Tag Archives: noodles

Pad Thai, Dorm Style

I was lucky enough to grow up really close to an excellent authentic Thai restaurant. There’s nothing trendy about this one. It’s nice and all, but in a way that makes you feel like you’re in someone’s living room. Some of my earliest memories involve that place- drinking coconut milk, holding spoons on my nose, making the bespectacled owner smile in delight while I greedily gobbled up the Chicken Massaman he had been sure I wouldn’t like, and feeling complete wonder at the delightfulness of sweet sticky rice. And the curry puffs, oh the curry puffs.

I’ll admit I was never a big Pad Thai person until I came to college. But soon after arriving I guess you could say it became my ramen noodles. And then a couple of weeks ago I made the most wonderful discovery- Pad Thai is actually pretty easy to make and totally doable in my tiny dorm kitchen.

The great thing about making this dish is the minimal cleanup and cooking time. The worst part is the prep time, but there are a couple ways to cut down on it, such as using pre-minced garlic and ginger. The preparation is by no means awful, but you do need to prepare the peanut sauce and wash and cut the raw ingredients, so depending on how experienced of a cook you are it may take longer for some than others.

But onto the wonderful things. Making Pad Thai requires a pot to cook the rice noodles and a pan to cook the rest, which you then add the noodles to at the very end. But that’s it. It’s not quite a one-pot meal but its pretty close. Then the noodles cook while you cook the chicken and vegetables, which goes quickly because they are cut into small pieces. Lather on that sauce and voilà!

I kind of, sort of followed a recipe, but that’s one of the marvelous things about cooking: you can make it your own. The trick to this dish, for me anyway, is to get the peanut sauce right. After that it all tastes delicious and tangy. I have a friend who has some dietary restrictions so she couldn’t eat the noodles. I just sliced some cabbage to a noodle length as a substitute and made a noodle-less version. And you know what? Covered in that smooth nutty sauce with a little bit of kick, it was almost as good as the noodle version! You can bet I’ll be making this one again and I think you should too. Time to get your Thai on.


So Cal Cooking: Mushroom Pancit

I’ve actually only eaten pancit in my friends’ homes, usually cooked by their mothers or fathers. The recipe itself is relatively easy, since the staple ingredients of thin rice noodles, soy sauce, and citrus are the only things one really needs. Everything else is subject up change: you can add shrimp, vegetables, or beef. It’s super easy, and a perfect dish to make a huge batch of and then reheat leftovers. It can be a main dish or a side dish, and you can jazz it up by serving it with lumpia!



1 15oz pack of chinese noodles

1 head of green cabbage

1 onion, sliced

3 green onions

1 large carrot

3 tablespoons of soy sauce

2 tablespoons of oyster sauce

4 cups of sliced mushrooms

3 cloves of garlic, chopped

2 cans of vegetable broth

3 teaspoons cumin

A dash of curry

1 teaspoon of lemon juice

Mushroom Pancit


1. Chop the garlic and the onions.

2. Add one tablespoon of olive oil to a medium sized skillet on medium-high heat. Add the onions, garlic, and mushrooms and cumin.

3. Cook the onions and garlic for 3-5 minutes, or until the onions are translucent

4. Add the chopped carrots and cabbage, and continue to cook on high heat. Reduce the heat once the cabbage and carrots have softened.

5. In a separate medium sized pot, add the vegetable broth, oyster sauce, and soy sauce. Heat on medium.

6. Once the sauce mixture is boiling, add the noodles. Cook the noodles for 5-8 minutes, or until they are soft.

7. Add the noodles to the vegetable mixture. Turn up the heat to high, and fry for about 8-10 minutes, frequently stirring the noodles.

8. Remove heat, and let the pancit sit for a few minutes. Serve when ready!



$13 of Happy; Extra Noodle!

There’s no better way to introduce a blog about cheap eats than with a celebration of ramen, the foundation of any proper poor-college student diet!  And so, my first venture into culinary criticism takes me and my buddy to Terakawa Ramen, a small noodle bar on 57th street and 9th avenue, just two blocks away from the Union Square subway stop.
We, of course, refused to use this subway stop, convinced that the $4.50 it would cost for the round trip would be better spent on more noodles.  It turns out we were right, too, because these noodles were pretty good.

After skimming the short menu, which included various meat-over-rice dishes, gyoza, about six flavors of ramen, and ‘Tokyo Fried Chicken’ (which I’m getting next time), I ordered a $9.00 bowl of Terakawa Ramen, as seemed most appropriate.  This dish, the restaurant’s implicit, perpetual special, is described accurately on the menu as “pork bone based noodle soup and bamboo shoot, red ginger roast pork, boiled egg, scallion, kikurage.”  While the toppings made for a pretty presentation, the real star was the rich, thick, almost creamy broth, which overpowered the other flavors somewhat.  Surprisingly though, the noodles failed to absorb much of this flavor and, when eaten on without any other ingredients, lacked appeal.  However, my experience  was dramatically improved when I happened upon this eating strategy, which I now recommend: use the soup spoon to ladle out some broth, use the chopsticks to put noodles and other toppings in said spoon, then eat!  Problem solved.  The pork was tender and tasty, while the hard boiled egg had a pleasantly complex, almost sweet flavor, but neither was much of a factor in the dish as a whole. This is because the portions of these protein elements were small, as is usually the case; I ate the two thin slices and half-egg right away, almost as an appetizer.  Ordering an extra 2 pieces of pork for $2.00 might have helped, but I opted to spend that money, or $1.50 of it, on an extra portion of noodles.  (In the photo, you can see these to the right of my bowl).
These extra noodles made my night and make Terakawa Ramen stand apart from its comparably priced competitors.  While the option to pay for extra ramen is not itself a novelty, the massiveness of this extra portion is surely unprecedented.  With the leftover broth from my first bowl, I used these extra noodles to get two bowls for a little more than the price of one.  My friend and I, had we been less ravenously hungry, might have shared a single bowl, but we wouldn’t have felt comfortable doing so after taking up two of the eleven seats in this tiny restaurant.
Terakawa Ramen looks and feels more like a bar than a restaurant; its eleven seats wrap around a u-shaped, wooden counter top, behind which stands the single waitress. This friendly waitress took our orders quickly, topped off our water promptly (which we needed, considering the richness of the broth,) and had us in and out within 30 minutes. Still, I wouldn’t suggest bringing a group of more than three people here unless you really don’t mind a wait.  Otherwise, if you’re hungry for thick brothiness or looking to carboload for a marathon without breaking the bank, Terakawa Ramen is your place!


My happy friend


A few blocks away, Jin Ramen awaits

Jin Ramen from Amanda Tien on Vimeo.

Last semester, my friend Gavin said he knew a place that I’d love.  As many people are, I was very ecstatic to learn that something I would love was about to come into my life.  That week, we went up with some friends to Jin Ramen.  Jin Ramen is also commonly known as my new paradise and my place of choice to take out of town visitors.  Many people are aware of the current ramen craze hitting New York, courtesy of David Chang’s Momofuku restaurants.  I went to Momofuku, and while it’s definitely a great place, I have to say…I prefer Jin Ramen.

It’s not just because Jin Ramen is closer, but the noodles and broth are consistently top notch.   My favorite dish is the Tonokutsu Ramen–creamy pork broth topped with Chashu (braised pork belly), Nitamago (soft-boiled egg), Menma (bamboo shoots), Nori (roasted seaweed), and Negi (fresh scallion).  Pork is a speciality of Fukuoka, a city on the Japanese island of Kyushu.  Thus, the Tonokutsu dishes in particular reflect the flavors and specialties of this southern island.

Continue reading A few blocks away, Jin Ramen awaits

Hidden Gems: No Name Bar

photo courtesy of cdn.brownstoner.com


After our August hiatus (partially induced by the Editor having her wisdom teeth removed and not having a particularly great time with it), we’re returning for the fall semester starting with one of Melina’s HIDDEN GEMS posts.  Hidden Gems will be appearing on every other Sunday, starting September 16.

Not named “No Name.”

Actually has no name.

Has no number either.

And the biggest shocker in today’s day and age—has no website.

I would argue that it is one of Greenpoint’s/Williamsburg’s best kept secrets. Keeping an establishment a secret seems to be a bad business move, but when a place remains filled, busy-but-not-too-busy, the owners behind the operation need not take any course of action.

The first time I went inside, I ordered a drink, stuck around for a little while, and then left. I was impressed with the laid back attitude, and the cave-like ambience.  Looking back on my initial contentment, I was naïve. I was not aware of the fact that this place has a hidden noodle bar on the level under the actual bar. Yep! Asian-inspired cooking is going on in the basement whenever the bar is open. And the food is well worth the trek to Brooklyn.

I am going to save you all some time by telling you exactly what to do to access the noodle bar and claim your secretive and fresh dish.

Instead of asking the bartender a million questions like I did, here are the steps.

Continue reading Hidden Gems: No Name Bar

Club re-Cap: Ravioli Night!

 Tonight brought our 2nd Annual Ravioli Night, hosted by our master pasta maker Rachelle Grossman. It was an up-grade from a cramped EC suite as we met in the Satow Room for the lesson. For those of you who couldn’t make it, here’s what you missed!

Thank goodness that the GSSC didn’t meet tonight… As much as we love our GS students, it was nice to have the Satow Room all to ourselves. Instead of weaving around the student politicians, we quickly transformed our corner of Lerner into a cooking class. After an initial scramble for cutting boards, utensils, and dough, Ravioli Night began. About 20 members of the Culinary Society gathered in the round, standing by make-shift work stations.

Ravioli Night was one of our several Italian Month events. Rachelle led off with a quick demonstration of how to make pasta by hand, without a new-fangled KitchenAid. Soon she had students folding their own ravioli–some even got creative making triangle- and circle-shaped pastas. Pasta newbies laughed as they tried to master the art, but by the end of the evening, everyone seemed to be doing quite well. By the time 10:30 rolled around, everyone eagerly packed up their ravioli into Tupperware or plastic bags, ready to cook them for dinner.

*Remember, for those of you cooking your pasta, cook in boiling water for about 5 minutes, until the pasta floats.*

Recipes to follow… Continue reading Club re-Cap: Ravioli Night!