Now that I work part-time as a research and development chef, it's harder to find the time to cook dinner. I used to be able to make dinner every night but nowadays, it's difficult to find the energy. The main problem with this situation is that I still want a home-cooked meal. Does anyone else face the same dilemma? Alas, I usually end up cooking dinner but now I'm turning to all the quick meals. This spicy vegetarian ramen carbonara has rescued me more times than I can count in the past several weeks but I enjoy it every time. Toss ramen noodles in an Asian-inspired carbonara sauce, top it with crispy shallots, sweet corn, and scallions, and dinner is served.
Spicy Vegetarian Ramen Carbonara
- ¼ cup oil
- 2 shallots thinly sliced
- ½ cup corn kernels
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 garlic cloves grated
- ¼ cup scallions chopped
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons chili oil
- 1 tablespoon black rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons broad chile paste
- ½ teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 4 bricks instant ramen noodles
- 3 large eggs beaten
- 2 tablespoons chopped scallions for garnish
- Combine oil and sliced shallots in a large saute pan. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat and continue to cook until shallots turn golden brown. Remove shallots with a slotted spoon and drain excess oil on paper towels. Let cool completely.
- Drain all but 1 tablespoon oil from saute pan. Heat over medium heat and add corn. Saute until lightly charred, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Melt butter in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add grated garlic and chopped scallions and saute until softened, about 2 minutes. Add soy sauce, chili oil, black rice vinegar, chile paste, sugar, and black pepper. Bring to a simmer, then turn off heat and let sit.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil over high heat. Cook ramen noodles until tender, about 2-3 minutes. Drain noodles.
- In the same pot, add back the noodles and eggs. Continue to stir noodles with eggs until creamy. Add seasoning sauce and stir to combine.
- Portion noodles into two bowls and top with corn, crispy shallots, and chopped scallions. Serve immediately.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
When I know I'm going to make this spicy vegetarian ramen carbonara, I like to prepare the toppings the day before. That way, all I have to do is toss the noodles in the sauce on the day of. Makes life much easier.
Although you don't have to serve the noodles with the toppings, I highly recommend it. The crispy shallots, sweet corn, and fresh scallions just complete the dish.
You can also buy crispy shallots but I prefer making them myself. All you have to do is thinly slice shallots and heat them with oil in a saute pan. Bring the oil to a simmer over medium-low heat and continue to slowly cook the shallots until golden brown. They won't look crispy yet but as they cool, they'll crisp up.
Make sure to lay the shallots on a paper towel to drain the excess oil; this step will also help them crisp up.
In the same pan, saute the corn until lightly charred. If corn isn't in season you can use frozen corn.
Now that the toppings are done, let's make the sauce. You can also make the sauce the day before if you prefer.
Melt butter in a saute pan and saute garlic and scallions until softened. Use grated garlic, and not minced, to get maximum garlic flavor.
Add the remaining ingredients including soy sauce, chili oil, black rice vinegar, chile paste, sugar, and black pepper. Then bring it to a simmer, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and set it aside while you cook the ramen noodles.
If you ever made pasta carbonara, this next step should be familiar. We're going to drain the noodles, then add them back to the dry, warm pot along with the beaten eggs. Keep stirring the noodles with the eggs, allowing the heat from the noodles to cook the eggs.
Once the noodles look creamy, add the seasoning sauce and give it a final stir.
Portion the spicy vegetarian ramen carbonara into bowls and top it with crispy shallots, chopped scallions, and sweet corn.
This Asian-style carbonara dish really hit the spot for me. It's comforting and bursting with umami with just a hint of spice. Next time I might even add crispy bacon bits for extra deliciousness!
For more quick noodle recipe inspiration, check out these scallion oil noodles!