Ever since Momofuku Ando first introduced the world to freeze dried, instant noodles, students and struggling cooks everywhere have been rightly singing his praises. Thanks to Ando, cooking is no longer the preserve of those who have actual ingredients. Now, all you need is a plastic pot and boiling water. It might not be Michelin-worthy, but it’s still delicious.
On the surface, instant ramen looks relatively simple. However, once you’ve mastered the art of sachet, stirring and slurping, it turns out that there are a whole host of other hacks and tips that can turn your noodles into so much more than a sloppy, stringy pile. For anyone who likes to think outside the box, here are X incredible things that you can do with instant ramen noodles.
1. Sachet seasoning
Usually laced with salt, MSG and all sorts of chemically enhanced yumminess, noodle seasoning sachets can be a kitchen’s secret weapon. If you’re worried about your dinner being a little bland, try cooking up a portion of French fries or wedges and seasoning them with whatever powder came with your noodles.
2. Taco shells
It might make a traditional Mexican cook turn away in horror, but there’s no doubt that instant noodle taco shells are as delicious as they are Instagrammable. The key when cooking is to make sure that your noodles are boiled so as to become just pliable and not snapped. Then they can be properly shaped before fried for perfectly cooked crispiness.
3. Italian Style
Once you’ve got your noodles, there’s no need to stick with whatever flavour comes inside the packaging. If you feel like something different, adding a mixture of tomatoes, oregano, onions and cheese is a great way to transform a traditionally Asian staple into an easy Italian feast.
4. Noodle Toastie
Even chefs love the potential of a Pot Noodle. In an interview with “Delicious”, head chef at Mr Wong restaurant Daniel Hong revealed that his favourite snack after a long shift involves ramen noodles, “chopped frankfurts or any leftover meat, and some chopped kimchi,” all mixed with cheese, sandwiched between two slices of white bread and cooked in a panini press.
5. Salty Snacking
Instant noodles’ crunchy texture makes them an ideal ingredient for creating your own range of homemade street snacks. Online, there are numerous recipes for instant noodle bhel puri and bombay mix, proving that the food can be used for much more than satisfying a late night ramen craving.
6. Noodle Arancini
It isn’t just old rice that can make for an awesome deep fried dumpling. Transform cold instant ramen by stuffing it with cheese, shaping it into individual balls, panéing and deep frying to produce crisp “arancini” balls without the hassle of making an entire risotto.
7. Burger Buns
It might be slightly silly, but there’s no denying that this hack is still an impressive sight. By gently cooking, shaping and refrigerating the noodles before use, creative cooks can come up with almost any shape that they like. Stuffing to noodle buns with beef patties and cheese is just an added incentive to get creative.
Often under-appreciated by those who think they are above dabbling around on the instant ramen aisle, it’s obvious that the more you look at Ando’s creation, the more opportunities there are for expressing yourself. They might sometimes get a bad rep, but that doesn’t mean that noodles aren’t still awesome.