Ramen bowls with crispy beef make a quick and satisfying dinner

Ramen: the college student's best friend.

I actually went all the way through college not having once even tried ramen. I just couldn't bring myself to do it as the idea sounded repulsive. Also, it hadn't occurred to me at that point that I could probably dress up the 10-cent dinner into something more exciting or even just palatable.

I had to be married with children before I tried ramen for the first time because my husband was convinced my kids would eat it — and he was right.

I softened to the idea and began to see it cropping up all over in more and more interesting iterations. Ramen restaurants, ramen recipes, ramen aficionados dotted the landscape. I had to get on board.

Now I keep ramen as a pantry staple and often use it as the basis for a refrigerator clean-out meal. A little leftover meat, a few veggies, some good broth, and we are in business.

Recently, I cooked a roast beef, and because my children eat about four bites of whatever I make, I had plenty left over. I love the idea of crispy stir-fried beef, so it seemed like a great repurposing of my roast remnant.

Start with a slow-cooker roast. Be sure to reserve the cooking liquid. This is key to a good broth in your bowl.

Crispy Beef Ramen Bowl

Crispy Beef Ramen Bowl by Richard Gwin

Crispy Beef Ramen Bowl

2 cups roast beef, cut into strips
2 packs ramen
4 cups beef broth or cooking liquid from a braised roast beef
3 stalks bok choy, leaves removed and chopped into 1-inch pieces
Handful of green onions, both white and green parts
3 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
4 soft-boiled eggs
1 clove garlic
Cilantro for garnish

Assuming you have your roast beef and cooking liquid done in advance, this is a fast recipe, though it does take a few cooking vessels.

First, start boiling your eggs. I just put them in a saucepan with enough water to cover, put the lid on, and bring it all to a boil. Once it boils, turn off the heat and let it stand for 2 or 3 minutes, depending on the level of softness you prefer.

Meanwhile, heat a tablespoon of sesame oil in a skillet over high heat and toss in the bok choy to stir fry. While you let those get brown on both sides, create your broth. Basically you are just going to add the garlic and soy sauce to your beef broth and simmer.

Once the bok choy is finished frying, remove it and set aside. Add 2 tablespoons of sesame oil to your VERY hot skillet and toss in the beef. Stir fry until it's crispy on all sides.

While the beef fries you should cook your ramen noodles. Just use the pan vacated by the eggs and bring water to a boil. Cook the noodles for about 3 minutes.

If you time this carefully you will have everything done in under 10 minutes.

Chop some onion and cilantro for garnish.

Broth, noodles, one egg cut in half, some bok choy and onion/cilantro garnish all in one bowl makes for a beautiful and rich bowl of ramen that bears absolutely no resemblance to the stuff with the chicken-flavored powder you ate in college.

Serves 4.

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