Homemade spicy pumpkin ramen — your favorite noodle dish with a fall twist
There was a time in my life (ahem, until I was about 25) when I seriously thought ramen noodles only came in those disgusting little microwavable cups every single person in a college dorm has stashed somewhere in their room and would break out at about 3 a.m. after coming home from a party.
I never understood their draw, as a packet of Easy Mac was much more my style back in my college days, and to this day, the smell of a microwavable ramen noodle cup makes me gag.
So off into life I went after graduating, literally thinking that was the only kind of ramen noodle there was. I had no idea it was a bastardized American convenience item based on a legitimate Asian dish. Oops.
Thankfully, as they say, with age comes wisdom, and I finally got the opportunity to taste real ramen. Two words: game changer. Real ramen is a deliciously flavored bowl with all the comfort of a savory noodle dish and all the bright, gingery, cilantro, limey notes you expect from an Asian dish. This version uses pumpkin and a bit of spice to put a seasonal flair on it, and I can guarantee you this: One slurp in, and you'll never go back to the microwavable kind again.
Spicy pumpkin ramen recipe
Prep time: 10 minutes | Cook time: 25 minutes | Total time: 35 minutes
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons minced ginger
- 1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, sliced
- 3-5 dried hot red chiles
- 1-1/2 cups cubed pumpkin (any winter squash will work here)
- Generous pinch kosher salt
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 1 (15 ounce) can full-fat coconut milk
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 tablespoon red chili paste
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 5 ounces ramen noodles
- Chopped cilantro, green onions and lime, for garnish
- Place a large pot over medium-high heat.
- Add the olive oil, onion, garlic and ginger, and cook until the onions are softened, about 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add the mushrooms and chiles, stir, and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add the cubed pumpkin and salt, and stir until combined.
- Add the chicken broth, coconut milk, pumpkin and red chili paste, and stir until everything is well mixed and the coconut milk, pumpkin and chili paste have dissolved into the liquid.
- Place the chicken in the pot, bring to a low simmer, and cook until the chicken is done, about 10 minutes.
- Remove the chicken from the pot, and either shred or chop it.
- Return the chicken to the pot, add the ramen noodles, and cook until softened and broken up, about 7 minutes.
- Serve with cilantro, green onion and a squeeze of lime, if desired.