September 14, 2011

Everybody loves ramen

By Morgan Cordary–

What is it about ramen that makes it one of the most popular meals among college students? It is nearly impossible to find a dorm room that isn’t stocked with at least one package of ramen noodles. One important attribute might be the price. At well under one dollar, ramen is one of the cheapest meals to be found at the grocery store.

On average, ramen has a shelf life of nearly two years, which means it can collect dust in the back of the pantry and be retrieved later for a perfectly good lunch. My personal favorite thing about ramen noodles is how easy they are to make. They are quickly done in a microwave with little to no cleanup. But even on our poorest and busiest days, we could all use a little variety from the standard ramen. So how can you make it a bit more exciting without much effort and still staying within your budget?

The ever-popular and wonderfully spicy garlic Sriracha or “rooster” sauce is perfect to add to noodles whether you drain them for a lo mein type dish or use the water to make a ramen soup. Also, try addingone tablespoon of milk and one tablespoon of butter with the flavoring packet after draining the water. This technique is especially good with shrimp and chicken flavors as it makes a delicious cream sauce. Teriyaki sauce is great with beef ramen, and you’ll only need to use about half the seasoning. It’s easy to incorporate this 20 cent meal into other dishes –, just sprinkle uncooked broken ramen over soup, salads, or chili. Unlike most pasta, ramen straight from the package is not too hard,hard; it’s just crunchy enough to eat. Frozen vegetables like broccoli and carrots can be sautéed in an oiled skillet with the cooked noodles. Try cracking an egg into a skillet or pan full of prepared ramen then letting it cook with the piping hot noodles. ramen may not always be the ideal meal, but with a little creativity, it’s worth the quarter every time.

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Photo: Morgan Cordary/The Louisville Cardinal

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