Updated: Oct 7, 2020
Asian supermarkets are amazing, but mostly for Asians.
For others, Asian supermarkets could be a place of mystery, a potential new wonderful world, but masked by all its foreignness.
I want to show you the way, so that one day, you will also be able to smoothly navigate in your local Asian supermarkets.
Let’s kick off with something easy:
Cook instant ramen like a feast, with 9 ingredients in Asian supermarket.
How to make your instant ramen better:
There are so many recipe guides online to make instant ramen.
I’m totally in for the universal upgrade of cracking an egg and/or adding a piece of cheddar cheese.
But on top of that, here are my favourite combo of ingredients to add in the instant ramen:
1. Instant ramen/Instant noodles
The 1st ingredient to get is of course, the right instant ramen.
2 criteria for a bag of good instant ramen: the noodle quality and the taste quality.
The noodles should still be chewy after boiling, that you still feel the entangling strength of the gluten. The taste should be interesting and complex, not tasting like salt and msg powder.
My favourite 3 instant ramen are:
- Shin Ramyen:
Is it Korean’s best seller? Because everybody loves it! I love the noodles are thick and chewy even after long time of boiling, and the taste is strong with a great spiciness.
Be aware that it could taste too spicy, if you are not used to chillies-
- Uni-President Ramen - Chinese pickles with beef flavour:
This is a Chinese/Taiwan brand. The noodles are thinner, but still great. The flavour is very interesting, thanks to the complex sourness brought by the Chinese pickles. There is even a bag of Chinese pickles accompanied in the instant ramen bag.
- Nissin Demae Ramen - Tokyo Shoyu Tonkatsu flavour:
This is the most famous Japanese instant ramen brand. The instant ramen in the Tonkatsu series are all great. The soup base is really rich and hearty, doesn’t feel fake at all.
2. Dried Wakame /Algea
This is a great ingredient to enrich the soup base. Unique umami from the sea flavour. The dried wakame can re-hydrate itself in water within 30s.
3. Enoki mushroom
Mushrooms are also a great soup base enhancer, and Enoki mushroom’s texture is fun to mix with the noodles.
4. Winter melon
Winter melon itself tastes pretty bland, which makes it able to absorb a lot of flavours from the ramen soup. On top, it offers a mellow texture after cooking, which is nice to jump too while eating instant noodles.
5. Pak Choi
Pak Choi is getting so popular nowadays that I can even buy them in normal supermarkets. Needless to say, their function is to add greenness to the ramen soup. So we could tank some fibre and vitamins from it.
6. Konjac Noodles
Konjac is a plant/vegetable that is native in Yunnan, China, and cultivated in subtropical and tropical regions in Asia. It is said to have very low calories while offering a lot health benefits.
But these are not the only reasons for me to put konjac noodles into my ramen soup. I like them for their unique texture between crunchy and chewy. It’s very nice to interchange with the noodles.
7. Silk Tofu
Boil the tofu in the instant ramen to absorb flavour. Then take a bite and feel it melting in the mouth. The silk tofu makes the ramen complete.
8. Chinese pickles/ Zha Cai
Zha Cai is a type of pickled mustard plant stem, which is native to the Chongqing area in China. Just like pickled cucumbers, it is appetising, and offers a refreshing taste on the side to clear the palette.
9. Luncheon meat
For the die-hards, let’s add a few pieces of friend luncheon meat.
The most famous brand is probably “Spam”, but I normally buy the Ma-Ling brand. It’s softer and not overly salty.
With all of these ingredients, or just a small subset of them, we can have a very rich and nutritious meal within 10 minutes, while enjoying some exotic flavours.
How do you like to cook your instant ramen?
What’s your favourite instant ramen?
Let me know in the comments!
If you are new to Chinese cooking, check out my introductory course to Chinese cooking:
Learn Authentic Chinese Home Cooking in 6 Recipes.
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