My grandmother grew up in Ohio. But from 1977-1979 she was the principal of a small school in Sapporo, Japan. I’d bet she hadn’t had ramen (who had?) before that. I first remember having this dish on vacation in Michigan, actually, as a kid, up in the Upper Peninsula, where she’d eventually retire to with her Finnish husband.
She’d serve the slaw with pretty much anything, mostly as a side to a meat-and-potatoes kind of meal. She was also great with casseroles, like jamazetti or turkey tetrazzini, but those didn’t need sides.
I remember Nissin being the brand we stuck to. She never made ramen as a meal in itself; she just liked using the soup base and the ramen in her own food. The first time I ever had ramen as a “meal” was in college. My Korean roommate would eat the noodles like potato chips, though. Sometimes she’d dip them in something like French onion dip or nacho cheese, which was actually pretty tasty.
I’ve tinkered with my grandma’s measurements a little bit, but I don’t think she’d mind.
- 1/2 medium-sized red onion, sliced
- 1/2 green cabbage, shaved
- 1/2 red cabbage, shaved
- 1 T salt, plus more to taste
- 1 t sugar
- 8 oz cleaned bean sprouts
- 4 T toasted sesame seeds
- 4 T unsalted peanuts, salted to taste
- 2 packages instant ramen, crushed
- 1 t sambal, or chili-garlic paste
- 1/2 C vegetable oil
- 2 T sesame oil
- 2 T orange juice
- 2 T rice wine vinegar
- 1 T white miso
Season onions and cabbage with salt and sugar, toss a couple of times, and allow to sweat about an hour at room temperature.
Add the bean sprouts, sesame seeds, peanuts, and crushed ramen.
Throw the remaining ingredients into a mixing bowl, and whisk to make a dressing. Pour over the slaw and work with your hands. Chill 1 hour before serving, or eat immediately if you like the ramen bits crunchy.