Confession time: sometimes I actually like instant ramen. I don’t consume them frequently, perhaps once a year, but when I’m in the mood, I’m totally not above grabbing a packet of instant noodles and chowing down. Over the years, I’ve discovered 6 simple ways to transform instant ramen so that it might actually be considered a meal AND utilize the leftovers in my kitchen at the same time. I will therefore share them with you today because doing so is a win-win situation.
Yes, the bowl in the picture above contains instant ramen. And those upgrades were pretty inexpensive.
Obviously, the best way to improve instant ramen is to simply purchase real ramen (from a restaurant or high-quality noodles from an Asian grocery store), but that isn’t the topic of today’s discussion.
We’re talking about situations where your only choice—or your preferred choice—is to eat the reasonably priced little packets of ramen that are available in almost any grocery or convenience store. So, when you only have that, here’s how to dress up your bowl of ramen with some flavor!
With ingredients that don’t need any additional cooking, upgrading a bowl of instant noodles is the quickest and easiest. Im talking simple sauces and condiments like:
This is especially easy for me to do because I am a condiment hoarder (I have a whole double-layered shelf of my fridge, plus the entire door and a full pantry cabinet devoted to them). The key is to avoid using too many flavors that compete with one another. I frequently commit this error following extended nights out, thinking that more is always better when it comes to hangover remedies. Not the case. Keep it simple. Keep in mind that you should omit some of the seasoning packet if you’re using a salty condiment. You can also add:
- Try adding spices to the finished dish like white pepper, sichuan pepper, or chili flakes, or try simmering the broth with a cinnamon stick, star anise, and coriander seeds (remove them before serving!).
- Toasted sesame oil, chili oil, or an animal fat (pork, chicken, or duck are all fantastic) are good examples of fats.
- Lemon or lime juice squeezed quickly just before serving can do much to brighten flavors.
But imagine this scenario: youre in college, the power went out in your dorm room, and you obviously had no choice but to finish all the beer in the fridge rather than let it warm up. Youre hungry, but you cant use the water kettle. Keanu Reeves pops up in your brain and asks: What do you do? What do you do?
The solution is to simply break up the noodles in the bag, rip off a corner, add the seasoning packet, hold the ripped corner, and shake it up before eating. Lick your fingers clean after this one. It’s similar to eating Cheetos, but with delicious fingers that have “Oriental flavor” rather than “orange cheeze.” “.
Lets face it: Ramen aint health food. But adding some roughage to your starch is fairly easy.
- Just before serving, stir in quick-cooking vegetables like baby spinach, romaine lettuce, bean sprouts, thinly sliced cabbage, watercress, and scallions (among others). They should wilt in a matter of seconds.
- As the noodles cook, longer-cooking vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, snap peas, snow peas, shredded carrots, and anything else your heart desires can be added. I have faith in you, young grasshopper, even though it might take a little wrangling to get the timing just right.
- Vegetables from the freezer can be excellent; in particular, corn and peas do well (often much better than their fresh counterparts!) Running them under hot water straight from the faucet for around 30 seconds helps me to defrost them. Then, just before serving, they can be drained and added right to the hot soup.
Ramen consists primarily of starch and fat; in the majority of low-cost varieties, the noodles are deep-fried to remove moisture. Eggs are inexpensive, delicious, and, in most cases, can be cooked directly in the same pot as the noodles or the broth, so why not add some extra protein? Here are a few simple ways to do it. Ramen-eggs are divided into five levels by the World Society for Ramen Egg Cookery, which I founded, chair, and am the only member of. It is not advisable to attempt a higher level process until all lower level processes have been completed.
- The simplest food to prepare is hard boiled eggs. To begin, add the eggs to a pot of cold water, bring it to a boil, and then add your noodles. In roughly the same amount of time that it takes to fully cook the ramen, the egg should be hard boiled to perfection.
- Level 2: Soft boiled eggs are a little more difficult because they take longer to prepare. Once the water has reached a full boil, add the eggs, set a timer for three minutes, or five minutes, for a fully set white and semi-liquid yolk. As I eat the eggs, I like to crack them open and whisk the yolk into the broth.
- Level 3: Using the egg-drop technique, you can make tiny egg curds that float in the broth and cover your noodles. Lightly beat an egg in a small bowl. When your noodles are done cooking, gently stir the hot broth and noodles together in the pot. Add the beaten egg gradually while the broth is stirring. It should set into fine ribbons.
- Just cook the noodles until they’ve just begun to separate from one another (about halfway through their total cooking time), remove the pot from the heat, crack an uncooked egg into the center, cover the pot, and let the entire thing sit for a few minutes until both the noodles and eggs are cooked.
- Level 5: A second pan and heat source are necessary for frying eggs. This is extremely advanced material and should not be touched until you are proficient in all first-level egg techniques. **.
**Not really. Its still pretty darn easy.
Simple Simmered Meat
Meats that have been thinly sliced can be cooked instantly in the pot. Great candidates include chicken breast, flank steak, and pork tenderloin. When the noodles are simmering, I like to pick up the pieces one at a time and swish them back and forth in the hot broth until the meat is cooked. I then set the cooked meat aside and top it off just before serving. Great options include cooked meats like leftover chicken or steak, hot dogs, and cured meats like ham or bacon. While your noodles are cooking, mix in some beef jerky that has been shred. It gives the broth a nice smoky saltiness and creates a really delicious tender-chewy texture.
And thats about it for the basics of ramen cookery. Once you’ve mastered all the straightforward techniques, upgrading your noodles just requires combining different methods to produce mouthwatering results. The most prevalent are ramenified, streamlined versions of traditional East Asian dishes. A bowl of noodles can be quickly transformed into a delicious Faux Pho (shown above) by adding a dash of fish sauce and lime juice along with some beef and herbs. You can quickly prepare Tom Kha Goong in the Thai style by adding some shrimp and coconut milk.
You can even prepare drier stir-fried or cold noodle dishes with caution. The key here is to drain the ramen after it has just barely finished cooking. If you stir-fry it or add hot sauce, the residual heat will cause it to continue to cook and soften a little more. The objective with any stir-fry is to heat the pan to the proper temperature before adding the ingredients so that everything sears quickly and nothing overcooks or mutes. I enjoy using a portion of the seasoning packet as a marinade for my meat when I stir-fry ramen. Before adding the noodles and any desired sauce (plain old oyster sauce with a touch of sesame oil is an easy crowd-pleaser), cook the meat and vegetables in a hot skillet with oil. I enjoy the straightforward pairing of flank steak and snap peas.
This method is also used in fake ramen-based Pad Thai, which uses fish sauce, peanuts, vegetables, and a hint of lime and tamarind paste (if you have it) to create a quick, simple stir-fry that is actually superior to most of the overly sweet, gloppy food you get from subpar Thai restaurants. If you handle things properly, no one will be able to tell that your ramen is wearing a new Thai hat.
“Instant luau—just add hot water!”
Spam, pineapple, and a fried egg are combined in Aloha Ramen! to create an extremely traditional and authentic Polynesian island flavor. Peanut butter and coconut make a great chilled ramen salad, and by putting together a straightforward ketchup and pineapple-based sweet, you can channel your inner Chinese-American steam table.
For more complete instructions, click through this slideshow.
Of course, theres no reason to stay in Asia here. Ramen takes well to Western flavors as well. Why not try some cheesy chili ramen or a dish resembling poutine made with toasted raw ramen, gravy, and mozzarella? (Use real curd for authenticity’s sake, or just use the shredded stuff if you prefer.) (For a Ramac, combine cooked ramen with a straightforward, gooey cheese sauce (see our recipe here), or, if you’d prefer, just a block of microwaved Velveeta that has been thinned out with a little water.
Ramen tacos are here to replace Spaghetti tacos, which were once popular. A standard American taco kit’s beef filling can be given extra bulk, texture, and fun by adding a pack of crunched-up ramen noodles. (Yes, fun deserves an exclamation point!) Go Go Ramacos!.
Canned soups can be bulked up nicely with instant ramen. My preferred method for creating an instant sweet and smoky corn chowder from simmering ramen is to add a can of creamed corn, some sliced bacon, and possibly a shot of heavy cream or milk. Cream of mushroom, onion, or anything else you like will work as well. This sophisticated soup from a more civilized era is finished with a garnish of freshly chopped scallions. Put on a jacket and avoid letting your tie touch the bowl
But for the pinnacle of fusion comfort food, cottage pie or shepherd’s pie topped with Ramen are the way to go. Making mashed potatoes, even for such a straightforward dish, can be a real pain. Instead of using pie crust, why not just boil some noodles? Under the broiler, the top of the noodles dry out and become super-crisp, while the noodles underneath remain tender. It has a distinctively delicious textural contrast that, in my opinion, can unite people from all over the world.
Of course, were barely scratching the surface here. Ramen may be one of the more affordable grocery items, but with a little creativity and cross-cultural, cross-class love, it can also be one of the most adaptable pantry staples.
For more recipes and inspiration, view the slideshow. Then, let me know how you fancify your ramen.
How to make JAPANESE BEEF RAMEN SOUP | Cook with us
What goes good in beef ramen?
Here is our list of traditional ramen toppings without further ado:Bok Choy First up, Bok choy. Chashu. Braised (or simmered) pork is known as “chashu,” and it is a very popular addition to many ramen noodle bowls. Dried Seaweed. Mushrooms. Corn. Butter. Peanuts. Pickled ginger.
How do you enhance beef ramen?
Here are some things to add to ramen:Sriracha. Kimchi. Sesame seeds. Crumbled bacon. Nori (dried seaweed)Fresh herbs (cilantro, Thai basil, chives)Sesame oil. Crushed chiles.
What goes with beef ramen noodles?
The best side dishes to serve with ramen are egg rolls, fried rice, shrimp fried rice, bok choy, chicken dumplings, chicken paprikash, crispy tofu, buffalo chicken dip, teriyaki chicken, Ling Ling potstickers, kimchi, Chinese tea eggs, spicy cucumber salad, grilled fish, and chicken tempura if you’re looking for a quick answer.
What sauce to add to beef ramen?
According to Yamashita, sriracha, Tabasco, chili oil, and chili crisp are some of the more well-known spicy ramen sauces in Japan. Soy sauce. Chili crisp. Chili oil. Tabasco and sriracha. Oyster Sauce. Hoisin. Fish Sauce. Sambal.