Yes, this happened.
After a failed trip to the San Francisco Ramen Festival in which my girl friend and I were quickly horrified by the six-hour wait times and instead enjoyed bibimbap at a nearby Korean eatery, I couldn't stop thinking about the ramen burger.
I had heard so much about it and yet heard of so few firsthand encounters. Until the other day I had simply written it off as one of those wacky trendy food inventions that I would never try (namely because I hate waiting in line for things... even if it is food).
And then it dawned on me. It's really just ramen noodles. And they're essentially just molded into patties. How hard could it be? Turns out, not very. If anything, it's more my beef patty-making that leaves something to be desired:
Prep time: 40 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
- 1 3-ounce package instant ramen noodles
- 1 egg, beaten
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup ketchup
- 1-2 tablespoons sriracha sauce
- 1/2-pound ground beef
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 3 scallions, chopped and divided
- 2 slices American cheese
- 1/2 cup arugula
- 1/2 roma tomato, sliced
- Vegetable oil
- 2 eggs (optional, to fry and add to burger)
Special tools needed: Parchment paper; 4 ramekins or same-size circular cookie cutters, preferably 4-6 inches in diameter.
Make ramen burger buns:
1. Cook ramen noodles according to package instructions and drain. Discard seasoning packet if desired. (I didn't use it.) Quickly rinse cooked noodles with cold water to slightly cool them.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together beaten egg, a generous pinch each of salt and pepper, and if you really want, a pinch of the ramen seasoning. Toss in noodles to coat.
3. Divide the noodles equally among the ramekins or cookie cutters. Cover each with a parchment and add something to weigh them down, like drinking glasses or mason jars. Place in refrigerator to let set, about 30 minutes.
Make sriracha ketchup:
4. Mix together the ketchup and sriracha, adding more or less sriracha, depending on your desired spice level. For 1/3 cup ketchup, I used 1.5 tablespoons sriracha for medium spiciness.
Make burger patties:
5. Add ground beef to a medium bowl. Add soy sauce, a small pinch of salt, a generous pinch of pepper, and if you really want, a pinch of the ramen seasoning. Add half of the chopped scallions and mix until combined. Divide into two equal-sized patties, about the size of the ramekins. Indent the middle with your thumb*.
Cook and assemble!
6. Cook buns: To remove ramen buns, invert the ramekins and tap gentle to loosen. In a nonstick pan over medium-high heat, add oil. Add ramen buns and cook until light golden brown on one side, about 3 minutes. Turn over and cook the other sides until crispier, medium golden brown, about 4-5 minutes. Drain on paper towel.
7. Cook meat: In the same pan over medium heat, cook the burger patties to desired doneness. For medium rare, this will probably be 3-4 minutes on each side. When the patties have 1-2 minutes of cook time left, add the cheese slices to let melt.
8. Assemble: Add sriracha ketchup to the softer sides of the ramen buns. Add half the arugula, the patties, the tomato slices and the remaining scallions. Top with the other bun and enjoy!
Why indent the patty? Clearly, I didn't indent my burger enough. Doing so will prevent the patties from puffing up too much.
Why are my burger patties gigantic? I was really hungry, concerned the diameter of the ramen buns were too small, and decided to compensate by making wider patties.