Instant noodles are a fast and easy meal for a reason. These packages were specifically made so that it could not only last longer but would cook fast, too.
This is the reason it's such a convenient food to have in your kitchen. When hunger strikes and you are unprepared for cooking anything more complicated, you can rely on one of these packages to be ready in 5 minutes or less to see you through.
However, it's also not a good idea to be consuming only instant noodles. You do not have to stick to just what's in the package to make your meal. Here are ideas on how you can make your instant noodles more hearty and maybe a little healthier because of these instant noodle hacks:
1. Add more vegetables.
If you take a look at ingredients of the seasoning packet, you'll see dehydrated vegetables are on the list. Carrots, leeks, and corn are the common vegetables you will see that is included in the sachet. However, the fresh version of these ingredients are not hard to find! You can grab frozen corn and carrots or use the canned food versions of these to use in your instant noodle dish. Use the leafy tops of carrots to add a little green into your bowl. You can even chop off some herbs, such as green onion, basil, or even parsley, to make your instant noodles healthier with fresh ingredients.
Just remember that for your instant noodles to stay fast and easy, slice your vegetables thinly or into small cubes to make cooking these just as fast and easy as the noodles need to cook through as well.
2. Halve or skip the seasoning packet.
Instant noodles were originally just that. Noodles. Back then, the package of an instant noodle package contained only the noodles. That is until people clamored for better-tasting instant noodles and the seasoning packets that we commonly find were introduced to the market.
However, while these packets are super useful and make flavoring your noodles a no-brainer, you can skip the packet altogether or halve it instead. This is a great idea when you want a fast meal but don't necessarily want the same taste that your package contains.
Here's where you can exercise your flair in the kitchen and introduce fresh ingredients and flavors to your dish. Use the sauces of pancit and pasta recipes to make your version of a fast and easy recipe. The sauce recipe for the mie goreng dish is a great example to use instead of using the seasoning packet. You can make a peanut sauce from a peanut noodles recipe or the phad Thai sauce for one serving to toss with your cooked instant noodles.
If you're craving stir-fried noodles instead of ramen, you can use halve or even one quarter of the seasoning packet to flavor the noodles before tossing these with fresh vegetables.
3. Add meaty chunks, too.
The ram-don dish in the Korean movie "Parasite" is a classic example of how one ingredient added to an instant noodle can transform it into a dish worthy of a fine dining restaurant. While a wagyu ribeye steak is certainly more extravagant for everyday meals, you can level up your dish in a similar way.
Sear your preferred ground meat in a pan before adding it to the ramen or stir fry some chicken chunks and add this to the instant pancit canton dish. You can even add fish balls and squid balls, fried or soft tofu, and other hotpot ingredients to your ramen to amp up the heartiness of your noodle bowl.
4. Level up your leftovers.
Do you have leftover bulalo, nilaga, tinola, or even sinigang soup? You are in luck if you do because these make the best kind of soup to simmer your instant noodles in without needing to do anything more than reheat the soup. What is so great about these leftovers is that its soup will instantly flavor your noodles plus any leftover meats and veggies make it into a meal that doesn't require more ingredients. Just shred or chop into smaller pieces and let it simmer with the noodles until ready to serve.
Got instant noodles to make into a meal? Why not try these ways to make it better?
* This story originally appeared on Yummy.ph. Minor edits have been made by the Preview.ph editors.