If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, then you know that instant ramen is one of my favorite foods. I’ve literally been consuming it since I could conquer solid foods! My mom would make instant beef flavored ramen topped with spam and a fried egg pretty regularly. It was a quick, easy, and tasty meal that we always enjoyed. When I went to architecture school, I was sort of shocked that no one ever put toppings on their ramen.
“How could you not even fry an egg to put on top?!”
“You’re literally going to eat ramen out of the styrofoam?!”
“What do you mean you don’t have your own personal noodle soup bowl complete with chopsticks and a soup spoon?!”
I had a lot of questions… and I felt like I needed to educate everyone who would listen to me about the endless possibilities of instant ramen. So, I had like 1 person who was interested. Still to this day, I ALWAYS have a few packages of instant ramen in our kitchen. They are perfect for quick breakfasts, a lazy lunch, or a salty late night treat after staying out late to go see a bluegrass concert. Okay, that last situation might only apply to Reuben and me. I always need to add toppings though. An egg at least to make it feel like a well rounded meal. You can add practically whatever you have in your pantry or fridge. For a complete bowl of ramen you need a protein and a vegetable (or something green) to compliment the noodles and soup.
Here are Some of My Favorite Ramen Toppings!
Spam - classic topping, don’t be afraid of the canned meat
Soft boiled egg - 6-7 minutes is perfect in my book
Fried Egg - The crispy edges are a great texture with the soft chewy noodles and soup!
Char Siu - expert level topping
Fish Tofu - sounds weird, but go buy some from your local asian market and thank me later
Regular Tofu - silken tofu is wonderful in soup!
Leftover rotisserie chicken - throw that leftover breast right in there!
Shrimp - might be my favorite!
Corn - I guess that’s a grain… but it’s still tasty!
For most of these veggies, you can just boil them in the broth to cook them!
Nori Sheets - I always have some in my pantry
Furikake - also always in my pantry
Scallions - everything is better with scallions!
Crushed Roasted Peanuts or Cashew - adds a nice texture
Citrus slices- only if it works with your soup flavor
Options are endless!
How to Make Your Instant Ramen Fancy!
Choose your noodle.
For this Coconut Sesame Ramen, I started by using Ottogi Sesame Ramen, which is a brand from South Korea! Their noodles are probably the chewiest and most satisfying instant noodles I’ve ever encountered! It is always so disappointing when there are barely any noodles in the package and they end up tasting like limp cardboard. These are great! I encourage you to take a few minutes studying the instant ramen aisle of your local asian market. There are so many great options there!
Cook the noodles and the soup in separate pots.
It may seem like an unnecessary extra step for such a simple recipe, but trust me. Cooking the noodles in a separate pot and rinsing them under cold water will allow your noodles to stay super al dente. Once the noodles are combined with the broth they will continue to cook and we don’t want soggy noodles.
To make your soup broth, boil water, coconut milk, and the dried soup mix. Then add in your protein. In this case, we’re going to add some shrimp. The shrimp will impart a lot of great seafood flavor in your soup! If you’re going to add a vegetable that needs to soften, you would add it now too. Cook until all the contents are at your desired doneness.
Assemble your noodle bowl.
Place your noodle bundle in a bowl. Carefully pour the soup over the noodles. Then top with your protein, veggies, and extra toppings. You can either just throw everything in there or take an extra minute to compose everything for a quick Instagram!
This Ottogi Coconut Sesame Ramen is something I wish I knew about when I was in college! The noodles have such a great texture. The soup is spicy, rich, and a little creamy from the coconut milk. And lastly, the toppings are fun and diverse, which make taking each bite of this ramen feel like a little flavor adventure!
Coconut Sesame Ramen
1 package of Ottogi Sesame Ramen
1 ½ cup water - for soup
½ cup canned coconut milk
3 shrimps - peeled, but with tails and head still on
Purple Daikon - thinly sliced
Radishes - thinly sliced
Lime wedge - for garnish
Nori Sheets - for topping
Scallion Greens - for topping
Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, add the ramen noodles into the water and cook for 2 minutes, until al dente. Drain and rinse noodles under cold water. Place drained noodles in a bowl.
While the water is boiling in step 1, bring 1 ½ cups of water and coconut milk to a simmer. Add in dried soup mix and the shrimp. Boil for 5 minutes.
Pour the soup over the cooked ramen noodles. Top with thinly sliced daikon and radishes, scallions, cooked shrimp, nori sheets. Finish with a squeeze of lime.