DIY instant noodles made with fresh ingredients. Just add boiling water, and you’ve got lunch. [Photograph: J. Kenji López-Alt. Video: Natalie Holt]
This pot of noodles with Thai coconut curry and fresh shrimp can be made ahead and taken to work. Just add boiling water, seal it up for three minutes, add the contents of the enclosed homemade flavor packet, and you’ve got a hot lunch ready.
Why It Works
- All the convenience of a package of instant noodles, but with better ingredients and better flavor.
- By keeping the final flavorings separate from the rest of the ingredients, you can stir them into the hot soup for bright, fresh, layered flavor.
Read more: The Food Lab: Make Your Own Just-Add-Hot-Water Instant Noodles (and Make Your Coworkers Jealous)
- Yield:Makes 4 pots of noodles
- Total time:8 minutes
- 8 teaspoons (40ml) high-quality chicken base, such as Better Than Bouillon
- 4 teaspoons (18g) brown sugar
- 8 teaspoons (40ml) red curry paste (see note)
- 4 teaspoons (20ml) chili-garlic sauce (more or less to taste)
- 4 teaspoons (20ml) fish sauce
- 1 cup (240ml) coconut milk
- 16 to 20 medium cooked shrimp
- 1 cup thinly sliced button or shiitake mushrooms
- 4 small nests rice noodles or precooked ramen or Italian pasta (see note)
- 1 cup thinly sliced scallions
- 1 lime, cut into 4 wedges
Divide chicken base, sugar, curry paste, chili-garlic sauce, fish sauce, shrimp, mushrooms, coconut milk, and noodles between 4 resealable glass jars. Divide scallions and lime wedges between 4 small zipper-lock bags and seal bags, squeezing out all of the air. Tuck bags into jars and seal. Refrigerate for up to 4 days.
When ready to serve, remove scallion packet and add boiling water to the top of the jar. Seal jar and let sit 2 minutes. Open jar, stir in scallions, squeeze with lime, and serve.