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I've been a college student and teacher for most of my adult life by now, and if there's anything being a student is about, it's about trying to make cheap things taste good. Case in point: Ramen noodle packets, for 10 cents each. Really, the flavor of those packs is salt, no matter what it says on the label, which makes me sad after about the third time I eat them, because I love noodle soups, and they should not taste like salt. The following is more a set of suggestions for turning Ramen into something which tastes like not-salt.

Protein:Edit

  • fried egg
  • boiled egg
  • leftover fried chicken
  • canned chicken
  • tuna, drained (good with the Ponzu broth)
  • cheap package of tofu
  • canned pinto beans (for curry broth, not others)

Broth Types:Edit

I'm going to recommend that you do not use all of the flavoring packet and give ingredient lists for different kinds of (seriously not authentic) broth used in Japanese cooking.

Generic Japanese broth ingredients:

  • water
  • soy sauce
  • Hon-Dashi*/fish broth
  • miso paste
  • Mirin
  • Ponzu**
  • green onions
  • garlic
Generic Japanese broth 1:Edit
  • 1 cup water

soy sauce to darken

Hon-Dashi/broth (it can be vegetable, but not mushroom for this)

sugar (until just barely sweet)

1/2 seasoning packet from Ramen

  • green onions
  • seasoned rice vinegar (you can use unseasoned, but you'll need to sugar it)
Generic Japanese broth 2:Edit
  • 1 cup water

Hon-Dashi/broth

  • 1 tablespoon blonde miso paste
  • green onions
  • 1/2 seasoning packet (preferably something lighter in this one)
Generic Japanese broth 3:Edit
  • 1 cup water
  • Ponzu/fresh citrus juice (lemon, lime, whathaveyeh)
  • Mirin
  • dash rice vinegar
  • dash soy sauce
  • green onions
  • 1/2 seasoning packet
Generic Japanese broth 4:Edit
  • 1 cup water
  • soy sauce
  • garlic
  • green onion
  • curry powder (yellow)
  • very small amount of sugar
  • 1/2 seasoning packet

Vegetable additions to the broth:Edit

  • thinly sliced mushrooms
  • cilantro (yes, really)
  • spinach
  • thinly sliced onions boiled in broth
  • toasted seaweed
  • carrots, grated
  • lettuce
  • peas
  • corn
  • bean sprouts
  • thin strips of bell pepper
  • grated ginger (good for pretty much everything, really)
  • jalapenos
  • lime juice/slices
  • ripe tomato slices
  • thinly sliced, poached sweet potato


My advice is to put no more than three of these in a single soup. They start to be confusing after awhile. I am especially fond of the curry broth with pinto beans, cilantro, lime, tomato slices, jalapenos and tomato.

Almost all these things can be bought individually at a market, typically for less than a dollar, and spruce up your Ramen so it's not just noodle-salt-water. The color contrast for these is also pretty pleasant, and pretty, yummy food is the shit.

Adjust, leave stuff out, rearrange ingredients, whatever you like. Ramen is essentially a blank palate.


Dried packets of Hon-Dashi are pretty cheap at markets with sell Japanese ingredients to restaurants and the like. It's essentially Bonito fish, soy products, sugar and Mirin (Japanese seasoned rice wine, handy for all kinds of Japanese cooking.

Ponzu is not cheap, but has a nice citrusy flavor.

External linksEdit

  • Below The Line’ Budget Recipes This is nothing to do with Pharyngula but the website is really good for students and others struggling to pay for their computer, their broadband connection and everything else they need as well.

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