Ah, ramen: the college meal staple. A necessity, but a rather dull one.
I do have rather fond memories of cooking up instant ramen in my tiny water kettle as a college freshman. But after a semester of having at least one instant ramen meal per week, I was ready for a change. (Also, I was ready for a new water kettle, since it was beginning to reek of chicken-flavored powder.) The ideal change would have been to make more appetizing meals, but I was lacking in a real kitchen and a real budget. The solution? Cheap and easy ramen hacks that will increase the nutritional value of your simple meal (as well as upgrade the taste!).
All of the easy add-ons below require a simple trip to the grocery store (and maybe an extended introduction to the international foods aisle of said grocery store). I’ve outlined the challenge from level:n00b to level:boss, for all you gaming nerds out there. Ready to take on the challenge of upgrading your instant ramen?
image via Serious Eats
If you’re afraid of the kitchen stove (or simply don’t have one), here are various seasonings you can throw into the mix:
1. Miso Paste
2. Chili been sauce
3. Thai curry paste
4. Japanese curry powder
5. Fish sauce
Okay, so you’ve tasted the potential with the seasonings. Now, we should upgrade the nutritional level. Say it with me, vegetables and protein! As ramen ain’t exactly health food, your increasingly doughy freshman 15 body could benefit from a slight nutritional boost.
As you boil your ramen, try the following:
6. Throw in some vegetables!
Quick cooking vegetables (i.e. baby spinach, Romain lettuce, bean sprouts) can be tossed in the boiling water right before you serve it. Longer cooking vegetables (i.e. broccoli and shredded carrots) take some more patience.
7. How about tossing in an egg?
image via Serious Eats
Eggs are cheap and delicious and super easy to add to your dish. Serious Eats says that hard-boiled and soft-boiled eggs are easier than the egg-drop method, but I have mastered the egg-drop method, even as a wee-noob. Who would be scared of just cracking an egg into your boiling ramen and stirring until ready? But I digress. Read the full instructions at Serious Eats.
So you’ve mastered the way of the vegetable and protein add-ons, young grasshopper. It’s now time to go beyond the ramen noodle bowl and transcend to other meals. I know what I said.
8. Chicken Noodle Soup, Ramen Edition
image via My Recipes
If you have mastered vegetable boiling, then this ramen edition of chicken noodle soup should be no problem! Full instructions here.
9. Ramen Noodle Salad
image via Fake Ginger
Toss the seasoning packet and come armed with shredded cabbage, scallions, chili sauce, mayonnaise, lemon juice, a bit of sugar, and sesame seeds, and you’re ready to tackle this marvel. Full instructions here.
So you’ve reached the expert level of ramen hacks. Congratulations, young grasshopper. The next step is to add a little international flair. HackCollege has conveniently done a demo video introducing the following boss-level ramen hacks:
10. Faux Pho
11. Hawaiian Ramen
12. Italian Spaghetti
13. Canadian Poutine
Want to make them? Just watch the instructional video below:
There you have it: 13 ways, from n00b to boss levels, to hack your ramen. You’re welcome.