Dressing Up My Instant Noodles (Ramen) - Eat Drink Man Woman Blog at Allrecipes.com - 99024

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Dressing up my instant noodles (ramen) 
Jun. 2, 2009 9:20 am 
Updated: May 24, 2011 12:15 am
Instant noodles may be forever stigmatised as the foodstuff of the cooking-challenged and college students everywhere, but I happen to like it. Just not too much of it, mind you. People have made creative and weird things with it, and at the very least I tend to add veggies of some sort to it when I have it.

Asian stores will have many more varieties than just the standard wheat noodles, and lots of different flavours too, such as seafood, mushroom, spicy Korean varieties, and more. Chicken-flavoured Mr. Noodle's got nothing on these.

So I try to eat fresh, healthy foods as often as possible, but sometimes circumstances (or laziness) compel me to break out a package of instant noodles (also known as ramen; however, ramen is technically a type of noodle that can be fresh, not processed and pre-packaged). I rarely have them in the house, but my mom recently gave me a bunch of packages, and now they're in my pantry.

Many people have concerns about the nutritional value of instant noodles, and with good reason. The processed variety is loaded with carbs, sodium, probably MSG, and very little vitamins and minerals. Some varieties have lots of calories too (basically, empty calories); one of my favourite seafood flavour ones that I used to find at my parents' house had 500 calories per serving! 

But you know what? Sometimes I just feel like having something bad. For some people, it's sweets, and for others, it's deep-fried something. I guess for me it's umami ("savoury"). And instant noodles will always have special meaning for me: one of my earliest childhood memories is of my grandfather (who died 20 years ago) picking me up from school every day and making me instant noodles while I watched reruns of The Flintstones.

For dinner the other night, when the husband and son were not around, I made a bowl of instant rice noodles with sesame flavouring. To prep the food, I chopped a few snowpeas (rather messily), slivered the white parts of a scallion, soaked some shiitakes in water, and soft-boiled an egg. I had some Chinese BBQ pork in the fridge, so I sliced it thinly. About an hour later, I sliced the now-tender shiitakes, cooked the noodles as directed, and added everything to the broth while it still had about a minute left to cook. I forgot that I had some dried seaweed that might have been good in the soup as well. To top it off, I drizzled a bit of chili oil to serve.

There you have it, ramen with a few extras. Was it healthy? Hell, no. Was it tasty and umami? You betcha.
Instant noodles
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Jun. 2, 2009 11:24 am
I'm not gonna lie......sometimes, I like to eat foods that are bad for me too. However, what you posted has way the heck more value to it than say a bowl of fruit loops for dinner. This is easy, and tasty, and sometimes that's all that matters.
Jun. 2, 2009 1:32 pm
I love to throw in an egg with some veggies. It is reminiscant of egg drop soup with noodles and veggies. And once in awhile it isn't going to kill us!
Jun. 2, 2009 2:10 pm
I feel the same way you do about instant noodles. I crave it sometimes even though I know it's unhealthy. Adding veggies and protein makes it better!
Jun. 2, 2009 2:14 pm
This cracked me up. About twice a year my hubby will pull out the package of noodles, ditch the seasoning, and turn out something I call 'Heart Attack waiting to happen' The last time was last summer. He added pepperoni, onion, garlic, some left over veggies from a salad, mushrooms, summer sausage, several kinds of cheese, and who knows what seasoning. He calls it Noodles all Hooked Up. I'll have to show him your healthier version!
Jun. 2, 2009 2:42 pm
I think we all enjoy something "bad" once in a while. I don't really like this kind of noodles, my problem is the sweet stuff... I try my best, but once in a while I need a treat.
Jun. 3, 2009 8:38 am
Reading all these comments, I don't feel quite as guilty about eating (and loving) instant noodles. :) MarknLeann, that sounds incredible. I don't think I'm brave enough to try something like that!
Rich L. 
Jun. 3, 2009 5:20 pm
FYI, they are marketing a Ramen with less sodium and fat. In the market I can only find it in chicken and beef flavors. It's not bad, but it is blander. However, you can spice it up with non-salt seasonings.
Jun. 3, 2009 6:43 pm
That's a local fave here in Hawaii. Ramen (or saimin)is cheap eats and very filling! I love it with char siu or spam, egg and green onions. A splash of soy sauce, sprinkle some black pepper and some hot sauce. Even adding a few won ton dumplings and some veggies is really good. There's so many ways to fix this soup dish. It's so good.
Jun. 4, 2009 4:30 am
Mmm I love these noodles too, despite the crazy sodium and stuff in them. I will def have to try your version! Sounds tasty! I ended up with a bunch of Oriental flavored noodles from when my hubby went out of town and I can't bare to throw things away so I dressed them up and ate them for lunch when I felt like something savory for lunch... Oriental noodles, some diced jalapenos and red onion pan-cooked for a cpl minutes (not spicy after cooked), some sliced avacado (mmm!) with red pepper flakes over everything. Maybe some shrimp thrown in. So good for the otherwise not-my-favorite flavor ramen.
Jun. 4, 2009 8:17 am
I happen to be eating a bowl of ramen right now, haha. I recognize that it's kinda junkfood, and treat it that way. It's a once every few months treat. I like it a few ways. With lime juice, sriracha, and toasted sesame seeds is how I'm eating it right now. It's also good with curry powder, carmelized onions, and peas. My housemate throws an egg in there and lets the hot water cook it. My grandmother used to make "garbage soup" by cleaning out her fridge of leftovers, adding it to the noodles and twice the recommended water, with half a seasoning packet. When I say she cleaned out the fridge, I mean it...leftover mashed potatoes and string beans? It it goes...leftover omelet from the diner? Right in there. ANYTHING. I look back now, with fondness, but I wouldn't touch the stuff when I was a kid :)
Jun. 4, 2009 10:00 am
At one point in time there was nothing in my fridge but fresh veggies that a friend kept giving me. I was so hungry, but the veggies alone just aren't filling enough for me. I ditched the seasoning packet and straight up fried the noodles in olive oil with fresh veggies and seasoned salt. Best instant noodles I ever ate! Next day I used the seasoning packet to boil potatoes and veggies in, and made a good little single serving of soup. Healthy? Nope. Just filling and delicious!
Jun. 4, 2009 12:58 pm
I have created a meal from these noodles that is not exactly bad but not very healthy either...saute some frozen shrimp with some onion and fresh garlic, add some other seasonings, add some frozen broccoli to the noodles while they are boiling (toward the end, just enough to unfreeze the broccoli) add a couple of tbsp of butter, mix it all together and you have a complete meal! My husband is still talking about it and that was two weeks ago! lol
Jun. 4, 2009 6:17 pm
I love ramen noodles too. In my 20's I called it the "Cup of Noodles" diet. I like to add cheese and butter....yum!
Jun. 4, 2009 6:35 pm
I love ramen soup, too. I usually make it with about 1/4 cup more water than the package calls for, add a good 1-2 cups of frozen mixed veggies, and when the noodles are done cooking, I lightly beat an egg and drizzle it into the soup while stirring. I finish it off with a little splash of soy sauce. YUM!
Jun. 4, 2009 6:37 pm
Looks like a great idea! I need some kind of a fix because I use to live in Japan and MISS real ramen! No place in the area sells it. All Japanese restaurants are expensive and pretty much only sell sushi.
Jun. 5, 2009 2:26 am
Thanks for all the noodle tips. I will definitly try some of these. I just read that you like to make homemade bread without a machine and wanted to leave this tip. Use more yeast than the recipe calls for. I use up to 1 TBS more and it makes a hugh difference. Also buy yeast in bulk not the small individual packets. Store in the freezer and allow yeast to come to room temperture before using (only the quantity needed for recipe). Also start with a warm bowl by pouring hot water in bowl, let set a few minutes and wipe dry before using. You may want to use two pans for a single recipe because it will rise so much!
Jun. 5, 2009 2:39 am
I have a picture of my version of this under my profile. We call it East Meets West Fried Chicken. We weren't particularly concerned over how healthy this one was because all those flavors made this a truly wickedly delicious meal. Amazing what you can do with a silly little pack of noodles.
Jun. 5, 2009 7:14 am
Love this post. Ramen of course always reminds you of all of those helpless college students out there needing a quick, cheap meal. My daughter's freshmen year, she was feeling particularly homesick and it was the week of Thanksgiving and she was coming home soon. With only a few pieces of turkey lunch meat in her mini fridge and an envelope of quick Stovetop stuffing, she made "Turkey and Dressing" in the microwave! I'm thinking that she won't have Ramen for a while as she is probably burned out, though. I really like that dry ramen noodle cabbage slaw served at some of my bunco parties.
Jun. 5, 2009 9:18 am
Great to hear from all you AR-ers about ramen love. <3 And jab, thanks for the tips. I normally do add more yeast, but was always afraid to add too much more! I'm gonna try adding up to 1 T like you said.
Jun. 5, 2009 2:15 pm
Savory is my weakness too! I actually just went out and bought about 20 packages of ramen today (which will last me a few months at least). I don't even feel guilty when I eat them. Life's too short to skip what you enjoy, and sometimes--just sometimes--it's time for ramen.
Jun. 5, 2009 4:16 pm
Well I am 56 years old and when I ran away from home after High School to find my self..I lived off of ramen noddles back in the cave days they were 2 for 25cents....can soup was 10 for a dollar...I was to proud to call my mother to tell her I was starving lol...but when I would come home to visit I wanted the "Sunday Pot Roast" and was glad to take left overs home with me .....I am glad to say I made it...and haven't missed a meal yet.... Debi
Jun. 5, 2009 4:19 pm
they're certainly cheap enough, I used the just noodles for low mien.
Jun. 6, 2009 7:02 am
I love ramen noodles. I buy the cup o soup kind with the flavors and veggies in them. After they are done, I drain them. Then I put them in a skillet with a little butter. After they saute for a few minutes I move them to the side and add a scrambled egg or two and some green onion. When that is done I mix the all together and put a little soy sauce on it and *walla* just like fried rice but with noodles. Amazing flavor!
Jun. 7, 2009 7:53 am
Its sad to me that instant noodles are the only ramen most Americans know. I like it, and its definitely popular in Japan, but it's not "ramen." I have seen it all - instant noodle vending machines with complimentary hot water, the Ramen museum in Yokohama, the Ramen Yokocho in Sapporo, and every ramen stand between the school and my host family's apartment. The soup base is really the big difference. You guys should try making your own ramen, it's not that hard and it's much healthier. You can find the noodles at most Asian groceries.
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About Me
I love to cook and eat new foods, and I aim to cook healthy, delicious meals for my family. When I'm not working as a corporate writer or taking care of my family (1 husband, 2 small children, and a cat), I'm probably reading or daydreaming about food. I'm trying to stick to my flexitarian (i.e., mostly vegetarian) diet while cooking for my meat-loving family. I have (mostly) cooking/food blogs at http://moodysattva.blogspot.com and http://www.cookingmonkey.com.
My favorite things to cook
I like to cook most things. Love spicy stuff--especially Indian food! When it comes to baking, I'm less into the super-sweet things, but have a fondness for nuts, fruits, and spices in my baked treats.
My favorite family cooking traditions
I hope to start some more family cooking traditions with my children, when they are old enough. My son sometimes helps with dinner and (especially) desserts. I'd like to include my husband here, but he's the kind of person who'd starve beside a loaf of unsliced bread. Ha, kidding. Half.
My cooking triumphs
I'd have to say...making flaky pie crust, getting my husband and son to eat (and like) fish, and learning how to make yeast breads without a machine. Getting my hubby to try 'weird' food (e.g., different ethnic foods) was also a triumph. It's not that hard to get my son to try because he's young and has a mostly blank slate as far as his tastes are concerned. ;) Most of all, learning to actually like cooking is the biggest triumph. I used to despise it!
My cooking tragedies
One of the first meals I ever made was risotto. It tasted good but it was way too sticky! Oh, and there was the time I had a cake baking in the oven and no one noticed that the fuse had blown halfway through the cooking time. Last year I tried to make doubles (Trinidadian snack food with chick peas and fried bread) and it was awful. The chickpeas were too oily, the bread not enough so; it wasn't spicy enough, and the bread was weird and misshapen. Another time I was making something sweet (cookies?) and mixed up the cinnamon and the chili pepper. Thank goodness I realised it before I mixed it all in--I scooped it out and the cookies were saved.
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