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Instant Ramen Hacks: How To Make Ramen at Home Like a Pro

By Jamila Brown
June 09, 2021

Ramen is a staple of Japanese cuisine. While there’s nothing like slurping down a well-crafted bowl from a local ramen shop, sometimes you’ll have to settle for instant ramen to satisfy your cravings.

Instant ramen can be found all over Japan in department stores, convenience stores, and even drug stores. They’re cheap, usually costing no more than 100 yen or so, and they come in a variety of different flavors to suit your taste. They're easy to make in less than ten minutes so they're a great midnight snack or a quick meal to get you through the day. These days there's a lot more you can do with instant ramen than simply boiling the noodles and adding the seasoning. Although authentic ramen takes days of preparation before serving, we've put together some cooking hacks to help make your instant ramen taste like something a certified chef would make.  

image via shutterstock.com

How to Make Instant Ramen:

There are two types of instant ramen readily available. The first type, the cup noodle ramen, has the dried noodles and seasoning packet inside a plastic cup. In order to eat the ramen, bring water to boil in a pot, and then pour the water into the cup. Add the seasoning packet and wait for about 5 minutes for the noodles to soften and cool down before eating. 

The second type of instant ramen is found in a packet. For this type, you have to boil the noodles in a pot. First, bring the water to boil in a pot, and then add the noodles. Once the noodles soften, bring the water temperature down to low heat and add the seasoning packet for flavor. After the noodles cool down, transfer them to a bowl, and enjoy!

Now that we know how to cook instant ramen let's figure out how to upgrade these noodles to feel like an authentic Japanese meal.  

Use real ramen broth

Instant ramen already comes with a seasoning packet to help add some flavor but it doesn’t quite taste like the real thing. At most Japanese grocery stores you can actually find condensed ramen broth which will give you similar flavors to actual ramen shops. The broth comes in different flavors including miso, soy sauce, salt, and tonkatsu (pork). They can be a little bit salty so be sure to dilute the broth with 300ml of boiling water. While the broth is boiling add the noodles and wait until they soften enough to eat. 

image via shutterstock.com

Add some meat

It just doesn't feel like real ramen without some meat to go with it. Ramen is traditionally eaten with chashu pork, which can be found in local Japanese grocery stores. However, ramen isn't just limited to pork. Other options include chicken, shrimp, beef, and tofu for vegetarians. 

Add seasonings and toppings 

The seasoning package simply isn't enough to top off your instant ramen. Using traditional Japanese seasonings like furikake and togarashi adds an authentic taste to your instant ramen noodles. Using fresh green onions, nori- Japanese seaweed, garlic and ginger are also great ways to add some spices to your ramen broth. If you prefer your ramen a little spicy, Kimchi- a traditional Korean side dish can top off your ramen for an extra spicy boost. 

Add eggs 

I don’t know why but adding a soft boiled egg to your ramen instantly takes it to top-notch chief levels. Eggs are so versatile and a great source of protein and iron. To get a nice soft boiled egg, add the egg to the water first and bring the water to a boil. After two minutes add the noodles and continue to cook until the noodles soften. If your timing is right you’ll have a soft (or hard) boiled egg to go with your dish. If you’re not a fan of boiled eggs, you can also cook the noodles then stir in a beaten egg, or cook the noodles, pull them off heat, and drop an egg in the centre. Let the egg cook for two minutes, add some seasoning, and then stir the semi-liquid yolk into the broth. 

image via shutterstock.com

Add some vegetables

Ramen isn’t the healthiest dish but you can fix that by adding some vegetables to your soup. Leafy green vegetables are cabbage and spinach are another great source of protein and cook quickly with the noodles. Other vegetables to add include bell peppers, shiitake mushrooms, carrots, peas, and corn. If you don't have to cut and prepare fresh vegetables for your soup, frozen vegetables are a great alternative to use. Don't forget to defrost them prior to cooking. 

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Add some sauces

If you're low on ingredients, sauces are a great way to top off your ramen bowl. They not only add some flavor to the simple seasoning packet but also add some colour and texture to make eating instant ramen a bit more fun. Our top recommended sauces are sriracha, kimchi, and sesame oil. 

Great Ramen Recipies To Make at Home:

While suggestions are always helpful sometimes we need a more comprehensive list of how to put all these things together. Here are a few great recipes to help set you on your journey to make the best homemade ramen.

Basic tonkotsu ramen

Tonkotsu is the most popular ramen flavor and the easiest recipe to recreate at home. You'll need to purchase instant ramen packets, tonkatsu ramen broth, eggs, chashu pork, green onions, and shiitake mushrooms from your local grocery store. Add two cups of water to a pot along with the broth. Add the egg next and bring the broth to a boil. Next, add the noodles and then green onions and shiitake mushrooms. Once the noodles soften, bring the broth down to low heat and add the chashu pork. Let the soup continue to cook for five more minutes and then serve!

image via shutterstock.com

Thai inspired ramen

Japanese people aren’t the only ones that know how to make a good bowl of ramen. Try adding some peanut butter for a Thai-inspired take on ramen. Cook the noodles as per the instructions but leave out the seasoning packet. Instead whisk together, peanut butter, sesame oil, honey, soy sauce, rice vinegar, garlic and ginger. Remove the noodles from the water and then pour the mix over the hot noodles. To top it off add some chopped scallions then enjoy.

Korean kimchi ramen

Looking to add a little spice to your instant ramen, try this spicy kimchi ramen recipe. First, on medium heat stir fry some shiitake mushrooms. After three minutes add some kimchi, kimchi juice stock, Korean red peppers, sugar, and sesame seed oil and boil for about five minutes. In another pot boil your noodles as per the instructions but leave out the seasoning packet. Once you finish cooking your noodles drain the hot water and pour the spicy korean broth over the noodles. Add some chopped scallions and now you’re ready to eat. 

image via shutterstock.com

Although nothing compares to the real thing, making instant ramen at home doesn't mean you have to sacrifice substance and flavor. Using the simple ingredients in your fridge or after a quick trip to the grocery store you can beef up your ramen bowl to taste like the work of a top-notch chef. Do you have a favorite ramen recipe? We'd love to hear more about how you prepare ramen. Leave a comment below to share your favorite instant ramen hacks.  

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