Ramen will never be the healthiest thing to eat, but it’s definitely cheap.
Even when you go to a real ramen noodle house where they make their own noodles in-house, a great bowl probably won’t cost you more than $5-7. But most people eat packaged instant ramen from the grocery store because they’re short on cash or too lazy to make anything else to eat. For me? It’s comfort food. I love ramen, and I also love experimenting with different ways to make packaged instant ramen tastier.
Here are my 6 favourite ways to turn a cheap meal into a tastier one:
- Add egg. You can add this in a variety of different ways – hardboiled and sliced, soft boiled, fried, poached … but my favourite is the egg-drop method. All you have to do is crack a raw egg into your pot of noodles (or you can lightly beat the egg in a separate small bowl and then pour it into the pot of noodles). Then, swirl and mix the egg, noodles, and broth. As you mix the broth, the egg should start to separate and cook. Delicious!
- Frozen vegetables. Almost all of us have a bag of those mixed frozen veggies siting in our freezer. Toss a cup of them into the broth for an instant flavour boost. I like doing this in combination with adding an egg. :)
- Bok choy or spinach. I love throwing in either bok choy (Chinese cabbage) or spinach into the broth. The spash of green makes the soup more visually appealing, and adding fresh vegetables to a meal is never a bad thing.
- Thinly sliced meat. Think Vietnamese pho soup. You can either throw it into the pot raw (it should be sliced extremely thin – so it cooks in just a few seconds), but it’s probably easier just to chuck any sort of leftover meat like chicken, steak, pork, sausage, and yep, even fish.
- Peanut butter. Yeah this may sound weird – I was really skeptical at first. But if you just stir in a tablespoon of smooth peanut butter (make sure you mix it in good, so that it’s completely blended into the broth), all of a sudden your broth tastes like pad thai! Well, it’s pretty close. And the added dollop of peanut butter will keep you full longer.
- Stir fry. Have you ever tried to stirfry your instant noodles? It’s pretty tasty and a good way to change it up if you’re not feeling like soup. Try cooking some veggies (add meat if you want) in a pan. Then cook the noodles in a pot until they’re almost done. Drain the water out, and add the noodles to the pan. You can use whatever sauce you want. I like cooking the veggies and meat in half the seasoning package, and then sprinkling the other half on the noodles as I’m just about to cook them in the pan.