Ah, instant noodles, you’ll surely agree that it’s an essential item in hostels and homes across the world. Based on the traditional Japanese dish, packets or pots of instant ramen consist of dehydrated noodles and sachet or two of salty flavoring. This budget-friendly delight can be more versatile than you think and can easily transform when you figure out how to spice up ramen in creative ways. All you need is some basic ingredients; no need to break the bank!
How to spice up ramen with egg
Adding egg to ramen instantly ramps up the flavor and nutritional value, packing in a protein punch. A fun way to do this is to crack a raw egg straight into your steaming hot noodles. If you are cooking the noodles on the stovetop, you can add the egg near the end of the cooking time.
Add it straight to the broth that the noodles are cooking in, or if the broth is very salty, you may choose to first remove some of the broth. The egg typically won’t take long to cook using this method because the pot, the noodles, and the broth are extremely hot. If you’re making the noodles in the microwave, you can follow the same method, or you may opt to first beat the egg before adding it to the broth.
This is a fun meal and you can play around until you find the method that you enjoy the most. As an alternative to a raw egg, you can also add a scrambled, fried, poached, or boiled egg to your noodles.
Spice up ramen Thai-style with peanut butter
If you haven’t already tried this, you will either love it or hate it! To get a nutty flavor reminiscent of Pad-Thai, throw out the flavor sachet that came with your noodles, or maybe only use half of it. Cook the noodles as usual and drain some of the liquid. Add a few dollops of peanut butter (sweetened and salted for extra oomph) to the noodles and watch it melt as you stir it in.
Furthermore, you can get creative as you wish to turn the noodles into a well-rounded Thai-inspired dish. You could throw in some chicken, prawns, stir-fried mushrooms, scallions and season with some sesame oil, soya sauce, garlic, ginger, chili, sesame seeds, crushed peanuts, fresh bean sprouts, squeezed lime, and fresh coriander.
Pizza instant noodles
Italian meets Asian in a fusion of pizza toppings and instant noodles. Grate some Mozzarella cheese and set it aside. Fry some chopped mushrooms, olives, and cubed pieces of bacon. Add some ready-made tomato pesto.
Cook your ramen noodles as you usually would, with or without the seasoning or with only half the seasoning. Drain the noodles and add the pizza mix topping mixture and Mozzarella cheese. Over the top, you could garnish with some fresh chopped basil and grated Parmesan cheese. Et viola! Bet you never thought you could spice up ramen like that!
Egg and bacon breakfast noodles
Who needs toast when noodles can make a creative starch complement to your English breakfast? Prepare your eggs as you like them – sunny side up works well. Fry some cubed bacon until it’s nice and crispy. In the meantime, prepare your noodles as you normally would.
Now you have a choice, you can either drain the noodles partially or fully. Plate the noodles. Sprinkle the crispy-fried bacon bits on top, and lower your sunny-side up fried egg on top, sunny-side down! Poke through the yolk with a knife so that the runny egg yellow drains into the noodles. Serve with dollops of tomato sauce.
Cold sushi ramen noodles
All your food fantasies can come true with a fusion of sushi and ramen. You’ll need some diced ripe avocado pear, sliced cucumber, dried seaweed sheets (nori) cut or torn into pieces, and a seafood protein if desired.
To season, you’ll want some soya sauce, sesame seeds, pickled ginger, and wasabi paste. Cook your noodles as you normally would. It’s your choice to use the seasoning or not. To achieve cold noodles, it’s best to rinse them under cold water until cool.
Transfer the cool noodles to a bowl and add the avocado pear slices, cucumber, seafood if using, and mix it all together. Sprinkle the nori bits over the top. Make a dressing with soya sauce, sesame seeds, and wasabi to your taste. Drizzle the dressing over the noodles and add some pickled ginger pieces over the top. Bon appétit!
DIY Healthy instant noodle cups
The whole idea behind noodle cups or noodle pots is that you put the different parts of noodle soup (except the broth) into a wide Mason jar. Once you’re ready to eat, you pour kettle-boiled water over the top. Once it’s heated up, your meal is ready! You can prepare jars like this in advance and keep them in the fridge.
To compose your noodle cup, place the flavor base in the bottom of the cup (the contents of the noodle flavoring sachet) and any other flavoring ingredients that you fancy. Next, add your dry ramen noodles, broken up into small chunks.
Next, layer the filler ingredients from the biggest to the smallest size on top: frozen carrots, frozen corn, frozen peas, cooked meat, and cubes of hard-boiled egg, diced tofu, dried mushrooms, and thinly sliced spinach. Put the lid on and store in the fridge until you’re hungry. Pour some boiling water from the kettle into the pot and put on the lid. Wait for two minutes, remove the lid, stir, and enjoy. Who ever thought that you spice up ramen in such a healthy and creative way!
Dry instant noodle garnish
Instant noodles come pre-cooked, after all, so why not try using them uncooked to add some texture to a dish? While the instant noodles are still in their sealed packet, gently crush them with your hands so that each piece of noodle is barely 0.3 inches long. You can discard the seasoning sachet or save it for something else. Use the dry instant noodles for any savory food that needs a little crunchy texture. It could be regular pasta, curry, or salad.