A white bowl shot from above, containing ramen noodles, mushrooms, spring onion, chillies and tofu, with a wooden pair of chopsticks placed on top.
Credit: Erin Doak

Spice up your noodles

By Charlotte Scrivener

Writer Charlotte Scrivener shares three simple but game-changing recipes to elevate your instant noodles.

Noodles are, I think, one of the finer joys in life. You could offer me noodles at pretty much any time and I would be happy to accept. Their versatility? Unmatched. Different shapes, sauces, sizes, and flavours, from hand stretched biang biang noodles, to carbonara, to the simple instant noodle that, for a lot of students, make up a significant portion of their diet. Among the variety of options there are, for me, two main contenders for winner: sesame ramen from Nissin Demae, and Indomie’s mi goreng. Your chosen brand of instant noodles can be a touchy subject (Shin Ramyum devotees I’m looking at you), but Indomie and Nissin have the range. Mi goreng is an Indonesian dry noodle without soup, whereas Nissin Demae’s is ramen, meant to be enjoyed with the broth. Both of these noodles can be made more exciting, nutritious, and delicious in a variety of ways, although for both I will say that spring onions are a non-negotiable. If you want to take your instant noodles from a feeling-sorry-for-yourself hangover meal to Insta worthy comfort food, all you need to do is slice some spring onions on top, and you’re there. For those of you looking for something a bit more though, read on.

The basics

1 egg
2 spring onions
Chilli oil to serve (the best is Lao Gan Ma, but Lee Kum Kee is good as well!)
A handful of frozen peas (or sweetcorn/any other frozen veg)
1 lime

The first step to upping your noodle game is cooking them on the hob – the package says to put boiling water in a bowl, but it’s never quite the same. So, get some water boiling, and pop your noodles in there – if you’re going for ramen, pour the seasoning into the water with it now. 

Next slice your spring onions up.

By now the noodles should be about halfway there, so add in your frozen veg (if you’re using something bulky, like broccoli, you might want to add this earlier).

While that heats back up, the next step will depend on if you’re using ramen or mi goreng. If ramen, once the water has come back to a boil, all you’re going to do is crack the egg intox the water with the noodles. Depending how full your pot is, it’ll either drop to the bottom, or sit on top of the noodles – either way, you’re getting a pretty good poached egg.

If you’ve gone for mi goreng, heat some oil in a pan until it’s nice and hot, and then crack your egg in there – you want it crispy, so make sure the oil is hot. 

Once your eggs and noodles are done, it’s time to serve. If mi goreng, drain the water, put the noodles back in the pot, and mix in the seasonings, leaving a bit of water to help with the mixing, and slide the egg on top. For the ramen, use a slotted spoon to pull the egg out, pour the noodles and broth into a bowl, and place the egg back in.

Top both with spring onions, a squeeze of lime, and some chilli oil, and tuck in.

Satay mi goreng

1 tbsp peanut butter (crunchy is best)
1 lime
1 pak choi, or other green veg
1 egg
2 spring onions
Sesame seeds to serve (not necessary, but a nice little touch!)

To start with again, get a pot of boiling water going, and chuck your noodles in. We are fancy and do not want dry bowl noodles!

In a small pan, heat up the provided seasoning oil. Pour the dry seasonings in and mix them together until they start smelling fragrant.

Next add a tablespoon of peanut butter to the pan with the oil. Depending how thick it is, add a splash of water now to loosen it up, and give that a good stir until it turns into a sauce, adding a squeeze of sriracha.

Same as before, cook the egg in a hot pan with vegetable oil to get those crispy edges, and put whatever vegetables you’re using into the water with the noodles.

Once it’s cooked, drain the noodles before mixing them into your peanut sauce. Top with the egg, spring onions and sesame seeds, and add more sriracha as required. And then be filled with crushing disappointment that you only made one bowl.

Ginger mushroom ramen

A handful of mushrooms
1 tsp ginger
2 cloves of garlic
2 spring onions
1 egg
A handful of frozen peas

Start by chopping up your mushrooms, ginger and garlic – you don’t have to be too fussy here, as long as they’re not too chunky. Again, boil some water in a pan, and put the noodles in with the provided seasoning – if you want the broth to taste more gingery, you can also add a bit of the chopped ginger into the water.

In a pan, heat some oil and add the ginger and garlic. When that’s fragrant, put your chopped mushrooms in, and stir them until they’re soft. While you’re doing this, add any other veg you want to your broth, and then crack an egg in there.

Once the noodles are done, serve topped with the egg and gingery mushrooms, and soak up that warming goodness.


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