NYC ‘food thing’ that gives bloggers (actual ones, not me) something to do on a wednesday afternoon? It has patient, hungry and overly-hip New Yorkers lining up by the hundreds. But those people are stupid. I don’t like lines and I’d prefer not to leave my house when I’m alone*, so I made my own damn ramen burger … and I gotta say it was one of the tastiest fucking food items I’ve ever crafted. Not bad considered I essentially winged it while watching the first episode of Battlestar Galactica (that’s an entirely separate topic.)
* -My girlfriend is out of town. Clearly the best time to debase oneself culinarily.
The things you need:
[Sorry for the sub-par iPhone photos, but they're better than description alone. Have you ever actually played Zork? Believe me, it's over-hyped.]
Get ready for an unruly wall of text.
Procure some boiling water. Put the ramen in there and cook it normally, but leave out the seasoning thing. This is a good time to tell you that I used the “chili” flavor and I highly recommend it. Keep the seasoning packet aside – You’re going to do something magical with this later (that I think I invented, as far as these burgers go). Once the ramen is cooked (maybe leave it a touch more al dente than usual) pull it out with a grabby-claw spaghetti spoon thing, drip most of the water out and put it in a bowl containing an egg (out of the shell…) which you’ve already set up – we’re going to be doing a lot of time-traveling like this, so maybe read the whole thing first.
Mix up the ramen and the egg really well so all the noodles are coated. This is gonna stick the noodles together to make the “bun” (DUHHHHH). Once well-mixed, divide the noodlers in half and place into two appropriately-bun-shaped bowls. Both of these go in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
While them suckers are cooling and getting all stiff, go ahead and start putting the oil in the pan and preparing the burger. I put canola oil in a big cast iron skillet along with some sesame oil and chili oil for added excitement. Heat that on medium high. Put your burger in a dish and hit it with a few jabs of soy sauce so it’s wet and sort of in a meager puddle. Now the magic part – use about a third of the ramen seasoning packet (here’s where the “chili” flavor is rad), and associate the damp salty meat with the powdery salty flavor snowflakes. Sprinkle it on both sides and sort of smush it in a little. Don’t get the flavor packet in your eye, probably.
I don’t really know how long it takes to cook a burger, so maybe you should start before the noodles. I already forgot what I did and this shit is taking me forever to write because I’m writing FAR too much for such a simple process. I continue:
At some point and in some order, have it so that you’re frying the noodles and cooking the burger simultaneously. Before you drop the ramen into the hot oil sort of hold it in your hand and squeeze it a little to make sure it stays together. Not like you’d squeeze to get the last of the toothpaste out of a tube – more like you would the shoulder of totally-platonic friend who just got some bad news and you want to let him or her know, “Hey, I’m here…” Do you have a crush on this friend? Maybe a little tiny one. So make sure the noodles are together and ease them into the oil. Don’t splash it. If you’re not fucking this up it should be pretty hot.
It’s really not that complicated so you’ve probably already run off to do it on your own, but if you’re still here: cook the burger like you normally would, assuming you’re not an inexperienced vegetarian who decided to finally break the streak with this gnarly damn dish. Put cheese on it towards the end.
Ideally, you want the ramen to end up browned on one side, and standard, non-browned, cooked on the other. The browned, crispier side is the outside that you hold. Either way you’re going to be a wide-grinning, euphoric disaster afterwards anyway, so don’t worry too much about how the hand-side texture ends up.
By now your ramen is done, the burger is done/cheese melty and you have a clean dish waiting to receive your seed. Drop your seed down in this order: one ramen disc, lettuce, burger+cheese, chives, second ramen disc. I’m basically done explaining what I could have said in about four lines. Happy?
You are now looking at a cultural and textural mosaic of the finest order. When you eat this thing – like, it’s gonna be good, and whatnot. Each bite takes you on a tour of feels and flavz, “oh it’s crispy-wait, gummy? oh lord there’s an explosion of oily, spicy, MSG-burger sewage in here! What’s that… a cheesy detour? Sure, I’ll come along for a ride! Weeeehoo I love yon cheddar highway – but – hark! I’ve been called in for jury duty by a piece of crunchy lettuce (and or bitter arugula)… I’d say it’s a bummer, but even the wildest ride still needs a firm reminder of the verdant and crisp justice system which sprouts in rows radiating from farmhouses across the heartland of this fine country.” – Your Mouth. On Drugs. Drugs you just cooked in your kitchen – WHICH REMINDS ME: Breaking Bad is returning in two days! Yesssssssssss.
Honestly, though, I had to force myself to finish it by the end and I was completely sure I was going to vomit for about 15 minutes while my pitiable digestive system TSA’d this thing’s butthole at the security checkpoint. Also: wear a shortsleeve shirt, take off your rings, watches, friendship bracelets from summer camp (HA HA, LOSER!) and be sure to bandage any open wounds you have below the elbow: The ramen burger is going to piss scrumptious oil down your entire arm. Be sure to forego the napkins and lick it all off*
* Again, best to do while girlfriend/boyfriend, roommate, family or anyone else with working eyes and the potential to interpret a horrific disturbance in the fabric of decent humanity – is out of the house.