If you're in college chances are you've eaten a bowl of instant ramen. It is incredibly affordable, and surprisingly tasty. Because its cheap and delicious, a cult following of the Maruchan brand has formed. Ramen can be traced back to China, and then in the early 1900s, the Japanese began to perfect the wheat noodle dish. In order to honor its origins, I suggest we all spend a little extra time to make better ramen, easily!

All you need to brighten up your bowl of noodles, is a few fresh ingredients and a small cupboard of seasonings. Things such as ginger, garlic, onions (green onions if you are feeling extra traditional) and fresh herbs. Make sure you have a bottle of soy sauce, fish sauce and spices such as: chili flakes, sesames seeds, and garlic powder, on hand. Here's two ways to make better ramen!

Soak Your Noodles

The most common way of preparing ramen is too boil the noodles for a few minutes, this simultaneously rehydrates and heats the noodles. If you have the extra time, try soaking the noodles in cool water for about thirty minutes. This will hydrate the noodles, but will grant more options for serving the noodles. Some people enjoy the noodles cold, seasoned to their preference with plenty of fresh veggies, creating an asian

inspired salad. I am a huge fan of soaking my noodles, and adding them to a stir-fry. (I should also mention that the noodles can be prepared according to the packages instructions, similar to this recipes stir-fry.)

pasta, vegetable, sauce, spaghetti, noodle, chicken, meat
Hana Dibe

This can be something as simple as sautéing some minced garlic, diced onions, dried chilies and possibly a protein of the dealers choice. Add the noodles one the other ingredients are almost cooked through and add a splash or too of soy sauce, et voila! A quick and ridiculously mouth-watering way to make better ramen. 

Soup From Scratch 

Another way to make a better ramen is by flavoring it with your own stock. A stock is simply introducing intense flavor to water by boiling a combination of seasonings, aromatics and anything else you want to add! A simple stock that works great with ramen can be made with the following: roughly chopped garlic, onion and ginger, a handful of lemon grass, leftover bones (chicken, pork or beef) from a roast, salt, peppercorns and chili flakes for added heat. Add all your ingredients to a large pot of water, bring to a boil and let simmer for up to 12 hours.

vegetable, soup, carrot, broth, meat, legume, onion, celery
Jacky Falkenberg

Then strain the stock to remove all the solid parts, be sure to have a container to catch the precious liquid! Cool it quickly if you prepared the stock ahead of time, and it will hold for about five days in the fridge or up to six months in the freezer! 

When it comes time to make your improved ramen bowl, boil the noodles just like normal in your stock and feel free to add any toppings you so choose. I like mine with a hardboiled egg, green onion, grilled chicken slices, a splash of both soy and fish sauce, and some chili puree for spice! This can make the best bowl of ramen imaginable, in a surprisingly easy way. Once the stock is on the stove, it only requires a stir every hour or so. 

It'd Make Miso Happy... 

...to see everyone who enjoys ramen, go the extra mile to make it better. Although it does require additional effort, the added work will turn a package of dry noodles, into something delicious. Not only will you learn a new technique in the kitchen, but you will be left satisfied with a bowl of better ramen!