7.28.2014

Next-Level Ramen

    I think most of us can agree that a bowl of ramen is one of the tastiest meals you can have for under $1. Sure, it might not be the fanciest, and definitely isn’t the healthiest, but you sure do get some bang for your buck. It’s one of those foods that’s nice to have on hand for those rainy days when you just don’t have the motivation to whip up a proper dinner, and all you want to do is curl up with a blanket on the couch and slurp down some hot, delicious soup. 
     I love ramen all on it’s own. Get some water boiling, and pour a packet of ramen in, and I’m ready to go. Dinner prep: completed. But I’ve found some really simple ways to step up my ramen game, that will take your next bowl from “good because it’s cheap” to “this is really ramen?!” Yes. Yes it is. Japanese-style, you-could-buy-me-in-a-restaurant, ramen. 

My Favorite Instant Ramen
STEP 1: Add some protein. This is what ramen in a bag lacks the most. Sure, it will fill you up in the short-term, but give it an hour or so and you will feel like you haven’t eaten at all. On a fundamental level, every balanced meal should include a protein, some carbs, and a whole lot of veggies. We typically like to add two proteins to our ramen. (WHAT?!) Yes, two. Because one of the most satisfying things in the world is the taste of a lightly boiled egg that has been soaked in delicious broth. Am I right? If you don’t know what I’m talking about, don’t skip this part. We also add a small piece of chicken, because we think the more protein, the better. If you’re not in the mood for chicken, you can also add pork, shrimp, and even bacon. 




STEP 2: Add at least two veggies. Here’s where you can get really creative. The possibilities really are endless here, but if I’m having an impromptu bowl of ramen, I just use whatever’s in my produce drawer. If you’re really in a pinch, you can even throw in a half a bag of frozen vegetables. Some of my favorite vegetables to include are: 
     -Bean Sprouts
     -Mushrooms
     -Diced Tomatoes
     -Spinach
          *Add at the very end- it only takes about 1 minute to cook* 
     -Broccoli
     -Green Onions
     -Cabbage
     -Corn



Step 3: Add some turmeric and cayenne pepper. As I mentioned before, a bag of ramen on it’s own isn’t exactly the healthiest dish on the planet. But, when you add all those vegetables and protein, you can really turn it into a balanced and nutritious dish. If you wanna go a step further, throw in some turmeric. This is a spice that I put in anything that I can. Turmeric is very beneficial for health, and is one of the only foods with known cancer-fighting properties. It doesn’t have a very strong taste in its powdered form, so why not load it up? I also like to add cayenne pepper. Mostly, I do it for the taste (I love spicy food, but if you don’t, you might want to skip this part). But I don’t mind the detox benefits either. 



Step 4: Top it with a slice of processed cheese. Gross. I know. That’s what I thought too, when I first heard this proposition. First of all, processed cheese slices? I haven’t had one of those since I was 8 years old. And second, this just doesn’t even make sense. But believe me when I say, you won’t regret trying this. I throw this on at the very end and let it melt into the broth. Once you mix it in with your spoon it just sort of dissipates, but it adds a slight creaminess to the broth that I absolutely love. Trust me. Just try it. I learned this trick from Eat Your Kimchi (link) and haven’t made a bowl of ramen without it ever since. 



What are your favorite ways to amp up your instant ramen? 

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