I was a die-hard ‘Maggi’ fan back in India and it took me virtually no time to hook on the Ramen when I came to the UK for further studies. I swear by my hot-water instant pack of noodles. I use everything from vegetables and curries to flavouring packets to sauces and pastes to prepare gourmet food for my friends and friends’ friends in my hall.
Here are some of my simple recipes to upgrade Ramen to mouth-watering meals for all the hungry demons in no time:
1. Curried Singapore Ramen
Though rice-stick noodles are best for this recipe, you can always make instant noodles work for it. Now, cut some eggs shrimps, ham and the vegetables you have in long thin strips, and stir-fry them to make them crunchy.
I usually try for a colour riot to make the food look more appealing and use onions, carrots, bell peppers, bean sprouts, snow peas and celery. Ask your guests and friends to pitch in the vegetables, meats, spices, condiments and sauces they have – and keep on experimenting.
Boil the Ramen in less water so that it dries up completely.
Now, it's time to try to stir-fry meats and vegetables. First, marinate the shrimp with oil and fish sauce. Stir-fry the eggs first. Keep them aside, clean your pan and stir-fry the shrimp now.
When it is done, put in onions and ham, and then add vegetables too. It takes a matter of minutes to get it done. Add salt to taste. I also like to use curry powder for that unique me-flavour.
Clean the pan. Heat up a few tablespoons of oil and add noodles to it, add the seasoning packet too. Stir-fry them for about 30 seconds, and add rest of the ingredients.
Your Singaporean noodles are ready to eat.
2. Hiyashi Chuka: Cold Ramen Recipe
When the weather is hot, cold ramen noodles topped with assorted veggies, meat and vinegar come as a filling and delicious reprieve from cooking. Shredded egg, ham, crab, shrimp, cucumber and tomatoes work well for this recipe. The idea is to have a mix of crunchy and bright vegetables.
Seasonal fruits and vegetables like corn, peaches, asparagus and snap peas work well too. You can add as many toppings as you like – even the fancy lobster!
Some of the topping combos I often use are:
• cooked mushrooms, corn, peaches, and asparagus
• grilled chicken breast, eggs, ham, shredded cabbage, and tomatoes
• grilled chicken breast, onion, plums, peaches, carrots, and asparagus
• poached chicken breast, cooked mushrooms, onion, cucumber, and asparagus
• shrimp, ham, corn, cucumber and tomatoes
Now, make a simple blend of sesame oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar and grated ginger for dressing, and dig in!
3. Quickest Chicken Noodle Soup
If you are over the age of eight years, you can cook this one easily. Add Ramen Noodles, cooked chicken, shredded carrot and cabbage, and peeled and minced garlic to a pot of boiling water and let them cook for about three minutes.
Garnish with grated ginger and a splash of soy sauce!
4. Butter and Cheese Ramen Fix
Cook Ramen the regular way by boiling it in water for about three minutes. Add the flavour sachet after two and a half minutes and stir it in. Now, remove the pan from the stove and break open 1 large egg over it. Do not stir. Just pull the noodles over and let it sit for 1 minute to poach.
Pour it into a serving bowl and mix in half teaspoon of butter, 2 slices of American cheese, 1/4th teaspoon of toasted sesame seeds. You may garnish it with thinly sliced scallion if you want.
You may also add minced ginger and garlic to it, along with a healthy dose of hot chilli sauce.
To turn the snack into a full-fledged meal, you can add spinach, cabbage, bean sprouts, and peas too.
5. Baked Oriental Ramen Salad
Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees F. Line the cookie sheet with foil, and spread slivered almonds and crumbled uncooked Ramen noodles on it. Bake them for about 12 minutes until they are golden.
By that time, mix the dressing. For the dressing, mix 1/2 cup of canola oil and sugar each, 1/4th cup of cider vinegar, seasoning from the Ramen noodles packet, and 2 tablespoons of soy sauce vigorously.
Now, add baked noodles and almonds to shredded raw cabbage, carrots, and greens mixed with mayonnaise (or cole slaw). You may add cashew nuts or peanuts to the mix too. Stir the salad once again and pour it over the salad.
Let it marinate for one to two hours before eating it up for more flavour!
6. Ramen Jars for the Exams
Are you going on a study tour, field trip or a picnic? Instant Ramen Mason Jar meals are sure to be instant-hits with your friends. You can also prepare them and keep them in the fridge for about one week to use during your exams.
Roughly chop about eight ounces of mushrooms and thinly slice red cabbage, and greens you have available (such as spinach and kale).
Sprinkle two chicken breasts with 1 tablespoon of sea salt, place in a baking dish, and put it in a pre-heated oven (at 400 degrees F). Bake the chicken breasts for about 20-25 minutes and then, let them cool. Cut them into half-inch cubes.
In a large saucepan, heat one tablespoon of ghee or coconut oil over medium-high heat and add mushrooms to it. Sauté them for about 3-5 minutes and then, remove them from heat.
For the chicken bouillon, pour 1/2 cup nutritional yeast, 1 teaspoon of dried thyme and turmeric powder each, 2 tablespoons of sea salt and powdered garlic each, 1 ¼ teaspoon sugar, ½ teaspoon of dried sage, dried basil, and dried oregano each, and a pinch of powdered ginger in a bowl. Whisk them until everything gets evenly distributed.
Now, take 6 wide-mouth mason jars. Put in the red cabbage first, followed by greens and mushrooms. Then, top it up with 1-2 tablespoons of bouillon. Add noodles to it.
When you are ready for the meal, just pour it in boiling water and cook for 4-5 minutes and it will be ready to eat.
7. No-cook Fruit Ramen Salad Mix
Break one lettuce into bite-sized pieces in a bowl.
Trim and slice strawberries into a bowl, and add a little vinegar and salt to it. In another bowl, mix water and lemon juice and cut apple and pear into it. Now, add everything to the lettuce bowl along with a few mandarin oranges. You may also add raspberry dressing to the salad mix.
Crumble oriental-flavour Ramen over the salad and add half of the seasoning packet to it. Let it sit for 5 minutes before serving.
8. Thai Peanut Butter Ramen Soup
A great survival food for busy college students, the recipe of this soup mostly uses what you have on hand. Heat a large pot over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of peanut oil and about one pound of chicken to it. Stir once or twice for about 10 minutes until the chicken gets browned. Remove it from the pot.
Now, add one tablespoon of peanut oil, one chopped sweet potato or potato, and two thinly sliced red peppers to the pot and cook them for 8 to 10 minutes. Add 12 ounces of sliced cremini mushrooms and cook for 5 more minutes. Now, add 1/4th cup of Thai red curry paste and two teaspoons of smoked paprika and stir them well.
Heat up 1 cup of chicken broth and stir in about 1/2 cup of creamy peanut butter until the mixture becomes totally smooth.
Add chicken to the pot again, along with 14 ounces of coconut milk, 1/4th cup of sodium soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of fish sauce, peanut butter mixture, juice of 1 lime and 2 tablespoons brown sugar. Bring the soup to the boil and then, add 4 packages of Ramen noodles and let them cook for 3 to 4 minutes.
Garnish with fresh cilantro, and peanuts before serving.
9. Orange Chicken Ramen Recipe from the Prison Inmates
I made a wonderful discovery while searching for some of the Ramen recipe experiments I could use. Prison inmates and college kids seem to love the same kind of recipes. Lack of funds, resources and time seem to bond them together somehow. Here is a prison inmate recipe my roommates love.
Boil one packet of Ramen noodles (without the flavouring packet) for 3-5 minutes, and drain the excess water. Stir in cheddar cheese spread and a small amount of chilli garlic sauce. Add cooked chicken, orange juice, and honey to it and you are done!
Do you have pet Ramen college recipes too? Share them with us in the comments below. Pssst, we have internships in Asia, if you want to try authentic ramen for yourself.
Aditya Singhal is the co-founder of Transtutors.com a leading online tutoring help for college students. Having graduated from the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), he worked briefly with American Consulting firm, Kurt Salmon Associates before taking the entrepreneurial route. Outside the work ambit, Aditya has a personal interest in helping MBA students. He is also actively involved in giving back to the society by contributing a part of the revenue towards the education of poor students.
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