By Mike Thayer
Ramen soup, it's cheap, it's a budget food, a single-person's food, a plan 'B' food, a college dorm food, a don't-know-what-else-to-have-so-this-will-have-to-do food...
But don't just make it per the package instructions, liven things up!
There are ALL KINDS OF THINGS you can do to kick instant Ramen Soup up another notch.
With Asian flavors in mind, you can add any number of oils, sauces, pastes, etc., to deepen the flavor of the broth. You can add additional ingredients to make the soup more hearty and robust. And making it a lot more visually appealing while also adding some additional flavor, there's all kinds of 'toppers' you can add to the dish.
Oil, Sauces, Etc.
- Sesame Oil (don't overdo it, a little bit goes a long way)
- Hot Chili Oil
- Fish Sauce
- Hoison Sauce
- Oyster Sauce
- Peanut Butter
- Curry Paste
- Coconut Milk
- Chicken Stock (use low sodium stocks instead of water and skip the high sodium flavor packet!)
- Beef Stock
- Vegetable Stock
- Fish stock
- Any kind of deli lunch meat - sliced in strips
- Leftover meats, roasted chicken, roast beef, oven baked ham, brisket - shredded
- Leftover shrimp, fish (don't use anything that was breaded)
- Carrots, diced or julienned
- White, yellow or sweet onions, sliced thin or diced
- Red Pepper flake
- Garlic, minced or powder
- Ginger powder or fresh, sliced mandolin thin
- Bok Choy, chopped
- Baby Spinach, fresh
- Jalapeno pepper or Fresno pepper (nice red color), chopped
- Egg (Egg Drop Soup style)
Toppers, a.k.a., Garnish
- Egg, medium boiled, sliced
- Bacon, chopped
- Cilantro, chopped
- Parsley, chopped
- Green onion, chopped
- Leeks, chopped
- Roasted Sesame Seeds
- Bamboo Shoots
- Bean Sprouts
The options are only limited by your imagination and you don't have to stick with Asian flavors either. I've made 'classic' chicken noodle (Ramen) soup before, vegetable beef soup and yes, even a beer cheese soup with Ramen.
You can really elevate instant Ramen, something so inexpensive, creating a comfort food with deep flavors and great textures - something you might have a dinner guest comparing it favorably to something they had in a restaurant and asking you for the recipe. And bonus, Ramen is an excellent vehicle for not only incorporating fresh ingredients, but making smart use of leftovers.
$pend Wisely My Friends...
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