Ramen has come quite a long way from its origins as a Japanese noodle soup that consists of wheat noodles served in a meat-based broth, flavoured with soy sauce or miso, and topped with delicious toppings like sliced pork belly, nori (dried seaweed), and scallions. Nowadays you can buy instant ramen noodle packets from any store and it’s arguably more convenient than going to a restaurant, especially if you’re a student who is busy studying.
Now it’s a bit of a cliché but there’s a reason why students love instant ramen – it’s delicious, easy, cheap, and there’s no shortage of great instant ramen brands in Australia. You can’t go wrong with instant ramen packets like:
- Mi Goreng Instant Noodles
- Nissin Ramen Instant Noodle Kyushu Tonkotsu Flavour
- Prima Taste Singapore Laksa La Mian
- Shin Ramyun Noodle Soup Gourmet Spicy
- Instant Noodles Shrimp Creamy Tom Yum
As good as all the aforementioned instant ramen packets are, you can improve your meal dramatically with just a little bit of extra effort. So without further ado, here are some quick and easy hacks to improve your instant ramen.
- Condiments and sauces
Most instant ramen packets come with it own sauces or condiments, but you can drastically upgrade your meal by simply adding in condiments you may have in your kitchen. Stuff like miso paste, chilli bean paste, curry powder, fish sauce, or sesame oil goes a long way in improving your meal. Hell, even just a dash of pepper and chilli flakes will do the trick.
- Add an egg
Balance out all that starch and far with some protein by adding an egg to your instant ramen. But don’t just crack a raw egg over your meal and call it done though. Try methods like hard or soft boiling your eggs, poaching them, or the good ol’ fashion fried egg.
- Greens and vegetables
Let’s be honest, instant ramen isn’t exactly healthy. But you can offset that a bit quite easily by adding in a few vegetables and greens. Throw in some quick-cooking vegetables like spinach, bean sprouts, sliced cabbage, scallions or watercress to add a bit of green to your ramen. If you’re willing to put in a bit more time and effort, you can prepare some vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, snow peas or carrots instead. Frozen vegetables also work just as well.
If you want that extra bit of spicy kick and flavour, we suggest adding in some kimchi, the traditional Korean side dish that’s made from pickled and fermented vegetables.
- Add some meat
Traditional tonkatsu ramen (ramen served in pork bone based broth) comes with chashu, which is braised pork belly. Now cooking chashu takes a little bit of time and effort but the results are worth it as it’s delicious.
If you can’t be bothered, cured meats like bacon or ham work just as well and is much easier. Chicken breast, pork tenderloin, and diced beef also work well if you’re willing to cook those up before preparing your ramen.
- Use broth instead of water
Instant ramen usually involves one simple step: add boiling water and wait. But you can change things up by using beef or chicken broth instead. Just boil up some broth instead of water and you’re good to go. Not only is it just as easy but your ramen will taste far better if you used broth instead of boring old water.
- All of the above
Exactly as it says on the, uh, packet. Why stop at just an egg when you can add a whole range of condiments, sauces, greens, and meats?