I’ve never met a single person who doesn’t love noodles, have you? When the world seems to be a scary place, there’s nothing more comforting than a huge bowl of noodles. And while noodles are already a pretty quick dish, who doesn’t love speedy tricks to get them from stove to table now? And that’s where this Ramen Hack comes in. Using the ultra convenience of packaged instant ramen noodles (yes, the instant ramen you ate in college!), this meaty and veggie packed dish is a one pot wonder. Perfect for back to school, late night dinners, or anytime you want something universally appealing and fast. Let me show you how easy it is to make this Ramen Hack.
Instant ramen is mostly known as fare for college kids on a tight budget. But there are many reasons why supermarkets are flooded with these packages. They are quick, cheap, filling, and flavorful. Even a regular grocery store in the US will carry multiple brands and if you stroll through the aisles of an Asian grocery store, your mind will be blown by the incredible variety available.
Pre-boiled and then either flash fried or air-dried, these noodle blocks are not only great for a quick snack, but they are also the perfect canvas for plenty of creative meals. The sheer number of ramen hacks available attest to the fact that instant ramen is something everyone likes and can make-no intimidation factor. So if cooking is not necessarily your thing, let this instant ramen hack be your gateway to successfully cooking meals.
I use ground beef for this in an Asia homage to that American favorite, beef and macaroni, but you can swap it out for chicken or turkey, even the ground meat substitutes would work well. And if you want to use up some leftover roast chicken or even some deli meat, a package of tofu, or a handful of veggies, go right ahead; there are no rules in a hack!
As with any hack, the secret is in the sauce. And that salt heavy flavor packet is something that has to go. Instead, we use a couple of simple pantry ingredients that everyone should have: soy sauce, sugar, and toasted sesame oil to flavor the noodles.
The one ingredient you must include to enjoy the full benefits of this hack, is kimchi, the real star here. It adds flavor, texture, and you get to feel good because a cup of kimchi gives you several veggies at once! Many times people will ask me what to do with older kimchi that may have been sitting in the back of the fridge for a couple weeks. Is it still good, should I chuck it, how do I use it? Any Korean worth her salt would tell you that you are sitting on ingredient gold. Because kimchi rarely goes bad.
You can eat kimchi starting from the day you make it and months later, as long as it has not spoiled. If you have kept it refrigerated and used a clean utensil every time you’ve reached into the container, you should be fine. As long as there is no signs of spoilage, like fuzzy mold, a change in texture, or the kimchee juice has turned gloppy thick, you can happily continue to enjoy your aged kimchi.
One of the best reasons to have ripe kimchi is that it’s the only type that can flavor your soups, stews, rices, and pancakes in that authentic way. You need that pungent sour punch to really give your food a good zing zing. It’s just not the same if you’re using some fresh kimchi. So save your kimchi and never toss it!
This Ramen Hack is on the table in 10 minutes tops, and I know you’re going to love it! Please take a moment to rate and comment on the recipe below, and please show us your Ramen Hacks by tagging us @funkyasiankitchen.
- 1 Tablespoon oil
- 4 scallions, minced and separated into white and green parts
- ½ pound ground beef
- 1 cup ripe napa kimchi, chopped
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 2–3 instant ramen noodle blocks ( approximately 250 grams total weight)*
- Heat a large 12 inch skillet over medium high heat. Add the oil, swirl the pan to coat the surface and add the ground beef. Let it cook, undisturbed, for a minute.
- Add the white part of the scallions plus the kimchi and stir- fry for 2 minutes, using a chopping motion with your spoon or spatula to break up the meat and combine it with the vegetables.
- Add the soy sauce and sugar and stir fry for an additional minute.
- Turn the heat to high. Add the ramen noodles and 2 cups of water. Cook for 30 seconds and then flip the noodle blocks. Cook for an additional minute.
- Using chopsticks or tongs, stir the noodles into the meat mixture and continue to cook for an additional minute. The liquid will have mostly evaporated and the noodles cooked al dente firm. If your ramen noodles are extra thick, you may need to add a little more water (1/4 cup) and continue cooking for a couple more minutes.
- Add the reserved green part of the scallions and sesame oil. Stir to incorporate. Serve immediately.
*Some instant ramen noodle packages are significantly larger than others. You can use any kind you like but keep the total weight around 250 grams for this recipe. Also use noodles that cook in 3-4 minutes or you will need to add a little more water and cook for a longer time.
Keywords: ramen hack, kimchi, instant ramen, noodles, one pot meal