Before I can theoretically begin eating healthier in the new year, I first need to get rid of all the crap I have in my house from the old year. There is no order to my kitchen come January 1—it is a chaotic panoply of smidges and smatterings, dribs and drabs, odds and ends. If I don’t find something to do with all these random ingredients, well then, I may never get around to making positive life choices! And that’s why I needed to kick off 2021 by making a whole bunch of candy.
This recipe began when I noticed a half-full jar of tahini in my fridge. I felt compelled to turn it into halva, because halva is far easier to make than hummus or any other similarly responsible dish. Next to the tahini was a nearly empty jar of miso and, seeing as how miso is one of those “secret ingredients” that turns most foods up to 11, I figured I’d throw that in, too. Normally I like adding a ton of sesame seeds or chopped pistachios to my halva for crunch, but I had neither on hand, and this recipe was all about using up what was already crowding my cabinets. Before I could think of a logical substitution, I was already breaking up a packet of uncooked ramen noodles to toast in sesame oil. Raw ramen has long been my emergency snack when I want chips but don’t have any in the house because I promised myself I’d start eating better. Ramen does not only exist to be soup: it exists to create loopholes through which all your dreams can come true.
- 1 package ramen noodles (just the noodles, not the flavor packet)
- 1-2 tsp. sesame oil
- 1 cup tahini
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. white miso
- 1/3 cup water
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup honey
Use your hands to break the ramen noodles up into tiny pieces and toss with just enough sesame oil to coat. Toast in a hot skillet or in a 400-degree (Fahrenheit) oven until golden brown, about 5-7 minutes.
In a heatproof bowl, stir together the tahini and white miso and set aside. Line the bottom and sides of an 8x8" baking dish, a 9x4" loaf pan, or your smallest cake pan with parchment paper or nonstick foil.
Put the water into a small saucepan, then add the sugar and honey and gently stir until combined. Clip on a candy thermometer and set the pan over high heat; cook without stirring until the syrup reaches the soft ball stage—between 235-245 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the thermometer and slowly stream this mixture into the tahini mixture while stirring gently, then add two-thirds of the toasted ramen. Stir only until combined; if you overbeat the halva it will become chalky.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and spread out evenly using the back of a spoon. Sprinkle the remaining toasted ramen on top and let cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to firm up. Cut the halva into pieces as large as you damn well please.