Who doesn’t love instant noodles?
I mean, sure, they’re not the most nutritious option out there. (Not on their own, anyway.) Yet they’re cheap, delicious, and ridiculously easy to make. Heck, most of us here usually have a stash of these at home, right?
But did you know that you can easily turn a pack of instant noodles into a hearty and *gasp!* relatively nutritious meal with a few creative tweaks?
So, the next time you’re rushing between a video call and checking on your kid’s online learning class and oh, completely forgot to meal prep today’s breakfast, here are some things you can do to upgrade your instant noodles:
1. Crack an egg on top of it.
This is perhaps the easiest way to add protein to your meal. Simply bring the water to a boil, add your noodles, and then lower the heat to a simmer. Carefully crack an egg open on top of the noodles, and wait about three minutes.
You want the yolk to barely set so that it’ll release a creamy sauce when you cut into it.
2. Load up on cheese.
As your noodles finish cooking, lay a slice of cheese atop them. Turn off the heat, and then let the cheese sit there for a minute as it melts.
3. Slice up some leftover meat.
Got some leftover adobo from last night? Slice up the pork or chicken from the stew and use these to top your noodles. This hack works for breakfast meat like ham or sausages as well!
4. Add peanut butter.
Oh, it sounds strange, but don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. Cook the noodles, and then drain them till dry. Mix together a couple spoonfuls of peanut butter and the ramen seasonings. Stir into the noodles and enjoy!
5. Make it with milk instead of water.
I’ve used this hack with Korean instant ramen and it’s delicious! It makes the dish taste a bit like laksanoodles.
First, you cook the noodles in water for a couple of minutes. Then, you drain the noodles and set them aside. Afterwards, pour two cups of milk into the pot, add the ramen seasonings, and then bring to a boil. Add the noodles and then turn off the heat. Voilà! You’re done.
6. Whip up some improvised carbonara.
Well, sort of. No Italian would sanction this, but it’s still quite tasty.
Fry up some bacon, drain on paper towels, and chop into bits. Take a pack of instant pancit canton, preferably the original variant, and prepare as usual.
While the noodles are still piping hot, grate cheese over them and allow it to melt. Top with the chopped bacon bits.
7. Use pesto sauce instead of the seasoning packets.
Here’s another hack that would make an Italian faint. Craving for pesto, but not up to cooking up some al dente pasta? Reach for a packet of instant noodles instead!
Simply cook the noodles, drain, and then stir in a few spoonfuls of ready-made pesto sauce.
8. Slice up some veggies and make bibimbap noodles.
Stir-fry sliced cucumbers, bell peppers, and carrots in a frying pan. Set aside.
Prepare one or two packs of Extra Hot Pancit Canton. Top with the vegetables, some sliced kimchi, and a spoonful of gochujang. Add a fried egg for extra protein.
9. Make instant Chinese-style pancit canton.
Repeat the previous steps except for a few things. One, use the Original variant instead. Two, chop the vegetables into bite-sized cubes instead of strips. Lastly, add the vegetables and stir in a little oyster sauce instead of gochujang.
10. Just add butter and garlic powder.
I kid you not. It sounds almost too easy, but it works.
Cook a pack of Original Pancit Canton. Right before you add the seasoning packets, melt in some butter first. Mix in a teaspoon of garlic powder, and then finish off with the rest of the seasoning.
11. Pop in some frozen siomai as the noodles cook.
Hankering for some wonton noodles as you work past midnight? These are the next best thing.
Just whip up a bowl of chicken or beef ramen, and then toss in a few pieces of frozen siomai. Allow to boil until both the noodles and dumplings are cooked. Chopsticks optional.
One final word of caution, though. Fabulous as instant noodles are, you shouldn’t eat them all the time, okay? We wouldn’t want to be responsible for any of you getting kidney stones. Yeesh.
These hacks are best for when you’re in a pinch, or when you’re in need of an instant noodle fix but could use something a little more substantial. They’re still not a substitute for healthy, home cooked meal (or, failing that, having a nearby eatery deliver one).
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