Cheap Ways to Dress Up Your Ramen
While ramen is a cheap and simple meal without much nutrition or exotic flavorings, there are a few ways to dress it up and make it more delectable and appetizing. Try adding chopped peanuts, hot sauce, sweet chili sauce, hot mustard, and more.
Make it Taste Like New
Since ramen noodle packages come with seasoning, most people don't think to add anything else. But there's a whole world of potential ramen mix-and-match combinations. And now that you know how to cook ramen without a stove and make your ramen healthier, you're ready for the final step: extra flavor. Here are some ideas for cheap and easy additions to your noodle bowl.
It might seem a little strange at first, but peanut sauce isn't an uncommon Asian food accompaniment. You can give your ramen a little bit of savory depth with about a teaspoonful of peanut butter, or a few tablespoons of chopped peanuts. You can adjust the amount to your liking, but a little bit will go a long way.
This is probably a 'no duh' for people who can't live without spice, but for those who don't usually use hot sauces, ramen's a great way to introduce yourself to them. There are a lot of surprisingly flavorful sauces out there than can add more than heat to your meal. Try one of the many brands of sriracha sauce, or a sauce that has a vinegar base for an extra flavor boost.
Sweet Chili Sauce
Sweet chili sauce is more sweet than hot, and it can give people who are totally averse to spiciness a means of introducing some mild pepper flavor into their dish. Because it's so sweet, a light hand might still be a good idea, unless you want a syrupy broth to go with your noodles.
Rather than the standard yellow, Dijon or deli-style varieties you probably put on your sandwiches, Chinese mustard has a peppery kick. It's prepared differently than Western-style mustards, and it's a great addition to ramen. Start with a small dose and add more to taste.
This vegetarian sauce has a mix of different ingredients, including sugar, vinegar and garlic. It has a deep, rich flavor, and though it's fairly thick, it is commonly used as an accompaniment to pho, the Vietnamese noodle soup that's become popular in the U.S. Hoisin sauce usually has a fair bit of sodium, and may even contain some MSG, so you'll want to either use it sparingly or cut down on the amount of flavor packet you add.
Fresh herbs make a great addition to ramen, and their bright green color can also help make it look prettier. Chives, cilantro and basil are all great options with flavors that are commonly found in Asian cooking. Whether you chop them fine or put whole leaves in your broth, you'll get some bright, fresh flavor to accompany your meal.
This is the last set of tips on how to keep ramen noodles cheap without allowing the dish to get boring. Previously, we covered how to cook ramen with a microwave or electric kettle and how to make ramen into a cheap, substantial meal.