5 Ways to Spice Up Your Ramen Game

Whether you’re last-minute cramming for an exam at 3 AM or simply too lazy to walk those few hundred feet to the dining hall, ramen is a staple in many college students’ lives. The tender bite of the noodles along with the umami rich broth simple renders this food irresistible. However, if you consume ramen on a weekly (maybe even biweekly) basis like me, you might crave a little variation. Now don’t get me wrong —  part of its appeal lies in its simplicity. But, if you ever want to mix things up or impress your friends, here’s a few ways to upgrade your ramen game

1. Add some fresh veggies

Adding some vegetables is a perfect way to add some well-needed nutrition to your ramen. Personally, I like to use bright vegetables like onions, green onions, and spicy peppers to cut through the heaviness of the broth. Just add them into your pot a minute or two before the noodles are fully cooked to maintain the crunch of the vegetables, and you’ll be left with a more flavorful meal that makes you feel just a little bit healthier.

2. Make it the Roy Choi way

If you don’t already know who Roy Choi is, he revolutionized the food truck industry, has his own Netflix cooking show, and most importantly, loves ramen just as much as the rest of us. To make ramen approved by this award winning chef, all you need are egg, cheese, butter, and sesame seeds. Crack an egg into your ramen 30 seconds before turning off the heat and add half a teaspoon of butter, two slices of American cheese (yes, I’m talking about the Kraft singles), and top it with some toasted sesame seeds. I know it sounds odd, but don’t knock it until you try it! The cheese and butter manages to thicken the broth and coat the noodles in silky goodness, making this perfect for any occasion when you need to warm your soul.

3. Add some Srirachaaaa

I’m a strong believer that all foods can always use a little more kick, and ramen is not an exception. Sriracha’s flavor profile of being spicy, sweet, salty, and sour at the same time manages to brighten any ramen and also makes it reminiscent of pho — another favorite of mine. If you want to take it a step further, you can also try adding some cilantro!

4. Go brothless

I’ll be honest, if someone told me to make ramen without water a few years ago, I would have thought it made no sense . Why get rid of the broth if that’s part of what makes ramen ramen? However, after being introduced to the infamous fire noodles a few years ago, I am happy to say my mind has been changed completely. Forgoing the broth intensifies the flavor a LOT and will definitely pack more of a punch. To make this, simply drain 90% of the water when the noodles are done cooking and only add about two thirds of the flavor packet since there’s no liquid to dilute the salt and flavor. I also like to add a drizzle of oil to the noodles to make sure the flavor packet coats all the noodles really well.

5. Mix in some kimchi

Growing up, my mom’s kimchi stew was one of my ultimate comfort foods and even though I’ll never be able to make it quite like her, this is a good substitute for the time being. To make it, cook some kimchi (the older the better!) with some oil for a minute or two in your pot before adding any water to mellow out the in-your-face tanginess. When the kimchi starts to brown a little, add your water and finish making your ramen like normal! The spice and fermented twang of the kimchi will transform your broth and leave you wondering whether it’s the same ramen you had time and time again in the past.

Whether you’re a fan or not, these mix-ups will never fail to keep you on your toes when it comes to ramen. I now always look for new ways to experiment with my noodles and hopefully, whether it was on this list or not, you’ll be able to find you’re perfect ramen match soon!

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