When an entrepreneur is bootstrapping a startup, they learn to respect the ramen. At the small cost of some pocket change, ramen is perfect for anyone with a small budget, whether they are the starving college student, starving entrepreneur, or anyone who is starving in general really.
The cheapest and most common ramen out there is probably Top Ramen brand, followed by Maruchan Ramen which is a little better; if you are looking to spoil yourself though, Shin Ramyun reigns supreme. Realistically, an entrepreneur will usually go for the most cost effective ramen- this is also not the best for you health wise. It doesn’t provide you with all the nutrients you need and one pack seldomly fills you up. So why don’t we show you how to spice it up, change up the taste and make it more filling without sucking the life out of your wallet? Here are five simple and cost effective ways to get the most out of ramen.
Spice it up.
Image via Wikimedia
Nothing else gives ramen a unique taste quite like the spices you put into it. Most instant ramen comes with their own packet of flavoring, which provides a base flavor and sodium, but to add something extra, try a few dashes of cayenne or white pepper. If you want more spice, you can add chili-flakes or even chili oil if you have it. Sesame oil also adds a bold and savory flavor to ramen- just a small dash is plenty because sesame is usually pretty potent.
Okay, peanuts, aren’t a spice, but they add a soft and interesting texture to ramen. Give it a try and just throw some in!
And lastly, no ramen lover can live without hot sauce. Sriracha is a classic go to for any noodle dish, but you also can’t go wrong with Tabasco either. What’s your favorite hot sauce?
Got some Herb?
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The herbs I’m talking about are green, but not that kind. Buy some scallions (green onions), wash them and use some scissors to cut it into your ramen once its done. Chives, cilantro, seaweed, and basil are also tasty add-ins to add more green to your dish.
If you are looking for some savory umami flavors, throw some mushrooms into your ramen. Dried shiitake mushrooms sometimes come with some ramen, like Shin Ramyun, but you can also find them at pretty much any store if you want to add taste to your meals. Just throw them in when your ramen is done and enjoy.
Eat your vegetables!
If there’s one thing ramen can’t do without, it’s some good vegetables- it’s pretty much the best way to get the nutrients you need from an otherwise nutrient-less dish. The simplest way is to buy a frozen bag of corn, peas, carrots, or just a mixed vegetable bag. It’s as simple as just throwing however many vegetables you want into the pot, and usually a bag of frozen veggies has enough for a few bowls of ramen.
When your ramen is cooked, you can also just throw some baby spinach, bok choy, bean sprouts, sliced cabbage, and watercress straight into the bowl- they will wilt easily and add flavor to your dish. If you want some hard core veggies, boil some snap or snow peas, broccoli, or whole carrots before hand- just time your cooking so that the vegetables are cooked when your ramen is just about ready and mix it all together.
Eggs are your friend.
Eggs are one of the easiest and most inexpensive foods to put into ramen. It adds a good source of protein and you can add it any way you like. Leave the shell on to hard boil the egg while you are cooking your ramen, drop a shelled egg halfway through boiling for a soft boiled egg, beat an egg and pour it in your cooked noodles while mixing it into your ramen for a fluffier texture, you can throw a raw egg in while you are cooking your noodles for a poached egg, or fry an egg on a separate pan and add it after. You honestly can’t go wrong with this one.
Add some chicken or beef.
Image via Wikemedia
For a more robust ramen, add some meat to it. One simple way is by buying a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken that you can usually find at the store for under ten dollars and it usually has enough chicken for two hearty bowls of ramen. While your ramen is cooking, peel off as much meat from the breasts, thighs and drumsticks and throw them in the soup to heat up with the noodles and enjoy.
If you are craving beef, the simplest way is to buy a whole piece of meat or beef that is already sliced up. If you get the whole piece, you can season and pan sear it without fully cooking it, then cut it into thin slices and finish cooking it in the same pot your ramen is cooking in. If you buy the slices, you can just throw them in to simmer cook with your noodles- simple as that. Don’t forget to add seasoning to get a nice brothy flavor to go with everything.
Important Ramen Notes:
- If you are a ramen noob, boil the water first and remember seasoning goes in before the noodles. You often don’t have to use the entire packet of seasoning as it is really high in sodium, so pour in as much as you want in proportion to the water in the pot.
- Remember not to overcook your noodles! Just like cooking pasta al dente, it’s better to undercook your noodles in ramen because they continue to cook after you’ve taken it out of the pot and poured it into the bowl.
- If you are looking to try something new, try adding white cheese to your ramen- yes it sounds weird, but most people who try it actually enjoy it. Just add it in 30 seconds after your ramen is cooked.
Featured image via Flickr, by Alpha