Proof that you can build flavor fast, this spicy noodle soup leans on a few heavy-hitting pantry items and comes together in less than 20 minutes. It features ingredients and flavors inspired by Japanese ramen and doenjang jjigae, a Korean stew made with fermented chili and soybean pastes.
It’s also a budget meal that can serve two people for less than $15 and is infinitely customizable to suit different pantries and preferences.
Don’t eat eggs? Skip them and, if you like, add two ounces of cubed firm tofu with the mushrooms. Use dried or fresh ramen noodles or swap them for somen or udon—just be sure to adjust cooking times accordingly. You can also swap the button mushrooms for shiitake, enoki or your other favorite fungi, or use jarred instead of fresh. The texture will be different, but your soup will still be delicious.
You can garnish this spicy noodle soup in all sorts of ways, too. If you happen to have bean sprouts, pickled radishes, menma or roasted seaweed on hand, sprinkle them on top of your bowl right before you serve (crumble the seaweed in your fingers).
The ingredient that knows no substitutions is gochujang, a fermented red chili paste with a uniquely fruity kick. In Korean American, author Eric Kim writes that gochujang is “essential to Korean food” and sometimes likened to a Korean mother sauce.
Need to stock your larder? Gojuchang is sold online and at many grocery stores.
How to Make This Spicy Noodle Soup
Place eggs in a large pot and fill with approximately 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil and then cover pot, turn off heat and leave eggs for 4–6 minutes. Remove eggs with a slotted spoon or spider and, when cool enough to handle, peel and cut in half vertically. Reserve water in the pot, covered.
In a medium saucepan, use a spatula or wooden spoon to stir gochujang into miso over low heat until combined, approximately 30 seconds, then pour in broth. Raise heat and bring to a simmer, stirring until gochujang and miso dissolve to create amber-colored broth.
Add zucchini and simmer 2 minutes, then add mushrooms and simmer 2–3 more minutes, until vegetables are fork tender.
While vegetables cook, bring the reserved pot of water back to a boil and add noodles. Cook until just shy of al dente, 1–2 minutes at a rolling boil. Drain or use a spider to portion the cooked noodles into two serving bowls.
Divide broth and vegetables evenly on top of noodles. Top each bowl with an egg and half the scallions. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds, if using. Serve immediately. Serves 2.
Last Updated: June 1, 2023