Add These Two Things to Instant Ramen, Get Dinner in 5 Minutes

March  8, 2017

This is part of an ongoing series to celebrate bodegas (and their owners) in New York City—each week, we're highlighting recipes from food writers and chefs made entirely from ingredients purchased in bodegas. Today: Food52 friend and contributor Allison Robicelli on delightfully salty instant ramen—and how to turn it into a wholesome, easy-to-customize meal.

It looks like a holdout comfort food from college days, but this “recipe” was something I developed in my thirties by happy/desperate accident. It is now quite possibly my favorite food, as good for breakfast as it is for dinner (or even a midnight snack), and endlessly customizable. Throw in some frozen vegetables for additional nutrients, top with freshly chopped scallions for a garnish, or swap out the Sambal Oelek for another condiment you like—my husband swears by barbecue sauce, but that is a bridge too far for me.

So many ramen options Photo by Liz Clayman

Want to get involved? Send your bodega recipe to [email protected].

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

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Allison Robicelli is a James Beard-nominated food writer, a Publisher's Weekly-starred author, and lots of other fun things. Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, she currently lives with her two sons and four cats in Baltimore, Maryland.


Shannon K. April 6, 2017
For me it's chopped dark leafy greens of any kind + the eggs. Thai ramen (like MaMa brand) only. Ideally chilis in white vinegar but if that's not available, a dash of hot sauce + some more vinegar.
judy March 9, 2017
don't eat instant ramen anymore. I use rice sticks, rice vinegar fish sauce and tamarind sauce (make my own--it is a staple), sambal olek and a bit of Thai sweet/sour chili sauce. Pour boiling water over rice sticks to soften, then pour off water, but don't drain dry. Stir in rest of ingredients, add sliced green onion and a bit of orange zest or squeeze of lime. If I want an egg, I fry and add on top. I do all the prep work while the rice stics are soaking. So not two or three minutes, but it takes me longer than that to prep anyway. Great inspiration here.
Ann-Marie D. March 9, 2017
Sesame oil is my no. 1 add! Then broccoli and a raw egg!
BerryBaby March 8, 2017
To ramen I add frozen wontons, soy sauce, scallions. Simple and delivery delicious.
sammy March 8, 2017
shin ramyun + slice of kraft singles. this is definitely a thing (google it!). don't try to go fancy here with the cheese - it's precisely the non-cheese-ness of kraft singles that makes this work.
Jackson F. March 8, 2017
My mom always put American cheese in her ramen (and a few good dashes of hot sauce)!
Allison R. March 10, 2017
This is the greatest idea I have ever heard of.
aargersi March 8, 2017
+ corn + celery +cilantro +lime +soft boiled egg + a HEAP of kimchi = ramen nirvana
jtrese March 8, 2017
Egg soft boiled in soup and sliced green onion
Diane M. March 8, 2017
I like mine with shredded chicken (if available), dash of light soy sauce, sliced red chili pepper, topped with poached egg and the crispy fried onions you find from good Asian food stores.
Neelie March 8, 2017
My absolute favorite ramen "gotta eat now" meal: 1 package chicken ramen noodles, 2 eggs and soy sauce. I scramble the two eggs in a bowl, and then put the ramen noodles in two cups of boiling water with the powder packet. After about a minute and a half, I slowly drizzle in the eggs so they cook in ribbons (like egg drop soup). Once the ramen is starting to get soft (but before it gets gluey) I drain the liquid out (using a fine mesh strainer) leaving me with delicious noodles and eggs. I then add a few dashes of soy sauce to taste, and enjoy! (I don't like wet noodles, but I leave a little of the sauce in the dish to keep it moist.)
Allison R. March 10, 2017
I love this! I don't even need the stove now!
Neelie March 11, 2017
Actually, you need to boil it on the stovetop to make sure the eggs get cooked - or they will cool the boiling water down. :) I should have made that clear. But the whole thing only takes about 5 minutes, start to finish.
Connor B. March 8, 2017
This speaks to me on a deep spiritual level. My go-to college meal (and the current occasional "I don't want to cook or order-in" meal) was chicken flavored top ramen with lime juice, seasoned rice vinegar, and sriracha, and "garnished" with chicken nuggets for protein.
HalfPint March 8, 2017
Add a squeeze of lime or lemon and you've got the ramen meal of my childhood :)