Sazón Ramen

March 22, 2022
3 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom. Prop Stylist: Alya Hameedi. Food Stylist: Anna Billingskog.
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Serves 2
Author Notes

Arroz amarillo, crisp pernil, steaming tamales—growing up, everything I ate had a little bit of sazón in it. This spice blend is usually a combination of garlic, onion, cumin, salt, achiote, and, depending on the brand, sometimes MSG, too. It’s one of the backbones of the Latin American kitchen and makes any dish I cook taste a little more like home, including instant ramen.

Originally inspired by a Reddit post, I was drawn to sazón ramen for the Latinx and Asian flavors. Being half-Latinx and half-Asian myself, I saw a bit of who I am in the dish. There are countless soups and stews from Latin America, but few combine shrimp and eggs together. But in Asia, that combination is common. This recipe blends a little from both cultures to achieve a deeply flavorful result. Of course, it needs more than the seasoning packet to get there. Like many good soups, a sofrito base of onion, green bell pepper, and garlic builds the foundation. Sazón and instant dashi season the broth, which allows the noodles to plump up and soak in the golden hue of achiote. Nestle in seared shrimp and jammy eggs to get that classic ramen look. Then finish with tangy lime juice and a shower of cilantro.

Each component of the soup complements another in somewhat unexpected ways. The sweetness of the shrimp balances out the saltiness of the broth. The sofrito deepens the soup’s flavor while the lime’s acid lends brightness. Sazón richens; dashi mellows. To some, ramen and sazón may be an unexpected pair. But to others, this is just the mash-up they were looking for. —Kiera Wright-Ruiz

What You'll Need
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1/3 cup diced yellow onion (about ¼ small onion)
  • 1/3 cup diced green bell pepper (about ¼ green bell pepper)
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely diced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sazón
  • 1 tablespoon instant dashi
  • 2 (4.23-ounces) packages instant ramen (any variety), seasoning packets reserved
  • 1 1/2 cups packed (1.5 ounces) fresh baby spinach
  • 1/4 cup (loosely packed) roughly chopped cilantro leaves
  • 2 large eggs, soft-boiled and halved (optional)
  • Black sesame seeds (optional)
  • Lime wedges, for serving
  1. In a medium pot over high heat, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil until it shimmers. While heating, pat the shrimp dry with a paper towel and season with ¼ teaspoon salt. Working in batches if needed, arrange the shrimp in a single layer, making sure not to overcrowd the pot. Sear until lightly browned and pink all the way through, about 30 seconds on each side. Transfer to a plate.
  2. In the same pot, lower the heat to medium and add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil, the onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Stirring frequently to avoid over-browning, cook until the mixture is softened and fragrant, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add 4 cups of water, sazón, dashi, the remaining ½ teaspoon salt, and half of one ramen seasoning packet (about 1¼ teaspoons) into the pot. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Add both packages of ramen noodles and cook according to the package directions. Remove from the heat and stir in the spinach until just wilted. Reserve the remaining seasoning for another use.
  4. Divide the soup between two bowls and top with a few pieces of shrimp, cilantro, eggs, and sesame seeds, if using. Serve immediately with lime wedges for squeezing over.

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