• Do you think poorly of ramen? You wouldn’t be the only one. Most people have always believed instant noodles are a cheap late night snack. Yet, this Asian meal is greatly underestimated! In fact, it’s an Asian cuisine staple that can be cooked many ways. 

    What Are Ramen? 

    Chinese noodles are the main ingredient of this comforting bowl. Their nutritional value is like that of regular pastas. However, they differ from them because of their naturally salty taste, which is due to the mineral alkaline water used during the preparation of ramen noodles. 

    Besides, Chinese noodles made from wheat are simply delicious once added to a salty and flavourful pork broth. Originally, no other aromas were added to this dish. But soon, Japanese soy sauce, miso paste, and ramen seasonings were incorporated.

    Nowadays, pork meat, seaweeds, fermented bamboo shoots, and green onions are also associated with ramen. 

    Ramen were imported from Japan at the end of the 19th century by Chinese immigrants. In fact, its name derives from a Chinese term, lamian, which means “pulled noodles”. The expression “ramen” therefore takes on full meaning.

    Chinese noodles in restaurants?

    Ramen can be eaten at home, but also in restaurants. Indeed, there is now an infinite number of possible variations for this recipe. Nowadays, broths are made with many types of meats and even with vegetables. 

    And in fact, many Asian restaurants only serve ramen bowls. And believe us, their dishes have nothing to do with instant ramen bags! The explosion of flavours and aromas on your palate will surely amaze you. 

    How to pimp your ramen?

    No more excuses! Try out these delicious and comforting ramen bowls! To fully enjoy your experience, here are ways to pimp your instant noodles! 

    1. Broth

    Of course, a homemade broth is often the best option, since you can adjust the seasoning to your liking. Plus, you can control the nutritional values of your dish. A shop-bought broth could however be pimped as well with different oils and sauces.

    Try using soy sauce, sesame oil, fish sauce, spicy chili oil, or hoisin sauce! You could even stir-fry mushrooms, garlic, ginger, shallots, and chili paste in a pan before letting your broth simmer!

    These aromatic foods add a spicy Asian touch to the soup. Adjust the quantities to your liking! Any way you make it, broth remains essential for good ramen!

    2. Protein

    To make a delicious and filling bowl of Chinese noodles, add protein! For a vegetarian version, make marinated tofu (fried or stir-fried)! You could also add an hard-boiled egg for even more texture and nutrients in your ramen.

    Pro tip: Marinate your hard-boiled eggs in a little bit of soy sauce for a salty touch.

    The fatty parts of meats are very popular in Asia, which is why pork belly is often served with ramen. Plus, it goes marvellously well with any type of broth. For homemade ramen that are more consistant, you could also serve grilled chicken or even shrimps as a side! 

    3. Vegetables 

    Be creative and blanch many colourful vegetables. Add them with the other ingredients when serving. Carrots, radishes, broccolis, peas, edamame, corn, mushrooms… Feature crispy vegetables! For example, try bok choy, a must for traditional ramen. 

    4. Herbs 

    Greens are essential for more freshness. Cilantro, basil, or mint make excellent options to pimp your ramen. Bean sprouts are also very popular in Asian cuisine. Plus, they add a little crunch to your ramen. Add them at the last minute to your broth and noodles. Do the same with herbs to keep them fresh. 

    5. Crunch

    Adding crunchy foods can dramatically change your dish. A good blend of textures is just as important as one of flavours!

    So, sprinkle crushed peanuts, crispy nori leaves, or sesame seeds on your ramen to pimp it!