Ramen is one of the quintessential student/poor person meals. Not that fancy stuff you can order at Big in Japan, I'm talking the super cheap square brick of dried noodles with seasoning that transforms into a super cheap meal. Everyone has a soft spot for this deliciousley cheap dish, but here are a few tricks to take $1 ramen to the next level, without breaking the bank.
1. Throw an egg in it
Egg and ramen are a classic combo, as boiled aggs are often paired with the dish. For a lazy alternative, whisk a couple of eggs and add them in when the noodles are nearly done boiling. Mix well and you'll get a cool egg element to your broth which will add that yolk-y flavour and protein to boot. If you feel like dirtying a pan, a fried egg thats still a little runny is also awesome atop ramen noodles.
2. Add Sriracha or leftovers, but mostly Sriracha
This one is kind of a no brainer. If you've got something in the fridge you cooked a night or two ago, never assume you can't add it to your ramen. Since most ramen is pretty basic in flavour (especially the chicken kind) you'll find that almost anything can be thrown in without destroying the taste. Cold chicken, pork, or beef are always welcome, as are frozen veggie-mixes. Get creative and I'm sure you won't be dissapointed.
3. Fry it up
This idea was inspired by the Ramen Burger, and essentially entails frying your ramen noodles. Submerge your noodles in boiling water for a couple of minutes, long enough so they become a little tender, not so stiff, but still generally hold their form. Heat up a pan of sesame oil (or whatever fat you have on hand) and lightly fry both sides of your semi-cooked noodle brick. Put it back in the water to gain more moisture and by the end you have crispy ramen noodles which are still very slurp-able.
4. Add a Laughing Cow Cheese
Cheese and ramen seems a little counterintuitive, but trust me on this one people. When your noodles have nearly cooked, throw in a triangle or two of La Vache Qui Rit cheese. Mix well and make sure you break up the soft cheese so that it fully melts in the broth. The soft cheese adds a lot of dimension to the spicy broth and result is a ramen soup that is smooth, slightly creamy, and utterly tasty.
5. Water --> Chicken Stock
Every grocery store ramen packet directs you to use water when boiling your noodles, which is tried, tested, and true, only a quick liquid replacement makes for much more flavour. Switch half of your water with chicken stock (or all if you're feeling adventurous) and boil as you normally would. When cooked in chicken stock, the dried noodles absorb the meaty flavour and become much more scrumptious. Beware when adding in your seasoning packet, as the chicken stock already gives a lot of salt and flavour already. Feel free to mix it up with vegetable or beef stock as well.