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I'm looking for some common (or not so common) ingredients that you add to your instant ramen to make it a little closer to a full-blown meal.

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closed as not constructive by TFD, Aaronut Sep 16 '12 at 13:44

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it is generally considered a good idea to wait a little while before accepting an answer, especially on a question that is as open ended as this one. –  Nathan Koop Jul 16 '10 at 20:19
    
Thanks for the tip. I kinda realized that as more answers came that I should have waited a little longer. –  Nick Canzoneri Jul 16 '10 at 20:25
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Step 1: replace ramen with something else entirely –  Dinah Jul 16 '10 at 20:45
    
Given that so many answers say "throw out the flavoring packet", you might consider switching to real ramen noodles (as in the long, wide, flat noodles that you can get at asian groceries in boxes almost the size of a ream of paper) instead of using instant ramen noodles. Be aware that these noodles are heavily salted, so its usually a bad idea to add additional salt when cooking soup with them. –  Theodore Murdock Sep 17 '12 at 18:29
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17 Answers 17

up vote 25 down vote accepted

I use thin chopped bacon slices(uncooked) as a flavoring agent. Also drop 1-2 eggs in there and stir, this adds texture.

I normally stir-fry some chopped steak on the side and dump in the ramen afterwards. I don't use the seasoning pack that comes with the ramen. For flavoring, I use ponzu sauce, soy sauce and vinegar mixed with garlic powder.

Here's my process with photos:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jinny76/sets/72157607170272817/

Final step:

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Pictures look great! –  Nick Canzoneri Jul 16 '10 at 20:00
    
Wow. I just became insta-hungry. –  hobodave Jul 17 '10 at 20:15
    
Very nice! And +1 for photos! –  Gabriel Hurley Jul 18 '10 at 3:09
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If one is willing to go to all this trouble, why bother with the instant Ramen? Any Asian grocery store will sell loads of decent fresh or dried noodles that you need only dunk in hot water for a couple of minutes. Don't get me wrong, it looks great, but I'd rather prepare the same thing with some quality rice noodles. –  Aaronut Aug 5 '10 at 17:23
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@Doug: A food is more than what's on the nutrition label. Otherwise why bother cooking at all? "Carbs" are an entire family of compounds, so even if you ground everything up into a slurry before you ate it, the statement "carbs are carbs", in the figurative, non-tautological sense, would still be incorrect. –  Aaronut Sep 16 '11 at 14:13
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Any vegtable you'd like in soup, just make sure you cook it a little bit before you drop it in the ramen pot, since they'll need a bit more time to cook than the noodles.

Carrots and celery fit well with the standard flavors of the ramen.

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Peas are good too. –  Brendan Long Jul 16 '10 at 19:59
    
Chickpeas are even better. –  Wesley Rice Oct 29 '11 at 17:16
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Drop in an egg in the last bit of cooking. The egg will cook quickly, and it's a good way to add some protein.

Also try adding in some scallions, random veggies, and maybe some hot sauce if you want to spice it up a bit.

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  1. Throw away the flavoring packet

  2. After you empty the ramen out, put peanut butter, soy sauce, a bit of chili oil and a bit of water in the pot, and heat and stir it just enough that the peanut butter melts. You could also add some scallions or other veggies at this point (frozen peas are especially good!) Now add the noodles back into the pot and toss enough to coat them in the sauce. Yum.

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My veggie add-ins are mushrooms, broccoli, or baby bok choi, none of which require precooking (as long as you're ok with slightly crunchy broccoli). At the end I'll add an egg, as other people have suggested.

After cooking but still on the stove, stir in a healthy spoonful of miso paste. It adds wonderful deep flavour and a nice texture.

Once it's in the bowl, sprinkle chopped green onions and/or dried seaweed - wakame is perfect for this.

The result is a bowl of ramen that looks and tastes like something you'd get in a restaurant, prepared in the same time as the basic instant ramen!

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Some good ideas here that I will have to try, but I like mine for simplicity and cost.

  1. Bring the water up to a good boil. Drop in two eggs, stirring after each one. You get a kind of "egg drop" effect. Throw in the seasoning packets. I like to add a shot of cayenne as well, for extra heat.

  2. Once the water is up to a boil again, add in 1/2-1 cup of frozen veggies. I like the peas/corn/carrots/etc. mix you can get at any supermarket. I recommend rinsing them in a colander before adding to the boiling water, otherwise the soup will be cloudy (but still good).

  3. Once water is at a boil again, it's time to add the ramen as a final step. Cook for maybe two minutes, then remove from heat.

No chopping. No mixing. If you use the cheap ramen, your overall gourmet super ramen price is still under a dollar. But I like to use the better Korean ramen packets.

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I like to cook shrimp ramen, strain off all of the water, and then add some alfredo sauce.

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Add veggies and meat or tofu, black pepper or chili oil, an egg: in short, anything you like or happen to have on hand!

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When boiling the ramen add 1/2 a knorr stock cube.

Then fry slices of spicy Italian sausage with some mushrooms, garlic and chilli and add to noodles. A dash of sesame oil is nice too.

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As a college student, I would occasionally combine it with a can of chili to improve both. The chili-flavored seasoning packet goes well with it, but most other flavors are a bit off.

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I like boiling the ramen noodles, draining them, then adding to a mixture of browned ground-beef and spicy baked beans. Great warm dish for a cold day.

They also taste good with teriyaki sauce, beef or chicken, and 1 or 2 vegetables.

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A comment on the dropping of egg. Beat the egg in a small bowl. Stir the hot soup in a circular motion to get the soup in the outer portion of the pot moving quickly and steadily. Continue stirring while pouring a small stream of egg into the pot near the edge where the broth is moving most quickly. This the technique for chinese soups with ribbons of egg, like egg drop and hot and sour and will guarantee no large clumps of egg.

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Great tip, I've tried the egg in my ramen before and just ended up with egg covered noodles, will give this a go. –  ManiacZX Aug 5 '10 at 21:13
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Buy yourself a "Benriner Japanese Mandolin". After cooking ramen, thinly slice some onion on top. The same goes for other vegetables (radishes are particularly good). Also, you can freeze some meat, thinly slice it on the mandolin and add it just prior to serving: paper thin beef will cook almost instantly.

I sometimes cook ramen in homemade stock, usually dashi.

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You can treat it like Pho, and add other thinly sliced items (bok choy or other cabbage or dark green, onion, mushrooms, meat). or even some thawed previously frozen shrimp (and even sliced hot dogs occassionally).

I'll also make a stir-fry, add a bit of water, throw on a brick of ramen, slap a lid on it and then let it steam for three minutes 'til the ramen's softened.

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I always add grated cheese to the ramen and diced hard-boiled egg. It is so good. And this way you can still prepare the ramen how you would normally prepare it. For instance I add the noodles, powder, and cheese to a bowl. Then cover with boiling water and cover the bowl til done. Then finally add the eggs and mix. So good!

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Nice question; a lot of great recipes in this answer!

This sounds a little strange, but I used to:

  1. Prepare the ramen like normal
  2. Put a colander over a bowl and separate the noodles from the broth
  3. Toast two pieces of bread
  4. Put the noodles between the two pieces of bread and dip it in the bowl of broth
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I enjoy instant ramen by cooking it as directed, draining th broth, mashing up saltines and mixingthem together with mayo. This way you can eat it as it is, as a sandwich, or with crackers.

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