Living all alone is rough enough without having to worry about it being the end of the month and just trying to hang on until that next paycheck. I have found that instant Ramen has saved me in some very tight spaces where I was down to my last dollar. Yet, eating the same thing for five days without it changing is rough. I found five ingredients that make it bearable as well as changes it up.
#1 Green Onions
This ingredient, I use on a regular basis. It is in about every grocery store and is normally very cheap in price year-round. When making the Ramen broth, drop the green onion root ends in with the broth, boil the ends for a couple minutes, then remove the roots from your broth. Use the cut greens to garnish the top of your Ramen. Even through it is simple, it adds just a touch of freshness to your meal to put it to the next level.
The Egg. You can get this in any grocery store and if you're like me, working full time at minimum wage, you might travel to the local food bank. If that's the case, you can get them there as well. The beautiful thing about the egg is that you can cook it however you like — over-easy, poached, hard-boiled, or soft-boiled. The possibilities are endless. Along with eating all those carbohydrates, it's a good way to add some protein to balance out your diet.
The carrot is not only great for the eyes, but adding it to Ramen gets your soup a bit of color and adds a touch of sweetness. I find the best way to add to the Ramen is to cut the carrots into thin small strips in a matchstick form. This cut is called a julienne cut in culinary terms. There are two ways to use these: one is to drop the carrots in your broth and let it boil. The other is to just cook in a pan lightly with salt and oil and add on after the Ramen is made.
This one is for more adventurist eaters. Not a lot of people do like tofu, but before you judge, think of it like this: one portion of tofu is like two times the amount of protein in other meats and it is a lot cheaper than buying meat, as well as a good alternative for the vegetarians out there. I like to cut my tofu into small cubes and add while making my broth so it absorbs all the flavor from the Ramen.
Corn — This ingredient add sweetness and color to your Ramen. I have used frozen, canned, as well as fresh corn, all of which I like with this ingredient. It can be obtained from grocery stores or, better yet, the Food Bank. Easy and quick to add, it would push your boring Ramen to that next level.
That is not all...
Do not think this is the end, for the Ramen possibilities are endless. If you need a cheap place to shop and get inspiration, go to your local Asian supermarket or (I say it again) the local food bank. Do not be afraid to try new things. Explore other possibilities to add on to that simple boxed food in your pantry.