It may be strange to say, but I love the taste of instant ramen. I love the over-the-top seasoning packets, which tend to be overly salty. I love the thick, par-cooked, wheat noodles that give just the right amount of bite. I love everything about instant ramen – except the health aspect.
Now, I’m not one of those students, who lived off ramen during college. I loved to cook even then, so I was a tad more gourmet. It wasn’t until I moved to Asia after school that I tried what amazing packaged ramen could taste like. I didn’t realize that not all ramen broths had to taste like bouillon cubes. Ramen noodles didn’t have to be so thin that by the time boiling water was poured over that it tasted overcooked already.
Ramen has surely come a long way for me, but as good as it gets, it’s still laden with MSG and artificial ingredients. I wondered if there was a way I could make my own ramen packets, so that I could fill it with the ingredients that I wanted – so that I would at least know what ingredients were in the broths.
I tested out several recipes and was quite surprised at how easy it was to get very flavorful, ramen-tasting broth, with very little ingredients. With just garlic and onion powder, you’re nearly halfway there. I added shiitake mushrooms and crushed wakame seaweed for that umami flavor without having to add MSG. For my base, I opted for powdered miso, which provided a nice, savory and meaty backdrop without having to add too much salt or include meat. I also tested with bases like bouillon cubes and artificial “meat flavorings” and all of them were delish! I opted for miso powder because it provided amazing flavor with plenty of health benefits, but if you don’t have powdered miso, you could easily opt for other seasoning blends. The only thing you may have to adjust with the miso is if you prefer your ramen to be on the saltier side, which I do, you may want to add a bit more salt as compared to bouillon cubes, which already contain plenty of salt.