According to market research, the ramen noodles industry was valued at over four billion US dollars in 2021 and is forecasted to grow. Ramen noodles are now a staple in many households because they’re easy to make and satisfying.
Taking Your Ramen Up a Notch
Besides flavoring, noodles, and water, there’s not much to cooking ramen in the kitchen. However, with a little tweaking, home-cooked ramen noodles can go from “meh” to over-the-top flavor with just an ingredient or two.
Add a Soft-Boiled Egg
Adding a soft-boiled egg to your ramen noodles is an easy way to add protein and flavor to your meal. To make a soft-boiled egg, bring a pot of water to a boil, add an egg, and cook for 6-7 minutes. Once the egg is cooked, remove it from the pot and place it in a bowl of cold water for a few minutes. Peel the egg and add it to your ramen noodles. You can also flavor your boiled eggs first by marinating them in soy sauce or a Korean marinade.
Use Homemade Broth
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommend no more than 2,300mg of sodium a day. One pack of instant ramen, however, contains well over 1,000mg. While the seasoning packets are convenient, they’re not the healthiest. Create your own broth using chicken or vegetable stock, garlic, ginger, and soy sauce instead. Simmer the broth for 30 minutes to an hour and strain it before adding it to your ramen noodles.
Mix in Vegetables
Adding vegetables to your ramen noodles is an easy way to increase the nutritional value of your meal. Toss in some sliced carrots, mushrooms, spinach, or bok choy to your ramen noodles. Simply sauté the vegetables in a pan before adding them to the noodles. For example, bean sprouts, cabbage, or broccoli contribute color and texture.
Add Thinly Sliced Meat
Adding meat to your ramen noodles is another way to add protein and flavor. A bit of sliced chicken, beef, or pork in your ramen noodles makes the dish more filling and flavorful. Simply sauté the meat in a pan before adding it to the noodles. Leftover meat can also find new life as an addition to the next night’s ramen noodles.
Sprinkle Some Hot Sauce
If you like heat, add hot sauce to your ramen noodles. Sriracha, chili oil, or gochujang are all great options for adding a spicy kick to your meal. Chili flakes are also an excellent addition and add to the aesthetic.
Add a Sauce
Soy sauce is a great way to add flavor to your ramen noodles. Try adding a tablespoon of soy sauce to your broth or noodles for a savory, umami flavor. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, you can experiment with other flavors — Asian or otherwise. Miso, Korean barbecue, or oyster sauce are all possible ingredients that can take your ramen to the next level.
Drop in Some Sesame Oil
Sesame oil is another great way to add oomph to your ramen noodles. Mix in a teaspoon of sesame oil to your broth or noodles for a nutty, aromatic flavor. Just remember that a little goes a long way when it comes to sesame oil. Add a couple of drops at a time until you reach the taste you want.
Throw in Some Fresh Herbs
Adding fresh herbs to your ramen noodles is an easy way to add freshness and flavor to your meal. Incorporate chopped cilantro, basil, ginger, or green onions to your noodles for a burst of flavor. Sprinkle the herbs toward the end of cooking to keep them as fresh as possible.
Create Some Crunch
Adding crunchy toppings to your ramen noodles is a great way to add texture and flavor. The addition of sliced almonds, sesame seeds, or crispy fried onions to your noodles can give the dish a satisfying crunch. In Japan, ramen lovers often add fried rice flakes (panko) to add texture to their ramen.
Use Different Noodle Types
While traditional ramen noodles are made from wheat flour, you can use many different types of noodles to make your ramen noodles even better. Try using udon noodles, soba noodles, or even spaghetti noodles for a unique twist on your ramen noodles.
Experiment With Ramen
Instead of ramen soup, you can always fry instant ramen noodles. Soften them with a quick boil, drain the water, and stir-fry them in some oil. Then you can add any sauces or ingredients you want at the end of cooking. Whether you're adding vegetables, meat, herbs, or hot sauce, there are many ways to customize your ramen noodles to your liking.
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