Instant ramen was probably one of the first things that I cooked for myself. As a kid, most of the things I learned to cook were for other people, making scrambled eggs for Mom or helping Aunt Marie cook dinner. Ramen noodles were something that I enjoyed and could cook for myself at an early age, even when I was home alone. I learned how to make them from my mom. We would buy them at the corner store. Then she would make them for lunch, always cracking an egg or two in the pot and slicing up a scallion to sprinkle over the top. It was one of the few things that she cooked and I quickly adapted it for my own.
Over the years I refined my technique. Choosing a favorite brand (which has recently disappeared much to my dismay) and figuring out the best way to cook them. I always add greens, baby kale or arugula or chopped romaine if that's all I have in the fridge. I add the vegetables when the noodles are about halfway cooked and then I add the seasoning, usually 2/3 of the seasoning packet(s). Finally I add an egg to the pot. The greens keep the egg from sinking to the bottom so the pot is easier to clean. I pull some noodles over the egg, cover the pot and turn off the heat. Then I let it sit for a minute or two. Finally I transfer the noodles to a bowl, being sure to be gentle so the not yet fully cooked yolk doeasn't break. It's important that the egg be completely covered with broth so it finishes cooking in the bowl. A sprinkle of finely sliced scallions is always a nice tough if you have them.
The first few bites are all about the noodles. If I've done a good job, they are light and springy, with a slightly sweet, wheaty flavor and a nice chew that is balanced by the sweet, silky texture of the greens. About halfway through I scoop out the egg with a spoon and cut it open. A perfectly cooked egg will have firm whites and a liquid, slightly viscous yolk. There's a little bit of magic in the way it washes across the noodles and doesn't quite emulsify into the salty broth. You can get a few bites out of each egg, savoring the way the flavors merge and separate in your mouth. When you get back to the noodles they have changed, softening and expanding in the soup. No longer springy, they are softer, though still pliant with a gentle chew. This works nicely because you're no longer ravenously hungry and the tender texture of the noodles is comforting against your tongue. It's a perfect lunch, easy, delicious, loaded with msg, and one of my favorite guilty pleasures.