If you still think the recipe for instant ramen is what’s printed on the packaging, we’ve got to talk. There’s no getting around the fact that instant ramen is a foodstuff that needs a little pumping up. With some creativity, a scan of your pantry and fridge, and maybe a side trip to your local Asian supermarket, you can pump with the best of them!
Topping instant ramen is like painting on a canvas and you needn’t be a chef to start painting. All you need are a few toppings and a light hand with those seasoning packets. The only thing worse than underseasoned ramen is overseasoned ramen.
Here are 5 ways to up your instant ramen game.
1. Add some cheese
Individually-wrapped slices of processed cheese are not just for sandwiches and burgers. The thin, oily cheese-ish product works in magically rich ways when melted on top of hot noodle soup.
2. Dried seaweed
Called nori or kim, sheets of umami-packed seaweed can be cut into thin strips with scissors or crumbled atop the broth and noodles. Adds crunch and elements of “the sea.”
3. Fish cakes
These can be found at all Asian grocery stores, typically pre-cooked and frozen. Defrost, slice thin, and toss into the broth, or skewer and place on the side. Adds both subtle sweetness and a pleasantly fishy vibe. Similarly, Japanese kamaboko— colorful loafs of processed fish that are thinly sliced—can do the same trick.
Furikake is a Japanese seasoning typically made with toasted sesame seeds, nori, salt, sugar. It varies from region to region can also include anything from bonito flakes, to chili flakes to miso powder to shitake powder to poppy seeds. Furikake seasoning can last up to six months in a tightly sealed glass jar. Sushi Bake Furikake is another way to enjoy sushi!
5. Smoked Oysters
Found in a can. Buy a product that looks legit. Mind blown, right?!