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Hot and Sour Ramen with Tofu, Shiitakes, and Spinach

To use instant ramen noodles to develop a quick and complete ramen noodles recipe, we ditched the flavor packets accompanying the noodles, simmering them instead in chicken broth enriched with sautéed garlic and ginger, Asian chili sauce, soy sauce, vinegar and sugar (to balance the chili burn). We decided to sauté the tofu and mushrooms in individual batches in a large nonstick skillet that we could use afterward to prepare the broth in.

This way, the fond, or flavorful bits left behind by the tofu and mushrooms, would be absorbed by the broth. Shiitake mushrooms seemed a fitting choice for our ramen noodles recipe; when sliced thin, they sautéed well and browned deeply, lending satisfying savor to the quick broth.

Ingredients 1(14-ounce) block extra-firm tofu , cut into 1-inch cubes
8 teaspoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
8 ounces shiitake mushrooms , sliced thin
2 teaspoons Asian chili sauce
3 garlic cloves , minced
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
3 1/2cups low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
4(3-ounce) packages ramen noodles , seasoning packets discarded
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1(6-ounce) bag baby spinach

NOTE: To make it healthier, we may replace the ramen noodles with a different type of Asian noodle that is fresh instead of deep-fried.


1. MAKING THE MINUTES COUNT: While the tofu browns, slice the shiitakes. While the shiitakes brown, prep the garlic and ginger.

2. SAUTÉ TOFU: Pat tofu dry with paper towels and toss with 2 teaspoons of soy sauce. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Lightly brown tofu on several sides, about 5 minutes total. Transfer tofu to clean bowl.

3. SAUTÉ MUSHROOMS AND AROMATICS: Add remaining tablespoon oil to skillet and return to medium-high heat until shimmering. Add mushrooms and cook until browned, about 4 minutes. Stir in chili sauce, garlic, and ginger and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

4. SIMMER RAMEN: Stir in broth. Break bricks of ramen into small hunks and add to skillet. Bring to simmer and cook, tossing ramen constantly with tongs to separate, until ramen is just tender but there is still liquid in pan, about 2 minutes.

5. THICKEN SAUCE AND FINISH: Stir in remaining 2 tablespoons soy sauce, vinegar, and sugar. Stir in spinach, one handful at a time, until spinach is wilted and sauce is thickened. Stir in tofu and serve.