Three Ways to Make Ramen Better

Hello everyone! Today, I’m telling y’all how to make ramen taste good with little fuss. It doesn’t matter how old you are or where your life is, Ramen Noodles are a masterpiece and everyone should try them at least once. I’ve loved ramen since I was a little kid, and I still eat it from time to time if I’m having an “I don’t feel like cooking” day.

Making them according to package directions is fine, but if you’re like me, you get bored with the standard stuff. Over the years, I’ve found ways to make it taste extra delicious with not a lot of extra steps. The three variations I’m talking about today range from can barely boil water easy to basic cooking level easy. Anyone can make ramen!

(Just so y’all know, I’m basing these three variations on using Chicken Flavor Maruchan Ramen, because I honestly only like the chicken flavor. I’m sure you can use whatever flavor you want, but I can’t promise they’ll taste the same!)

Skill Level: This is the first meal you’ve ever cooked easy

When I was a kid experimenting with flavor after school, I would look at the spice shelf my dad had in our kitchen and wonder: what could I dump into this pot to make my meal taste good? I put so many spices and herbs into my ramen over the years. Some were delicious combinations! Others tasted like dirt. It’s 100% trial and error. If you have random spices in your pantry, you can easily make your ramen taste just a little more special.

  • Boil some water in a pot (I don’t like my ramen too brothy, so I only put 1 1/2 cups of water in, but feel free to go by the package directions)
  • While the water is getting hot, look around your kitchen. What spices do you have? You have any herbs in there? Pick some that stand out to you, and that you know/think will taste well together. My go-to has always been Italian seasoning (oregano, thyme, sage, basil, and rosemary) with a couple shakes of Tony’s Cajun Seasoning for a kick. Sometimes I’ll throw a bay leaf in there (take it out before eating!).
  • I don’t measure my seasonings, I just go with however much looks good. Follow your heart and slam dunk them seasonings into your boiling water. Let it boil while you struggle to open the ramen packet (is it just me, or are they a little difficult to open? I think it’s just me).
  • Toss your noodles in the water, and add the flavor packet now instead of later. I like to add mine with the noodles as they cook because in theory, it infuses the noodles with flavor. I’m not sure if that is what’s happening, but that’s what I’ve always thought. If you don’t want to add the flavor packet, you can add a bouillon cube for basically the same flavor, just about half the sodium.
  • Cook according to the package and when it’s done, throw your food in a bowl and eat it! If it’s not flavorful enough, add more next time. If it’s too flavorful, add less next time. It’s a fun learning process, especially if you’re trying new flavors and learning how to cook.

Skill Level: You’ve been cooking for like 6 months easy

This recipe is something that I didn’t think of until I was an older teenager. I wanted something savory, peanut buttery, and something with texture. This is what I came up with after a lot of trial and error!

You’ll need:

  • Ramen
  • Soy Sauce
  • Sriracha
  • Peanut Butter (I always use crunchy, but feel free to use creamy)
  • 1/4 of a lime (or a good squirt/pour of lime juice if you don’t have a fresh lime)
  • A couple of green onions
  • Sesame seeds
  • If you’d like to add meat or tofu, cook it to your liking first then add it at the end!

Here’s how to make Easy Pad Thai!

  • Use about 1/2 the water that the package wants you to use. Add 2–3 glugs of soy sauce (any more and it’ll be too salty!).
  • While the water gets up to temp, slice your green onions up and set them aside. Same with your lime!
  • When the water starts boiling, throw your noodles in there, along with a healthy squirt of sriracha. If you’re using the flavor packet, throw about 1/2 of it in there. You can also use a bouillon cube for less salt.
  • Stir it around for a few minutes until the water starts to evaporate. If you lose too much water, throw a splash or two in there to hydrate the flavors again. You’ll want the noodles to be a lil thicc before moving on.
  • Once the noodles are a little overcooked (aka they look a tiny bit goopy), take your pot off the heat and add a healthy scoop of peanut butter. I’m talking big spoon, big scoop. I love me some PB, but if you don’t want a shit ton like I do, follow your heart and use however much PB you want. I do suggest using at least one good spoonful though!
  • Put it in a bowl and add the green onions and sesame seeds (and meat/tofu if you are so inclined) then take your lime and squeeze the limey goodness onto the food!

If you need more flavor, add some more soy sauce, sriracha, and/or lime, depending on what it’s missing.

Skill Level: You can kind of replicate other people’s food easy

I love going out to get Ramen from Japanese restaurants. Unfortunately, it’s super expensive most of the time!! So I thought to myself: how can I replicate this ramen experience at home?

After doing lots of research on Pinterest, I found a method that I like. It’s easy and not exactly the same as what you’d pay for, but it’s so delicious!

You’ll need:

  • Ramen (you can throw away the flavor packet, or save it for later. Either way, we’re not using it!)
  • Egg (get a bowl of ice water for it; I always forget that crucial step)
  • Ham (I usually use the prepackaged ham that people use for sandwiches, but if you have leftovers from a holiday, use that!! Also, you can substitute any thinly sliced meat. I just really like ham.)
  • Soy sauce
  • Mirin (you can find it in the International section of your grocery store)
  • Dashi stock (you can find it at your local Asian supermarket. I use this for the broth, but there are other options for ramen broth. I highly suggest looking into making your own if you have the time/resources!)
  • Various garnishes (green onion, sesame seeds, bamboo shoots, furikake…use your imagination and your taste buds and see what sounds good!)

There are two parts to this recipe. Let’s start with the egg!

  • Boil some water in a pot. While the water is getting hot, mix together the soy sauce and the mirin and pour it into a Ziplock bag. I don’t measure it, but a 70/30 soy sauce/mirin mix is close to what tastes good in my opinion.
  • Soft boil your egg (about 6–8 mins). I like mine a little runny! If you like your egg a little harder, leave it in the boiling water for longer. Just don’t make it a hard boiled egg!
  • Once your egg is boiled, gently set it into the ice water bath to stop it from cooking. Once it’s cooled off enough to handle, begin the Peeling Process. I have no tips for this part. Peeling eggs is a struggle 10/10 times.
  • When you overcome the Peeling Struggle, put the egg into the soy sauce/mirin bag. Let it marinate for a while in the fridge. If you planned on making your Ramen today, maybe go with the other two options…marinating the egg should take (at least) 3–5 hours. I’m notorious for forgetting about the egg until the next day. I honestly think it tastes perfect the longer I forget about it!

So you have your delicious egg. Now it’s time to make the ramen!

  • Cut up your meat. If you’ve bought prepackaged deli meat, just rip it into strips. If you’re using leftover holiday ham, slice it into strips (holiday ham is thicker so I like to cut it thinner). If you’re cooking your meat from raw (say, beef or chicken), go ahead and cook it now.
  • Get everything ready to garnish by slicing up any veggies and such, then putting them off to the side. I like to seperate everything in little bowls (mise en place, y’all), but you don’t HAVE to. As long as it’s within reach for when the ramen is ready, you’re fine. The only thing you should wait to cut is your egg (don’t forget the egg in the fridge!)
  • Heat up some water in a saucepan (follow package measurements for this one). Get your dashi stock and measure out however much you’d like. Depending on the brand, the amount on the package might match how much water you’ll need for the Ramen. My brand doesn’t, and it tells me to use way more than I need for my bowl. I tend to go with about a tablespoon of dashi for my ramen, but taste the broth before throwing the noodles in just in case it tastes off!
  • Once the water is boiling and the stock has disintegrated, throw in your noodles. Cook according to package directions. Discard the flavor packet if you haven’t already…we don’t need it!
  • When your noodles are cooked, pour your ramen into a big bowl. Take your egg and slice it in half (CAREFULLY. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve ruined a soft boiled egg by slicing it too fast or with too big of a knife). Put your runny delicious egg into the broth, off to the side of the bowl.
  • Start decorating your ramen bowl with your garnishes. I like to put my ham in the middle and all the veggies and the egg surrounding it, but do what looks good to you!

And that’s it! Obviously, professional ramen will taste different. There’s lots of different ingredients they have that you might not be able to find. However! That shouldn’t stop you from trying to replicate your favorite bowl from your favorite ramen shop!

Explore your local Asian supermarkets. Ask the people at your restaurant what they use (if they’re willing to share their secrets!). Have a store clerk help you find something that will taste amazing. Part of cooking in general is trial and error. It’s fun to mix and match new things to eat! Embrace the unknown and try to perfect your own Ramen bowl!

I hope you guys will try some of these ramen recipes! As you can see, there are no pictures of any of the recipes. I’ve been working on this post since January, perfecting each recipe to make sure you guys get the best of the best from my brain. Along the way, I kind of forgot to take pictures…!

Instead of hastily trying to get pictures of my own food, I had an idea; if you attempt any of these recipes, feel free to send some pictures of your food my way! I’ll feature them at the end of a blog post (whether it’s next week or next year, depending on how many of you send me food pictures!), and I’ll come back to this post and display your food as the prime example of a delicious bowl of ramen!

If you’re interested in that idea, please feel free to send your pictures to my Twitter DMs/mentions. I’d love to see how you guys interpret my goofy directions! And while you’re on Twitter, feel free to follow me for blog updates and daily goofs.

Lastly, if you haven’t been signing petitions for Black lives, what are you even doing?! Head on over to this site to find ways to help by donating, signing petitions, and educating yourself and others on how to break the cycle of systemic racism in not only America, but all over the world. Your BIPOC friends and family thank you for taking the time to do so.

I’ll see everyone next week for the Month’s End post! Try out these three recipes and let me know what you think!!

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