I admit, when my husband first explained this dish to me, I thought it sounded horrible. He laughed, assured me it was actually very good and promised (threatened?) to make it once I'd arrived in Liepāja. (This was before I went to Latvia for the first time.) I watched him crunching up noodles and putting together a bowl with curiosity. I couldn't imagine eating crunchy ramen -- though now I feel silly because you could use those La Choy rice/wheat noodles they sell to put on salads and get the same effect.
You see, there is a very popular salad called "cheese salad" that this mimics for far cheaper. (Personally, I prefer ramen salad to cheese salad, in large part due to the texture of the noodles.)
I tried a bite, not really expecting to like it, but I was pleasantly surprised. It was really good, in that broke-food kind of way. (Satisfying, cheap and extremely unpretentious, much like grabbing fries from McDonald's when you're having cravings.)
It may sound weird, but really, trust me. It's good. It's also an extremely cheap, filling side (or, in a pinch, a full meal) but not really low-cal. Quite frankly, it's "Bachelor Chow."
Ramen Salad [printable recipe]
Serves 4 - 6 as a side
- 2 packets "Oriental" flavor ramen noodles
- 1 seasoning packet from the ramen
- 2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped finely
- 6 medium carrots, grated
- 6 tbsp (1/4 cup + 2 tbsp) mayo
- 3/4 cup sour cream
Leave the ramen sealed in its bags and crunch them up thoroughly into little crumbles. Open the bags, remove the seasoning packets and pour noodle-bits into a large bowl. Add the grated carrots, egg and the contents of one seasoning packet. Stir in mayo and sour cream, mixing well to combine.
- While the raw noodles may initially be offputting, they're quite easy to eat. I like ramen salad best when it's perfectly fresh, but for the mock-cheese salad, let it sit in the fridge for 30 minutes. The noodles will soak up the moisture from the mayo and sour cream, becoming soft and eerily cheese-textured.