Spicy peanut ramen is the fast, easy, no brainer of a meal that honestly, we all need from time to time.
We’re back from vacay. It was lovely and I will write more about it once my brain returns to full functionality. But for now let’s do something quick and dirty.
This spicy peanut ramen takes that old college staple and makes it new again. It’s spicy, savory, a little bit sweet, and comes together in a flash – perfect for those days when boiling water is pretty much your max capacity.
Spicy Peanut Ramen
This is not the type of ramen you queue up for at the nearest Brooklynite hipster corner shop. That ramen is GREAT, but greatness takes time and right now I’m all about efficiency. If you’re looking for a “takes all day and makes your house smell ridiculous in the best way” ramen pop over here. But if what you need is easy, flavorful, and in your face in five minutes flat – then this is the recipe for you.
Is this the most gourmet thing you’ve ever seen? Obviously not. But it hits all the right buttons when you’re in need of easy comfort and when your brain is like so totally broken (which for me lasts at least three full business days after returning from any bout of travel).
But just because it’s fast AF doesn’t mean it’s lacking in the flavor department even one itty bit. In every bite you’ll get nutty peanut butter, fiery chili, savory garlic, tangy vinegar, and crisp, cooling cucumber. It’s as easy as one, two, three. Let’s dive in.
Step One: Make Your Quick Pickled Cucumbers
The secret to a quick pickle is really a two parter. Part one = surface area. The thinner your pickling produce is, the faster it will take on that perfect twang. You can achieve these paper thin cuts by becoming a knife wielding ninja master of course…or if you’re into a strategy with a tad less commitment this can also be achieved by using a food processor or mandoline slicer. I actually use the large slicing blade on my standard box grater though – which works super well, is not inherently dangerous, and involves minimal clean up.
Now that you have whisper thin slices of cuke (or whatever you’re trying to pickle up) you’ve got to get all that good, tangy stuff inside. The second part of this two part series happens either via time or manual manipulation. I’ve talked about this before, but it bears repeating that if you don’t have a few hours to wait around for pickles to get pickly, then the ancient art of massage is totally your friend. Because instead of letting osmosis gently pull that tangy brine into your veggies, you’re literally forcing it in by helping break down some of those cell walls.
Step Two: Make the Spicy Peanut Sauce
This comes together VERY quickly. It starts by sauteing a little bit of garlic until just fragrant. Then you whisk in all the other ingredients until you have a smooth, super flavorful sauce. When you taste it for seasoning (which you should by the way ALWAYS BE TASTING FOR SEASONING), it should be a bit stronger than you’d ideally like. This is because the noodles (which are not getting the aid of their sodium filled spice packet) will be relatively bland on their own.
Step Three: Boil the Noodles
This is literally the easiest part. Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil, throw your brick of ramen in and let the noodles get soft and wavy. Ideally, they should still have a little bounce, as they will continue to absorb liquid as they sit. After a few minutes, pull your ramen and toss it into your patiently waiting peanut sauce. Make sure to have a little extra hot water on hand (the noodle cooking liquid is just fine) to thin out the sauce as you toss.
Then mound it into bowls, pile some of your dainty cucumber pickles on top, sprinkle with chopped peanuts, and grab some chopsticks. Comfy couch and mindless television are optional, but who are we kidding?
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Spicy Peanut Ramen
Spicy peanut ramen with quick pickled cucumbers is what your college ramen dreamed of being. Fast, easy, and so flavorful, this is a no brainer of a meal for the hardest of days.
- Prep Time: 10 Minutes
- Cook Time: 5 Minutes
- Total Time: 15 minutes
- Yield: 2 Servings 1x
- Category: Dinner
- Cuisine: Asian
For the quick pickled cucumbers:
1/2 cucumber, sliced paper thin
2 tsp rice vinegar
1 tsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
For the spicy peanut ramen:
2 bricks dry ramen
1 tsp canola oil
1 clove garlic, minced
3 T soy sauce
2 T rice vinegar
1/2 C smooth peanut butter
1 T dark brown sugar
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 T chili garlic paste
1/2 C water
Chopped roasted peanuts for garnish
Toss together cucumbers with rice vinegar, sugar, and salt. Massage until sugar is dissolved. Set aside.
Heat canola oil in a large skillet set over medium heat. Saute garlic clove for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add soy sauce, rice vinegar, peanut butter, brown sugar, sesame oil, chili garlic paste, and water. Whisk until smooth and set aside.
Boil ramen according to package directions. Add noodles to peanut sauce and toss to combine.
Serve with pickled cucumbers and garnish with chopped peanuts.
Don’t use the spice packet that comes with the ramen – it’s full of sodium and weird stuff anyway.
Make sure to have some hot water on hand (beyond the 1/2 cup called for the in recipe) so that you can thin out your sauce as needed.
I like standard issue JIF for this (because that’s what we have around), but feel free to use whatever peanut butter you’d like, keeping in mind that you’ll want to adjust the seasonings to taste to account for added sugars, salt, etc.
Keywords: peanut ramen, spicy peanut ramen, spicy ramen