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I remember the day that this dish was born so vividly. It was a quarantine day in April. We were about 5 weeks into stay at home orders and had no meat meat left in our fridge, a minimal amount of wilted cilantro and some mushrooms. I was craving something comforting as those days in April felt long, cold and rainy. My husband went back to work outside the home, and I was still in the throes of teaching through remote learning. The difficulty of adjusting to the great change that came with teaching math to 105 – 7th graders at a distance with my two young children by my side seemed like an insurmountable task. I could feel the sadness of my students and their longing to be in person. So many of them saying, “I just can’t learn math like this. I need to be back in the classroom.” Never in my life had I felt so ineffective at my job. Everyday that I saw a student fall behind or not show up was another reminder of how I was dropping the ball. Student engagement and attendance at an all time low, and I was sinking down with it.
Teaching has always been a creative outlet for me. Teaching remotely, on the other hand, was not. I tried making COVID-19 math tasks, only to be told that this real-world connection was too scary and anxiety provoking for some of my students. I recorded my own daily instructional videos, which were subpar compared to all the funny and engaging forms of digital media that this generation of students consume. My last resort was recording error analysis math TikTok videos to songs like “Oops I Did it Again” by Brittney Spears. Nothing seemed to garner the attention to math that I was looking for, not even live teaching through the computer.
So I did the best I could with what I had, and I turned to another creative outlet. One that my family appreciated and filled me for the time being. Making food to feed my soul and creating original dishes with pantry staples, became something I looked forward to each day. “Just Keep Cooking”, and Glennon Doyle’s, “We can do hard things”, were my motto’s to get me through those long, dreary days. While some people found peace and comfort in baking during quarantining, I found that same feeling in cooking quick and simple family style meals that we could all enjoy together. I kept hearing people say to look at the silver lining in this: The gift of the forced family time and togetherness that the stay at home orders created. It’s a rarity for us to to eat dinner as a family of 4, so, like many others, I embraced that.
This Szechuan Ramen Soup was a meal that we all enjoyed in some form quite often during quarantine. The kids don’t love spicy things, so I made them some buttered Ramen, substituting the flavor MSG packet with some lemon juice and a couple scrambled eggs to go with. This soup is vegan, tasty and comes in at less than $10. I wish I had this recipe in college because all those Ramen noodles I ate could have been a whole lot healthier! It’s now summer 2020, and we all wait and wonder what the fall will look like, but for now I will enjoy sitting poolside with my kids, reading, writing, snacking on grapes and sipping my cucumber water.
Time Saving Hacks:
- Lots of pantry staples
- Ramen noodles or Gluten free rice noodles
The Things You Will Need:
- Stock Pot
- Liquid Measuring Cup
Easy Szechuan Ramen Soup
- 1 tbsp Sesame oil, Avocado oil or Veggie oil (your pick!)
- 1 carton of sliced button mushrooms
- ½ can of Coconut milk
- 2 tbsp Chili paste or sauce
- 2 tbsp Soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp Ginger seasoning or paste
- 1 Tbsp Garlic seasoning or paste
- 6 cups veggie stock
- ½ cup of Peanut butter
- 3 Packs of Ramen or Rice Noodles (Gluten free option)
- 1 Red bell pepper (slice thin)
- 2 Limes
- Peanuts (garnish
- Cilantro (garnish)
- Step 1 Heat the oil until shiny and then saute the mushrooms on medium heat until the liquid is absorbed. Remove them from the pot and set aside.
- Step 2 Add coconut milk, chili sauce, soy sauce, ginger and garlic. Whisk together in the pot on medium heat for 1 minute.
- Step 3 Add veggie stock, then whisk in the peanut butter and bring to a slow boil for a couple minutes, then simmer.
- Step 4 Right before you serve this, add the noodles (noodles only discard the seasoning packet) and thinly sliced red peppers. These cook fast in a slow boil for about 2 minutes.
- Step 5 Garnish with mushrooms, limes, chopped peanuts, and cilantro. Done!
Is This Something You Will Make Again?
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Don’t forget to garnish!
The Modern Proper’s Easy Chicken Ramen Soup and Rabbits and Wolves’ Vegan Spicy Thai Peanut Ramen. If these two recipes had a baby, my Szechuan Ramen Soup would be it!