Ramen is the most clichéd and stereotypical food to be found in a college student’s cabinets, but that’s for a reason. It’s incredibly cheap, incredibly easy to make and incredibly delicious. But with the extraordinary sensation that is a ramen packet, there is a small amount of sadness that persists in the back of the mind with every bite.
Maybe it’s the flavor packet that’s 50% salt and 50% artificial flavoring, or the fact that half of what you’re eating is just water. Whatever it is, every bite of ramen feels like a subtle reminder of just how poor and tired we are, and just how low our expectations are, as college students.
But the reason we are poor, tired and easy to please is because we are college students. That’s why I believe our meals deserve to be extra special! When we read eight chapters of several books a night and cram for three tests that we have the next day, all that we get back is a grade. With a meal however, if we can muster the energy to work a little bit harder, what we get back is an incredibly delicious experience that warms our exhausted little tummies.
That’s why over my multiple years at the University of Indianapolis, I have devised a recipe to make that classic bowl of ramen into the perfect bowl of something right. Plus, most of the ingredients used here are things you likely already have around, or at the very least should have around. Not only that but this recipe is very flexible, and you can adjust the amounts and ingredients quite a lot and it won’t be a complete disaster like that test I totally bombed last week.
- Peanut Butter
- Green Onions
- Soy Sauce
- Boil two eggs on medium-high heat for approximately six minutes. After they’ve been boiled, carefully remove them and place them in an ice bath (ice water in a bowl) for several minutes to cool. Then deshell and set aside. The eggs are important as they subdue the overboard saltiness that comes from the flavor packets.
- Finely chop a green onion or two and set aside.
- Arrange your favorite spices! I personally think red pepper flakes go great in this, but you could also add additional salt or some chili powder.
- Take two packets of ramen and separate the noodles and the flavor packets.
- Heat a pot of water on the stove on high. The amount of water that you will use will determine how much broth you will have with your ramen, so you should put more water than you think you will want as much of the water will evaporate throughout the cooking process. As the water heats up, stir in the flavor packets.
- Once boiling, introduce the noodles and let them boil for around three minutes. Bring the heat down as low as you can; probably the same number as my GPA.
- Dump in a heaping tablespoon of peanut butter as well as around two tablespoons of sriracha (some people, not naming names, might need a little less heat, and that’s ok. You can be a little flexible with the sriracha). The peanut butter makes the ramen creamy but not too thick, and the sriracha adds a delectable heat. Here you can also add any additional spices, such as the highly recommended red pepper flakes. Mix well.
- OPTIONAL: Peel and mince two large garlic cloves and a teaspoon of ginger. In an additional small pan, heat a very small amount of an oil that’s neutral, like my personality, such as vegetable or canola. Heat at a low heat, and add the garlic and ginger. You want a low heat because the point isn’t to cook the garlic and ginger, but to activate the flavor. So, instead let it cook until fragrant, or because in my case I am an abnormal mutant and cannot smell, cook until you start to see any browning happening. Immediately add a splash of soy sauce, and let it sizzle for an additional minute before pouring the whole mixture into the ramen and stirring until combined.
- Separate into bowls unless you are in fact a large fat man like me and pour the whole thing into one bowl, and top with your green onions and eggs.
And there you have it! A nice bowl of ramen or two packed with a lot more flavor and warmth than you would get just following the package instructions or by doing the highly illegal “heating it up in the microwave” trick. While the optional step is entirely unnecessary, it does take the already good broth to another level. Dare I say restaurant quality?
This should be a nice and easy recipe that you can whip up for yourself, for you and your roommate, you and your partner, your friend or you and anyone! It’s good, is easy and it’s cheap.
Ramen is always good, but if you are willing to take a few extra steps and use some other ingredients you likely already have around your kitchen, it can be oh-so much better.