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Upgrade Your Instant Noodles With These Hacks

Upgrade Your Instant Noodles With These Hacks

By SOL VANZI

Instant ramen saved my life many times when I was a new bride and newly settled in Hong Kong in the 1970s. I was just learning Cantonese and the supermarkets and neighborhood grocery stores catering to expats were my only convenient food sources. Their goods had English labels. Instant ramen of many flavors to suit many nationalities beckoned from their shelves.

Instant ramen noodles—cheap, tasty, and so easy to prepare—became my daytime meals while the husband was at his day job. Tired of their original flavors, I very quickly resorted to mixing and matching various ingredients and came up with dishes good enough to serve to visitors and unexpected dinner guests.

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Many years have passed, yet the feeling of comfort from a bowl of instant ramen lingers. In these days of quarantine and food rations, however, it gets tiring to eat it plain for survival. I dug into my memory bank for ways to turn instant noodles into healthy meals by adding protein, veggies, herbs, and spices.

Oriental Salad

Cook noodles without flavor packet contents, drain, and cool. Make a dressing of peanut butter, vinegar, sugar, salt, light soy sauce, and sesame oil. Add sliced cucumber, carrots, and jicama (singkamas) to noodles. Stir everything together. Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds on top. Garnish with hardboiled eggs, crumbled nori, and crab sticks (kani), and fried tofu cubes.

Korean Noodles 

Cook noodles in water with flavor packet contents. At the last minute, add kimchi and some kimchi juice. Garnish with spring onions, julienned carrots, scrambled eggs,and dash of sesame oil.

Ramen Carbonara

In a bowl, beat an egg yolk with two tablespoons of milk or cream, three tablespoons grated cheese, coarse black pepper, and one tablespoon olive oil or melted butter. Cook two packs instant ramen without flavor packet contents. Drain and dump into cheese-egg mixture. Mix thoroughly and serve while hot.

Ramen Sisig

Cook ramen with flavor packet contents. Drain and mix with hot sisig, chopped onions, and green bell peppers. Serve on sizzling plate. Top with fresh raw egg.

Minestrone

Crush noodles to break into inch-long pieces. Boil water with the flavor packet contents, bay leaf, and diced mixed veggies (carrots, celery, green peas, green and red pepper, potatoes, zucchini, onions, and tomatoes), and cooked kidney beans. When veggies are done, add crushed noodles and simmer for two minutes. Top with grated cheese. Serve with toasted bread.

Ramen Palabok 

Dissolve flavor pack contents in one cup of boiling water. Color with achuete. Thicken with cornstarch dissolved in water. Stir in sliced cabbage, carrots, and beans. Cook noodles in water, drain, and top with sauce. Garnish with leftover fried fish, adobo, mussels, crushed fish crackers, and tinapa flakes. Serve with calamansi.

Tags: Food, Sol Vanzi, Upgrade Your Instant Noodles With These Hacks