Burgers are an iconic American food, and a trend of late has been to combine foods from different ethnic cuisines in new and exciting ways. Ramen holds a similar place in Japanese cuisine—so what happens if you mix ramen with, say, ground venison? A delicious fusion of tastes.
Ramen noodle soup is a treasured dish throughout Japanese history, and Momofuku Ando is credited with inventing the well-known, precooked instant ramen in 1958. In 2013, Keizo Shimamoto was credited with creating the first ramen burger, in which ramen noodles make up the bun.
My version adds a third country’s influence by including flavors and ingredients from my Korean heritage—and I’ve also replaced the traditional beef burger with venison. Now, on to the recipe.
Kimchi Ramen Venison Burger
Total Time: 40 minutes
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Yield: 2 burgers
• 1 package of ramen noodles*
• 3 eggs
• ½ pound of ground venison
• 1 tablespoon siracha sauce or gochujahng (Korean hot pepper paste)
• 2 tablespoons soy sauce
• 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
• 1 cup Arugula
• 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
• Slices of tomato and onion
• American cheese
*If possible, use fresh ramen noodles such as Sun Noodles, which can be found at larger Korean grocery stores. If you cannot readily use fresh ramen noodles, then instant ramen noodles will suffice.
1. Add water to a pot, following the instructions on the ramen package. Bring the water to a boil and add the ramen noodles. You can also add the seasoning packet into the pot to add more flavor. Boil for 3 minutes and stir occasionally. Drain. Allow noodles to cool slightly.
2. Beat 1 egg in a bowl along with salt, pepper and ramen seasoning to taste. Combine noodles to the egg mixture until evenly coated.
3. Divide noodles into 4 burger-size ramekins or bowls. Try to make the noodle buns on the thin side. Place a sheet of plastic wrap directly over noodles and stack another bowl on top to flatten noodles. Refrigerate until firm (about 20 minutes).
4. Divide ground venison into two equal portions and shape into patties.
5. Mix soy sauce and hoisin sauce in a separate bowl.
6. Heat about 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Invert each ramen bowl, gently tapping the bottom of the bowl until ramen loosens, careful to maintain bun shape.
7. Fry each ramen bun, without moving noodles, in hot oil until golden brown (about 3 minutes). Flip each bun and continue frying until crisp (3-5 minutes). Ramen buns should be crispy on one side and slightly softer on the other. Transfer buns to large plate with the crispy side up.
8. Heat about 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in the same skillet and cook venison patties until burgers are lightly pink in the center (3-5 minute per side). An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read 140°F.
9. Heat about 1 teaspoon oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat; fry remaining 2 eggs one at a time, adding more oil as needed, until yolk is almost firm.
10. To assemble the burgers, place one ramen bun down. Spread siracha or gochujahng sauce on the bun. Place half of the arugula on each bun and add a burger patty. Spread the soy and hoisin sauce on top the burger and add kimchi (the more the better). Add a fried egg and top with the other ramen bun.
Optional: Add tomato, onion and cheese as you see fit.