Friday, July 3, 2015

Better Instant Ramen

In an ideal world we'd leave our offices around midday and sit down for a leisury two-hour meal with our families. A few hours of slow home-cooked food and brisk conversation to clear our minds before we stroll back to work for the afternoon.

For most of us that ideal world does not exist. We have half an hour at a local lunch restaurant or a quick convenience-store bento before going back to work. And sometimes we're reduced to eating a sandwich or instant ramen at our desks.

That's not all bad, though. I like instant ramen. It's quick and tasty, you can prepare it with only a microwave or a hot-water bottle, and it's not so much unhealthy as simply lacking in healthy bits. It's really, really easy to improve on the plain packet of ramen. Here's my lunch Wednesday last week:

Almost everything you need for a nice lunch.
You need a pack of ramen. This time I use old-fashioned Chicken Ramen, but any kind is good. I also got a small bag of store-brand cut vegetables — lettuce and corn in this case. And I brought the raw egg from home in the morning. For cooking you only need a pair of chopsticks and a microwaveable bowl with a lid.

Start by heating water in the bowl. It takes about four minutes. Feel free to surf the web while you wait.

Adding the ramen.
Add the ramen into the almost-boiling water. Chicken Ramen is a little special since the flavouring is mixed with the noodle, not in a separate bag. That makes the noodles really tasty even before they're cooked, by the way; and Nissin even sells pre-broken Chiken Ramen noodles as a snack.

Cook the noodles in the microwave. Use the same time it says on the packet. You can cook pasta in the microwave in this way too.

Add the egg, and mix.

Add the egg and mix it roughly. You don't actually want the egg to set; instead it should thicken the soup and make it thick and filling. The egg adds protein, rounds off the flavour and makes it less salty.

Mix in the cut salad.
Lastly, mix in the cut salad into the thick soup. You have soft, springy noodles and crunchy, fresh vegetables in a thick, rich soup. Add an orange or apple for dessert and you've got yourself a meal!

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