Hack Your Ramen Addiction


Priscilla Baek

Here is a simple five minute bowl of shin ramen topped off with a fried egg and some kale.

Priscilla Baek and Jacob Kim

In under five minutes, you can have a warm, simmering bowl of ramen. The popular Japanese dish is an inexpensive meal for students, but the same packaged flavor can get old. Here are some tips to revamp, reflavor and renew your love for instant noodles.

Despite the delicious crimped noodles, you are left hungry minutes after. Adding protein to the simmering pot gives it both flavor and substantial nutrition.

Not sure how to incorporate protein? One simple way is to crack an egg three minutes before your noodles are done into the broth to cook. If you like your eggs sunny-side up, fry an egg and place it on top of your noodles. Voila!

Not into eggs? The list of proteins to add is endless, so experiment with different ingredients such as pork belly, chicken, seafood, tofu or miso paste. Like the famous anime “Naruto,” consider adding narutomaki, a Japanese fish cake found in most Asian markets.

Vegetarian? No worries, there are plenty of vegetables to make ramen more nutritious but just as delicious. Some vegetables you could try are mushrooms, green onions, corn, broccoli or kimchi. Another popular topping is salad greens such as bok choy and spinach. You will feel less guilty consuming an otherwise unhealthy bowl of ramen.

If you want to throw out the rulebook of cooking altogether, be creative! Many regular ramen eaters incorporate unusual pairings of food. How about some Sriracha to give your broth a spicy kick? If you want a creamier broth, add a slice or two of American cheese.

Looking like an inflated panda the morning after you eat ramen? You probably need to cut back on the salt to avoid bloating. Fortunately, low-sodium ramen broth is easy to make. Here is a recipe for low-sodium broth.


16 oz. low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth

1-2 tsp. soy sauce

2 cloves of crushed garlic

2 green onions, chopped

½ oz kombu (optional)

4 shiitake mushrooms, dried

1 tsp. sesame oil (optional)

  1. Simmer either the vegetable or chicken broth over medium heat.
  2. Add garlic, green onion, kombu, mushrooms and soy sauce to taste.
  3. Simmer for 10-15 minutes depending on depth of flavor preferred.
  4. Add sesame oil (optional).
  5. Strain liquid to remove garlic, mushrooms and kombu.
  6. Place garlic and mushrooms back into the broth if desired.
  7. Discard kombu.

Enjoy your broth with the ramen noodles and any additional ingredients as desired!

This recipe was adapted from the Chicago Tribune.