Caramelized Pork Ramen Bowls

Cue the drool. It’s finally starting to feel like Fall and with it being all rainy and cold, Ramen was calling my name. You could spend a pretty penny on Ramen when you’re out to eat, or better yet, you can just treat yoself. Don’t get me wrong, when it’s freezing out it’s very un-motivating to want to cook, but the good news here is that this is a Crockpot creation; you can toss all the goodies in before you head out to work and by the time you’re home you have about 10 minutes of prep before you can dig in.

Ramen 1

P R E P

Full disclosure: there are a lot of ingredients listed that you probably don’t have in your pantry already. I encourage you to get these ingredients ahead of time–don’t be shy to ask a team member at your local grocery store if you’re struggling to find one of these items. However, if you’re stubborn like me and would rather wander around for 20 minutes to find ONE item because you don’t have the patience to find an associate, then I have some comforting news for you: all these ingredients (most of them) can be found in the asian/ethic food isle (where soups/salsas/canned vegetables usually are). They’re all fairly inexpensive as well; all the ingredients (minus the pork and brown sugar) was less than $20, which is essentially what you’d spend if you decided to get Ramen out and about–PLUS you get leftovers…win win.

The best part about Crockpot dishes is that you can *literally* toss everything in (no pre-prep needed), put your Crockpot and low, and get on with your day.

What you’ll need

  • A Crockpot: Any size will do.
  • A large skillet. (For the caramelizing of the pork).
  • A medium sized saucepan. (For the eggs)
  • 1-2 lbs of either Pork Shoulder or Pork Butt. Go to your grocery store’s meat counter and ask for a fresh cut–a lot of places don’t have the pre-packaged pork, so it’s better to get it right at the counter.
  • 2 cartons of low sodium Chicken Broth (64 oz, two 32 oz cartons).
  • 1/2 cup of soy sauce.
  • 1/4 cup of rice vinegar.
  • 2 tablespoons of Thai Red Curry Paste.
  • 2 tablespoons of fish sauce (optional).
  • 2 tablespoons of brown sugar.
  • 2 tablespoons of ginger (I used 2 drops of DoTerra’s Ginger Essential Oil).
  • 1 tablespoon of garlic chili sauce.
  • 1 tablespoon of Chinese 5 Spice.
  • 1 tsp black pepper.
  • Juice of 1 lime.
  • 4 packs of ramen noodles (remove the MSG packets!)
  • 2 cups of pre-sliced mushrooms (you can typically buy these pre-sliced, but if you’d prefer to slice on your own, go for it!)
  • 4  soft boiled eggs.
  • Additional toppings: Cilantro, sriracha or jalapenos!

For Carmelizing the Pork

  • 2 tablespoons of sesame oil.
  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar.
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce.

Total Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Crockpot Cooking Time: 4-5 hours on high, 8-9 hours on low

Servings: 6-8

Directions

  • Put your pork in the Crockpot.
    • If you’re crunched for time and you’re putting the pork on high, cut the pork into a few big pieces so it’ll cook faster (see photo for example).
  • Pour Chicken Broth, Soy Sauce and Rice Vinegar over the pork.
  • Add Thai red curry paste, fish sauce (if you decided to use), brown sugar, ginger, garlic chili sauce, Chinese 5 spice, black pepper and the juice of 1 lime.
  • Turn your Crockpot to either low (this will take 8-9 hours) or high (3-5 hours).
  • Once your pork is done (you’ll know if you can easily pierce this with a fork), take it out of the Crockpot and place on a cutting board.
  • Put your mushrooms in the Crockpot on high.
  • Shred your pork with two forks.

To Caramelize the Pork *

  • Put the sesame oil into your skillet on medium high heat.
  • Place your pork into the pan (make sure the pork covers the skillet and it’s not overcrowding).
  • Add brown sugar and soy sauce; toss to combine.
  • Allow the pork to caramelize (don’t stir!) for 2-3 minutes, and then turn to get the other side. Once it’s fully caramelized (don’t let it get too crispy), set aside.
  • Add Ramen to the Crockpot (discard the flavor packets) and cook for 5 minutes, until the noodles are soft.

To soft-boil eggs*

  • Bring water to boil in a medium saucepan, and then carefully place eggs into the pot.
  • Lower the temperature so that the water is just slightly boiling (I usually lower it to a simmer). Cover and let sit for 6-7 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and rinse with cold water. I will typically add ice cubes into the saucepan for better success.

 

  • Spoon Ramen creation into bowls: add the pork, soft boiled eggs and any other toppings. Enjoy!

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

POST COOKING NOTES

How to store

  • Pork usually crystallizes when it’s stored in the fridge, so my recommendation would be to store the pork and Ramen separate. That way you can add in the pork when you reheat, and you can keep the broth fresher and less thick.
  • Place Ramen in an air-tight container (be sure to find one that won’t leak) in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. Place Pork in an airtight container for 3-4 days

After Thoughts

  • My favorite part of this meal was obvious: the flavor! Using low sodium chicken broth and soy sauce was the trick to keep it from getting too salty, and the flavor continued to be just as delicious when I enjoyed this as leftovers.
  • I can’t stress enough to keep the pork and the broth separate when you store. The broth is key to making this meal last for leftovers, and the pork will harden the broth.
  • This makes plenty of leftovers, so if you’re not a leftovers kinda person I’d recommend cutting the recipe in half, or cooking for a bigger crowd.

Happy eating!

If you end up making this, I’d love to hear what you think! Feel free to comment or tag me on Instagram @basickneads.

 

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