Ramen Toppings 101
Ramen Noodles; easy to love, easier to make!
This too-good-to-be-true mealtime favorite has become even more popular in recent months, and it’s not hard to see why. At Mike’s Mighty Good, we (obviously) love All Things Ramen- so we’re diving into the wonderful world of toppings below.
A typical bowl of ramen consists of 4 components: broth, seasoning, noodles, and toppings- but we all know that it’s the toppings that really give ramen noodles their special zing.
Toppings are to ramen noodles what paint is to a canvas. The noodles are ahhhhh-mazing on their own, but if you want to customize your bowl to match your mood, the weather, or the time of day (hello eggs and bacon ramen?) you’ve come to the right place.
Classic Ramen Noodle Toppings
There’s really no “right” or “wrong” when it comes to what you put in your ramen noodles. It’s hard to get sick of ramen- it’s so delicious and customizable. You can make two bowls of ramen on the same day, and with variations in the toppings you end up with two different meals.
Without further ado, here is our list of classic ramen toppings:
First up, Bok choy. This green veg softens perfectly when it’s dropped into hot ramen broth, and makes a nice contrast to the spices and proteins you might be including into your bowl.
Chashu is a braised (or simmered) pork; an ultra popular addition to many ramen noodle bowls.
Dried seaweed can be cut or crumbled and sprinkled on top, adding a satisfying crunch to any kind of noodle dish.
Look at any “perfect” ramen bowl on Instagram and you’ll see a common thread: mushrooms. This earthy addition rounds out all the flavors of your masterpiece. You can add shiitake, wood ear, oyster or crimini mushrooms- you’ll be happy with any kind of ‘shroom addition.
Frozen, fresh, or canned corn will do!
A thick square of golden goodness adds the perfect amount of creaminess.
For a bit of a Thai flair, toss in some whole or chopped peanuts to your ramen bowl- bonus points if you add a dash of lime juice as well.
Raw ginger is a bit too harsh for ramen noodles, but when it’s pickled it offers a wonderful contrast to the spice of your ramen flavoring.
A universally beloved garnish, scallions add the perfect amount of crunch and flavor. Try not to go overboard, though- you don’t want a mouthful of scallions in every bite.
An often overlooked ramen topping, tofu deserves a gold star next to it’s name on our list. There are an endless amount of tofu recipes for you to get creative with.
Have you ever wondered what that cute pink and white spiral thing is that you see in some ramen noodle bowls? That would be Narutomaki. This traditional ramen topping is made by rolling red and white fish paste into a log, cooking it with steam, and cutting it into thin slices.
There’s a strong case for adding a perfectly-boiled ramen egg to every bowl of ramen that you make 1) because they’re SO EASY and 2) they’re SO DELICIOUS. Top your colorful noodle bowl with a soft-boiled ramen egg (watch out Instagram!) or add a poached egg that can be broken over the noodles and broth for expert creaminess.
Unexpected (But Delicious!) Ramen Toppings:
You read that right- just plain old, sliced american cheese. It melts into the broth superbly, and provides that cheesiness you didn’t know you were looking for. You can even add a ramen egg and some bacon and *viola* you’ve made yourself a breakfast ramen bowl. You can thank us later.
The deep, dark, green colour of spinach adds a beautiful colour to your ramen, making it delicious and aesthetically pleasing.
See above! And if you like the idea of adding beef or pork, but don’t want to mess with cooking it, bacon instantly brings the flavor.
It’s not uncommon to have a bag of frozen veggies lying around the back of your freezer- time to put them to use! Frozen corn, green beans, carrots, or even a mixed bag… it all works. Pro tip: Make sure to run your frozen veggies under hot water for a few minutes before dropping in your broth.
Sometimes it’s nice to kick up the heat a little bit. So go ahead, add some- we know you have a bottle of sriracha in your fridge. And here’s a fantastic Creamy Sriracha Ramen recipe if you’re curious about this combination…
Slice it up and add it to your ramen with some veggies and jalapenos for a kick! This recipe is easy, customizable, and perfect for a quick weeknight meal.
We know… but hear us out: brussel sprouts are tangy and crunchy and make the perfect substitute for cabbage if you’re looking for a leafy, crunchy add-in. Bake them, pan-fry them, or throw them in the microwave- it’s all good.
Coconut milk is mild and unassuming, but will make your ramen noodles perfectly creamy and smooth. Just add a splash- a little goes a long way.
Unexpected, but perfectly appropriate. Italian meatballs make a great addition to ramen noodles, and they’re easy to prepare. Prepare them while the ramen is cooking and drop them in the hot soup as soon as it’s ready. The flavors will play well together, give it a try!
You don’t need to be a world-renowned chef to craft the perfect ramen bowl. With the right toppings, you can have better-than-restaurant quality, right from the comfort of your own kitchen. What a time to be alive!
Do you have a favorite ramen topping? Maybe even one that’s slightly unexpected? We’d love to hear them in the comments below!
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