A good bowl of ramen can be one hell of a satiating meal, even if it can be a bit messy to eat, whether you're a penny-pinching college student or simply someone who appreciates the beauty of eating cheap. The pack of dehydrated noodles may perplex ramen newcomers, but the dish never disappoints. It's difficult to resist a warm bowl of noodles that cooks in seconds — but, let's be honest, simply adding hot water and spices to your noodles doesn't do them justice. So, here are some tips that will definitely spice up your basic ramen.
Stir in miso paste, chilli bean sauce, Thai curry paste, Japanese curry powder, fish sauce, or vinegar to quickly enhance the flavour of any bowl of ramen. If you're using a salty condiment, leave out about half of the seasoning packet. You can also add spices (such as white pepper, sichuan pepper, or chilli flakes), oils (such as sesame oil or chilli oil), or citrus juice (lemon or lime).
Crack an egg in it
Eggs are one of the most versatile ingredients. The simplest method is to place the eggs in cold water before beginning to cook. Bring the water to a boil, then add the noodles and cook for a minute or two. If everything is timed correctly, the eggs will be hard (or soft) boiled just as the noodles finish cooking. You can also cook the noodles, stir in a beaten egg, or cook the noodles, remove them from the heat, and place an egg in the centre. Allow the egg to poach for 2 minutes before adding the seasoning and serving. To enrich the broth, stir in the semi-liquid yolk.
Add vegetables like baby spinach, sliced cabbage, or frozen peas after the noodles have finished cooking. Some vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, or thick snap peas, can be added to the pot about 2 minutes before it is finished boiling.
Sweet & sour ramen
It's tacky, bright red, and made with ketchup, but delicious. Cook the ramen until it breaks apart, then drain and set aside. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a wok or skillet and stir-fry some bell pepper with a few chunks of spam until everything is hot (or, if you prefer, some pork or chicken pieces). To taste, add a small can of pineapple chunks and juice, a half cup of ketchup, and chilli-garlic sauce. Toss with the noodles and serve with irony on the side.
Cheesy Chili Ramen
This is the obvious first step into the realm of fusion ramen. Following Cincinnati's footsteps, the noodles are simply cooked, drained, and topped with a ladle of chilli.
Top off your ramen with dried seaweed
Ramen restaurants frequently serve a gourmet bowl of noodles topped with a sheet of dried seaweed called nori. For a salty crunch, crumble some seaweed sheets in your own bowl.
Add some kimchi for a salty, spicy flavour
Kimchi is a traditional Korean side dish made from fermented and pickled vegetables. Simply add some kimchi to your prepared bowl of ramen for a spicy and salty flavour boost. You should be able to find premade kimchi at the grocery store, particularly cabbage kimchi, which is the most common type, but a Korean supermarket will most likely have more options.
For a Thai-inspired dish, try adding peanut butter
Cook the noodles according to package directions, but leave out the flavour packet for a nutty, Thai-inspired ramen hack. Instead, combine sesame oil, peanut butter, honey, soy sauce, rice vinegar, garlic, and ginger in a mixing bowl and drizzle it over the hot noodles. To add even more flavour, mix in chopped scallions and sesame seeds.