Ramen – it is the staple of penny-pinchers around the world. A good bowl of ramen is a great way to warm up a chilly day or just to eat something quick before going out. However, let’s be honest, instant ramen noodles leave a little something to be desired. After all, they are just noodles in broth. Yet, noodles in broth have so many different possibilities. What can you do to up your ramen game?
1. Top it with an Egg
Slip on a fried egg, top with slices of a hardboiled egg, stir it in scrambled, or just crack one in while it is boiling – what isn’t made better with an egg on top? Not only does the egg flavor the ramen with its yolky goodness, but the ramen flavors the egg with its broth.
2. Switch out the Broth with Miso
Those little broth packets get all their flavor from massive doses of salt. You know what hosts a similarly salty flavor, but is actually better for you? Miso paste. Miso paste is made from fermented soybeans, but don’t let that put you off. It is packed full of B vitamins and protein. Not only does it give ramen a unique depth of flavor, but it makes your instant noodles more authentic.
3. Add Protein
Ramen isn’t the most solid food in the world, but when you add in some protein, it becomes a huge source of long-lasting energy. Try some stir-fried tofu or teriyaki chicken. If you have a flavorful broth made, try boiling some thin slices of beef or pork with the noodles. They cook quickly and take on the great flavor of the broth.
Of course, that all sounds pretty expensive. Adding protein to your ramen doesn’t need to be expensive. You can simply add cheap meats like hot dogs or fried spam as well.
4. Add Some Spice
Are your sinuses all stuffed up? The steam from the ramen and the heat of the broth can help sort it out, but for some extra power, add in something spicy. It can be something as simple as tipping in your favorite hot sauce to something a bit more complex like boiling a few chilies in with the noodles. Spice can be an excellent way to re-invent that same old boring bowl of noodles.
5. Add in Fresh Herbs
Ramen, like most dishes, really flourishes with a dash of freshness. The most popular fresh addition to ramen is green onions, but there are many herb options you can try. Try adding cilantro, mint, dill, or even some basil pesto. All of those herbs can significantly alter the flavor of ramen to make it taste like a whole new dish.
6. Finish it with Oil
You definitely should not pour a big dose of vegetable oil into your ramen. When someone suggests you finish a dish with oil, they are talking about flavored oil like sesame or chili oil. Just give the top of your ramen a quick drizzle of chili oil for spice or sesame oil for a robust nutty flavor.
7. Tip Just About Anything In
The great thing about ramen is that it is really, really hard to make it wrong. Honestly, you can tip a little bit of this-or-that in and usually it turns out pretty good. Ingredients that you should try adding to your ramen broth include:
- Rice Vinegar
- Soy Sauce
- Fish Sauce
- Curry Paste
- Star Anise
Naturally, this doesn’t mean that if you put all of the above into your instant noodles that it will be awesome. You need to add ingredients that pair together. Cinnamon, star anise, and coriander go well together, but would not flourish with a robust flavor like fish or soy sauce. However, a little experimentation never hurt anyone when your noodles are ten cents per packet.