Ramen hacks 101
Hey does anyone else have a lot of trouble getting out of bed and feeding themselves sometimes? Yeah me too. BUT I’ve basically gotten the cheap, easy, fast ramen thing down to a T by this point and thought I’d share it with you guys. It can be made very easily for any type of diet, including gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian.
Time: Will vary depending on your ingredients, but at minimum it’ll take about 5-10 minutes.
For just a soup base+noodles, you will need:
- A package of cheap-ass ramen noodles - throw away the seasoning packet or save it to use with something else. Buy in bulk if you don’t want to go to the store every time you want noodles. If you’re gluten-free, get rice noodles or another gluten-free option.
- Miso paste - I got mine for about $3, and it lasts for a very long time in the fridge. Pro tip: it’s cheaper at an Asian grocery store or market if you have access to one.
- Stock cube/paste - around $2 at my local grocery store. I went for low-sodium chicken stock cubes, but you use your preferred type.
- Water - about 2-3 cups for one portion depending on how big your bowl is. Remember, if you’re adding in extras, the liquid level will rise. I’ve made that mistake way too many times.
If you want extras, some good options to mix and match at your preference/budget/convenience are
- Bean sprouts - super cheap at the grocery store. Just throw a handful in and call it a day. I like mine to still be a little crunchy so I do it in the last 2 minutes of cooking.
Snow peas - ditto to the bean sprouts. Extras can be frozen.
- Onion - I typically use half or a quarter of a white onion cut into thin slices, and tossed in the broth asap because I like it a bit more tender. Freeze the rest if you’re not going to be using it within the next few days.
- Green onion/scallions - 1-2 will be good for one portion. Slice in thin disks, or on an angle if you’re fancy. Also you can use both the tops (green) and the bottoms (white), but that’s to your preference. I typically use these as a garnish, but you can add them in whenever you’d like.
- Bok/pak choi - one of my favorite vegetables in the entire world. It can be found in most grocery stores nowadays, but is much cheaper at an Asian market if you have access to one. Cut off the very bottom part and then cut the pieces in half length-wise. Throw them in at the beginning if you like them softer, or in the last 3 minutes if you still want them a bit crunchy.
- Spinach - just chuck in a handful whenever. Spinach can also be used frozen and is often cheaper to either buy it already frozen, or buy fresh in bulk and store it in your freezer to have forever. Get those vitamins!
- Shredded carrot - you may not have the time/energy to shred carrots. Buy the pre-shredded kind and freeze whatever you have left over.
- Corn - use frozen.
- Mushrooms - slice thinly or buy pre-sliced. Add to broth toward the beginning.
- Tofu - silken tofu is usually the best option for this, but use whatever it is you have/can afford. Cut into small cubes and add whenever you’d like.
- Soft-boiled egg - how to boil an egg or whatever your favorite method is.
- Chicken - use leftover cooked chicken to add to your soup or slice a raw chicken breast thinly and poach it at a gentle simmer in the broth for 7-10 minutes or until it is white and opaque. It does take a little extra time, but you don’t actually have to do anything while it cooks and this will add extra flavor. Pre-marinated chicken is good for this as well (look for “Asian” flavors like soy, sesame, ginger, garlic, chili, etc.). Again, more expensive or time-consuming if you’re marinating it yourself, but it’s up to you.
- Shrimp - use pre-cooked frozen shrimp to save time and just dump in a handful. Buy the frozen stuff in bulk. Or, like with the chicken, poach raw shrimp in the broth until they are pink and opaque.
- Garlic - either use a garlic crusher if you have it or just toss in thin slices into the pan with a little bit of veg or sesame oil for about 2 minutes, before you add your liquid. I buy pre-crushed frozen garlic that comes in little cubes and just pop them straight into whatever I’m cooking. There’s also that pre-crushed/chopped garlic in a paste or little jars. The pre-prepared stuff is more expensive than just buying bulbs of garlic BUT it will last you a while and saves a lot of time and energy.
- Ginger - same as the garlic.
- Chilis - chopped into thin disks. Take out the seeds and white part inside the chili if you don’t like it too spicy. Add as a garnish or into the broth if you like it a little spicier.
- Hot sauce - use your favorite brand.
- Chili oil - I got mine for about $1.50 and it’s a must-have for me in my soup. I drizzle a couple teaspoons on top when my soup is all done.
- Soy sauce - light or dark soy is fine. Add as much or as little as you like.
- Sesame oil - this is quite strong, so a little goes a long way. Use about a teaspoon.
- Fish sauce, oyster sauce, rice wine/mirin/sake - these are great flavors but may be a bit harder to find and tend to be a little more expensive. Use about 1-2 teaspoons if you have it.
- Cilantro - throw the stalks into your broth and strain them out afterward or just use the leaves as a garnish.
- Lemon or lime - a squeeze to taste.
- Sesame seeds - sprinkle on top.
Like I said, all the above ingredients are simply suggestions. It’s up to you to decide what you want, what you have the time and energy for, and what you can afford. This is just to show you the range of options.
- Prep whatever ingredients you’re using (slice/chop/take out of freezer). If you’re not using any, just go to step 2.
- Bring 2-3 cups of water to a boil. If you have an electric kettle, this will make the process much quicker.
- Add in your stock cube and miso paste and cook for about 2 minutes until they dissolve. You may want to stir a couple times just to help it along.
- Add in whatever vegetables/protein/additional flavorings above suit your fancy and cook to your liking.
- Add noodles and cook for 3 minutes.
- Put food in bowl. Don’t worry about making it pretty. Garnish as you like.
- Put food in mouth.
Put any leftover soup you may have into a tupperware or thermos and take it to work/school the next day. Or save it for 3-4 days in the fridge and heat it up when you’re hungry.
Another pro tip: you can make the soup base in bulk and freeze whatever you don’t use. when you want soup but don’t want to go through the whole process again, stick the frozen soup in the microwave/melt in a pot on the stove, bring to a boil, add in your noodles/extras and you’re good to go.