Written By: Olivia and M.
We’ve all heard the stereotype of the poor college student subsisting on nothing but instant ramen. It exists for a reason. Packaged ramen is cheap, quick, easy, and for the most part, delicious.
But what if there was a way to make instant noodles even more delicious with just a few extra steps?
Today we’re here to do just that by sharing a few tips to make instant ramen even better. Though most of these ideas diminish the “instant-ness” of instant noodles, we’ve found that they make up for it with extra tastiness.
What We Did:
- Boil bones to produce some tasty broth.
- This process takes about four hours. While it seems like a lot, it is passive time. Go watch some Netflix while your Ramen is being made.
- Be sure to taste and season it! We ended up adding salt and cayenne.
- Dispose of the bones when you’re done.
- Boil the instant noodles in the bone broth.
- Important: we didn’t use the packaged broth at all!
- Add an egg while the noodles are boiling.
- Place directly in broth — you’ll get a nice boiled egg for your ramen.
- Chop up some leftover pork, some seaweed sheets, and green onion
- Pour the broth and noodles into a bowl.
- Add pork, seaweed, green onion. Sprinkle some sesame seeds atop.
- Peel the egg and cut in half (for added presentation).
What’s Great About This Dish:
We did not follow a recipe or have something specific in mind. In fact, everything was made using just leftovers. That’s what makes this so great: it is only as difficult and time consuming as you want it to be.
It’s entirely up to you what tips and tricks you add to your ramen. Whether you wish to use the packaged broth or make everything including the noodles from scratch is up to you.
That being said, here are some tricks that we recommend:
- Put an egg in it
To make your noodles even more filling, we recommend adding an egg. If you’re pressed for time, it’s as simple as dropping an egg into the water as its boiling for 6 minutes. A classic soft-boiled egg.
With a little more effort, you can crack the egg open into the boiling water during the last few minutes of cooktime. Scramble it up for a simple version of eggdrop noodle soup.
If you’re even more motivated, you can boil the egg the night before you intend to make ramen. Then, soak the peeled egg overnight in your chosen combination of soy sauce, sesame oil, mirin and chili paste. The result is a delicious marinated egg you can drop right into your ramen the next day.
- Add some extra protein
If you have any leftover meat, it’s simple to cut it into slices to add to your ramen. Leftover pork, chicken or beef is especially good for this.
Even easier is to cube up some firm tofu to throw into the ramen broth as it’s cooking. With a bit of foresight, you can even marinate or fry the tofu in some soy sauce beforehand for added flavour.
- Season it
There are so many different seasonings you can get creative with in just seconds. For example, pouring in a few drops of soy sauce, sesame oil or hot sauce will add some extra kick instantly.
If you have some fresh garlic or ginger on hand, grating them into the broth as it’s cooking will add some depth to its taste. Even adding a teaspoon of garlic or ginger powder yields a more interesting broth.
For extra freshness, you can finely chop some green onions to add to the ramen. There’s an infinite number of different flavours you can use to season the broth so don’t be afraid to experiment.
- Make it green
Most ramen packages are lacking in a very important area, being that they don’t include vegetables. Luckily, we can fix that.
Add some fresh or frozen chopped vegetables to the liquid. Good options are bean sprouts, mushrooms or broccoli. If the vegetables are fresh, just remember to add them to the water before the noodles since they’ll take more time to cook. Softer vegetables, like spinach, should be added in the last few minutes of cooking.
- Switch up the broth
One of our favourite tips to improve instant ramen is to ditch the included broth packet.
Instead of the dried broth, you have many options. You could add a few teaspoons of miso paste to the water for an easy miso broth. If you have any prepackaged broth that you prefer, you could also use that as a substitute.
An even better but longer option is to make bone broth ahead of time to use in the ramen. You could do this by boiling pork bones in water for a few hours and use that as a ramen broth.
- Use extra toppings
There’s so many combinations of toppings you can add to your standard ramen. We love adding dried nori sheets and sesame seeds. Try to find a new combination that you enjoy. Your creativity is the only limit here.
As you can see, there are many ways you can customize instant ramen without losing too much of its convenience.
As per usual, we evaluated our tips based on our edibility pillars. Here’s what we found:
- Taste: 4/5
With so many customization options, you can make instant ramen pretty tasty. At the end of the day, it’s always just going to be instant ramen, though.
- Nutrition: 1.5/5
Even though you can change the ramen base up to make it more healthy, the noodles are not that nutritious and the dish will generally have high sodium.
- Speed: 3.5/5
Instant ramen is pretty fast to make, but after our recommendations it might take a bit more time.
- Affordability: 5/5
Instant ramen packs are usually pretty cheap in most grocery stores. It’s up to you how expensive it gets based on the modifications you make.
- Easiness: 3.5/5
Instant ramen is quite easy to make, but our additions make it a little more complex.