In this round-up of unique mala snacks, discover interesting snacks that are big on flavour and unlike the usual mala potato chips or instant hotpot.
Ways to Make Your Spicy Instant Noodles Taste Even Better
Who doesn't love spicy instant ramen? It tastes amazing, is satisfying to eat, and is one of the cheapest and most ...
Who doesn't love spicy instant ramen? It tastes amazing, is satisfying to eat, and is one of the cheapest and most filling foods that money can buy!
However, sometimes your average cup noodle just doesn't cut it. The spice isn't strong enough and it can sometimes taste bland. For those of you who need something with a bit of a kick and who want to level up their noodle game, keep reading.
We've put together a definitive list of all the best noodle brands so that you can find your new favorites, and how to make your instant noodles taste a million times better with our top tips and tricks.
Popular hot & spicy instant noodles brands
If you want instant ramens that will blow your head off, look no further than the range that South Korean brand Samyang offers. There are tastes to suit everyone's palette but be warned that they have a very high heat level.
The Samyang Foods Buldak Bokkeummyeon is a staple in the spicy noodle world: not mind-blowingly hot, but they definitely pack a punch and are also bursting with flavor. Supposedly, Samyang came out with the world's hottest instant noodle, named Hek Buldak Extra Spicy Roasted Chicken Ramen. This measures at about 8,000 Scoville units on the Scoville scale, making it by far the spiciest instant noodles in the world.
Another staple in many households - Nissin’s Cup Noodles. They have expanded to create lines of ramen in all different flavors, ranging from seafood to chicken to sesame.
Their spicy noodles in particular will get the taste buds going. They have many varieties, all with different spice levels, with the Hot and Spicy Chicken and Spicy Hot Tonkotsu coming out on top in terms of heat.
Nissin is easily the most accessible instant noodle brand, and you should be able to find their products at any grocery store or Asian market.
Nongshim’s most popular instant ramen is the Shin Ramyun, which differs from other brands like Samyang which are supposed to be stir-fried, rather than soup-based.
The heat with Shin Ramyun is not too intense and can be adjusted by adding more or less water. Due to the balanced flavor profile, you still get that rich, umami taste of a Korean soup, and are still able to enjoy the delicious dried vegetables included.
Another Korean brand known for creating fiery instant ramens packed full of spices and chili, Paldo ranks similarly to Samyang but offers a different variety of flavors.
Their most popular ramens include the Paldo Teumsae ramen, which is to be enjoyed as a soup, and the Paldo Volcano Curry Kkokkomyun, which are stir-fried. Neither of these noodles is for the faint-hearted, with the main sensation from both being pure heat and pain in the mouth.
What to look out for when shopping for instant noodles
Instant over cup
Of course, cup noodles are the perfect companion when traveling or if you are pushed for time and do not want to have to do any washing up. But, where possible, choose instant packs as they have a more complex and rich flavor profile.
Many people think that cup noodles are more convenient and a faster option, but this could not be further from the truth. They take almost the same amount of time to prepare as instant noodles do, and the cooking process is similar. On top of all this, instant packs work out cheaper per unit as they can be bought in bulk and take up much less space in your cupboards.
Often, instant noodles include more seasoning packets than cups do, and come in a bigger portion - what's not to love? If you want to enjoy your ramen to the fullest, the best way to do it is to cook the noodles at home and serve them in a bowl rather than eating them out of a cup.
Choose a good flavor
The best spicy instant ramens should include a sauce that is not only packed with heat, but rich in other flavors - whether this is curry, mushroom, chicken or tom yum.
Additionally, look for noodles that come with packets of condiments, such as furikake, chili paste, or dehydrated veggies, as this will add another level of texture and depth of flavor.
Generally speaking, the less broth that you cook your noodles in, the strong and more concentrated the flavor will be. So, if you want a very bold and spicy bowl of noodles, use less water whilst cooking, and vice versa.
Find noodles that use pepper
The best instant ramen will use ingredients such as black pepper, Sichuan pepper, red pepper powder, or chili pepper. This is where the authentic and deep spice comes from, and will deliver on both heat and flavor. Different types of pepper will provide different types of spice. For example, paprika will not be as spicy as Korean red pepper powder, but both can be used to create an amazing bowl of noodles!
Keep in mind that the spice in instant ramen comes from the sauce or seasoning packets, and not from the actual noodle. So, if you love the taste of chili but do not want your mouth to be on fire, you can use only half of the sauce pack.
How to make your instant noodles taste better
Use fresh veggies or meat
One of the most popular ways to up your noodle soup game is to add extras in with it. No matter your dietary preferences, there will be at least one food you can add that will turn your instant ramen into a gourmet meal.
The beauty of this is that you can use whatever you have lying around in your fridge. The easiest stuff to add includes vegetables, such as corn, bok choy, green beans, broccoli -the list is endless! If you have some leftover meat or fish, like chicken, steak, or prawns, this would go amazingly with noodles.
Another must-have addition to your instant ramen is an egg, which can be fried and laid out on top of your food, dropped in and scrambled with your broth, braised and used as a garnish, or poached in the broth.
Turn up the heat (but don’t overdo it!)
To get a full-bodied and original flavor of the noodles, try to avoid adding other chili condiments to the bowl until you have tasted it first. If you can't get enough spice and want to make your instant ramen spicier, chop up some fresh chilis and use them as a garnish or to season the broth.
Chili oil, hot sauce, or a handful of red pepper flakes would all work perfectly to make your dish as hot as you like it - just make sure to have a glass of milk on the side for when your tongue starts burning!
Finish with a garnish
To turn your instant ramen into a restaurant-style meal, all you have to do is sprinkle over a garnish of your choice. It makes the bowl look much more aesthetically pleasing, and will also intensify the taste.
Some garnishes work well because they add texture to a dish, such as toasted sesame seeds, crispy fried onions, or crunchy pickled ginger. Others are suited to noodles because of their complementary flavors, such as sour kimchi, fresh spring onions, or umami soy-sauce braised eggs. If you have an old garlic clove in the back of your cupboard, fry it in some oil and drizzle this over your plate, or chop up the bunch of coriander hiding in your fridge and top the bowl.
Cook them in broth, or milk
Most of the recipes on the back of a package instruct you to boil your noodles in water for approximately 5 minutes before adding in sauce and seasoning. However, switching out water for chicken-flavor stock, miso soup, or dashi broth can bring new life to your noodles. But watch the amount of seasoning you add as the broth may already be salty.
Another popular hack (thank you, internet) is cooking your noodles in milk and the ramen seasonings to turn your dish into a creamy delight. Add a slice of cheese and top it with some bacon bits. Did someone say instant carbonara?
Experiment with different flavours and ingredients
Overall, the best method to make your spicy noodles better is to add as much extra stuff as your heart desires. There is no right or wrong way to eat instant ramen, so the sky is the limit! Whether you love smothering cheese over your noodles or making them healthier with some vegetables and an egg, it is completely a matter of personal preference.
As long as you have good-quality noodles, a decent supply of chili-based ingredients, and some leftovers that can be chucked in, you will have an amazing meal.