this semester I am in a class in the American studies department called Asian American Immigration and Food. I know. there have only been two classes so far but I already know that it’s going to be one of my favorite classes at wellesley.
first of all, our professor is a professionally trained chef in addition to having a PhD. and he has integrated weekly cooking demonstrations into our syllabus. eeek.
today he showed us that he is a master of knives and how to not chop off our fingers while wielding one. he made a pretty simple salad with carrots, celery, and cilantro. then added a salad sauce of coconut vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, sesame oil, and sugar. this sauce is sort of like the opposite of your traditional vinaigrette. while vinaigrettes have a high oil to vinegar ratio, this sauce has more vinegar than oil.
prof. orquiza also talked about thinking about the history behind ingredients we use. he found all of the salad components at the grocery store, but it obviously didn’t used to be that way. wars were fought over sugar, carrots used to be mostly purple and black before the Dutch introduced the orange variety to the world. ginger was originally a spice used to mask rotten food, now you can find it in almost any restaurant kitchen.
so in response to this cooking demonstration I will share with you one of my very own recipes – peanut butter ramen. I first got the idea from an article on buzzfeed about how to jazz up your ramen and from there I just added a few more things.
1. cook two packets of ramen. please use the stove, microwaves don’t do it right. add the two packets of chicken stuff at the end and let that sit for a while (heat off).
2. in a bowl, add 2T smooth peanut butter (crunchy would taste weird), about 1T soy sauce, and a healthy amount of chili powder, sriracha, whatever spicy thing you have that’s lying around.
3. ok pay attention, this is important. drain the ramen except for about 1/4 cup of the broth. this hot broth will help to melt the peanut butter and combine everything together. I have tried doing this without the reserve broth and it just turns into a gloopy mess, so trust me.
4. add your ramen and it’s lil broth to the bowl with the peanut butter. stir until the peanut butter is melty and everything is combined.
I can see the look of skepticism on your face. (quick, cover your webcam!) but seriously it tastes really good. ramen has approximately zero nutritional value, but if you’re going to eat it then you might as well make it taste good.
although this is a super quick recipe, I can definitely appreciate the long history of ramen and acknowledge that the 99cent instant stuff is not the real thing. I am really excited about the rest of this class and obviously I will be posting pics here every week.