Spicy Ramen Noodles using pantry staples that comes together in just 30 minutes. This easy, adaptable ramen recipe will be your go-to for better-than-takeout weeknight meals.
The Best Homemade Ramen Recipe
During the winter months, the experience of slurping down a bowl of piping hot ramen is unrivaled. It’s my go-to this time of year, and something I crave constantly. However, it’s hard to execute homemade ramen that packs a fraction of the flavor punch as most Japanese restaurant ramen. Not to mention, it will likely call for a myriad of ingredients that the average American home cook doesn’t keep on hand. Or it may require hours of simmering to imbue all those coveted complex flavors in the broth. Well, my friends, after multiple trials I’m happy to report that this ramen recipe requires none of the before mentioned.
I was determined to create a homemade ramen that ONLY used ingredients I already had on hand, and that came together in 30 minutes. Now I’m not promising you will have every ingredient on hand, but anything you have to buy will likely be used again. Especially if you make my recipes on the regular 😉
This ramen recipe is pure comfort in a bowl, and one of my recent favorites. So let’s learn how to make it, shall we?
How to Make Spicy Ramen Noodles:
Any ramen fan will tell you that it’s ALL about the broth, and this recipe is no different. In fact, the noodles are simply a vessel for this chili-spiked, deeply savory broth. But to REALLY develop that funky-salty-sweet flavor in just 30 minutes, it requires a few tricks:
- Start by making a chili-garlic paste. This is a simple mix of sesame oil, fresh garlic, and ginger, but it packs a PUNCH. The key is to cook the paste over medium-LOW heat to prevent burning. The aromatics and sesame oil are very sensitive to heat, so it’s important to not let them even slightly burn. Too high heat will render the oil rancid, and impart bitter notes to the garlic.
- Transfer the chili-garlic paste to a bowl, crank up the heat, and add the vegetable oil and mushrooms. The mushrooms can handle higher heat, and we actually want them to develop deep golden color. For best results, avoid stirring too often so they ample contact with the pan. Once golden, stir in two thirds of the green onion and cook until softened.
- At this point, it’s time to start building the broth. First, add rice vinegar to deglaze the pan. Next, add soy sauce, fish sauce, and broth. If you’re not familiar with fish sauce, it’s a umami POWERHOUSE ingredient that imparts unparalleled salty-savory funk. However, if you don’t have it on hand, you can add extra soy sauce in it’s place.
- Once the broth boils, it’s time to cook the noodles, which only require a few minutes. Once the noodles are tender, stir in the chili-garlic paste and edamame, and remove from heat. Divide the ramen evenly into four bowls, deploy your fresh toppers, and enter umami heaven.
Think of this more as a blueprint for ramen in which you can get creative with the add-ins and toppings. Read on for some ideas.
What Can I Add to Ramen Noodles?
In short, just about vegetable you have on hand can be added to ramen. For example, matchstick carrots, broccoli, green beans, and any type of mushrooms. I love shiitakes for their savory flavor and meaty texture, however you can also use cremini’s or button mushrooms.
In this vegetarian version, edamame adds ample protein, however you can also add meat or fish to ramen. I personally love adding shrimp to the broth, or thinly sliced anchovies. (Note: fish sauce mainly consists of anchovies, so best to leave it out if you’re adding whole seafood.)
The toppings are also limitless here, though think of terms of what will best complement the hot, silky broth. I go for things that are cooling, crunchy, and/or toasty for texture and flavor contrast. Here are some of my personal favorites:
- Fresh herbs: Basil, cilantro, scallions, or even mint!
- Mung bean sprouts: They offer the best crunchy contrast to the silky noodles.
- Shaved radish: Look for watermelon radish to imbue some beautiful, bright color.
- Toasted sesame seeds: A little crunch, a lot of toasty goodness—what’s not to love?
What to Put in Ramen to Make it Spicy
Two words: CHILI FLAKES.
Oh, the magic of chili flakes when used correctly. (I hate to break it to you, but you’re not getting the most out of their flavor and spice when sprinkling them on top of a dish.) In order to get a more complex flavor caliber (and not just one-dimensional heat), you need to coax out their spice. This is where the chili-garlic paste comes into play. By letting the chili flakes bathe in sesame oil under low heat, their flavor and heat intensify. This recipe calls for 1 1/2 tsp of chili flakes, however feel free to scale that amount to your liking. If you’re sensitive to spice, reduce to 1 teaspoon. However if you’re like me and love some tongue-tingling heat, up the ante to 2 teaspoons.
Best Noodles for Ramen:
Wheat ramen noodles are light and springy, and the popular choice for ramen bowls. In terms of brands, I love Koyo packs of ramen noodles, which I either purchase from Amazon or Sprouts Market. (I just discard the seasoning packets they come with, though they’re also quite good!)
Alternatively, you can purchase fresh ramen noodles from your local Asian market or specialty foods store.
If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a pic and tag #dishingouthealth so I can see your beautiful creations. And don’t forget to follow along on Facebook and Pinterest for the latest recipe updates.
More Easy Asian Recipes to Try:
- 2 Tbsp. sesame oil (not toasted)
- 1 Tbsp. minced fresh garlic
- 2 tsp. freshly grated ginger
- 1½ tsp. chili flakes
- 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
- 6 oz. shiitake mushrooms, tough stems removed
- 1 bunch green onions, divided
- 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
- 2 Tbsp. lower-sodium soy sauce
- 2 tsp. fish sauce
- 4 cups lower-sodium vegetable broth
- 4 (3-oz.) packs dry ramen noodles, seasoning packs discarded
- ¾ cup frozen shelled edamame, thawed
- Optional toppings: fresh basil and/or cilantro, bean sprouts, soft-boiled egg
- Heat sesame oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium-low. Once warm, add garlic, ginger, and chili flakes. Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until aromatic. Transfer to a bowl.
- Add vegetable oil to pot and increase heat to medium-high. Add mushrooms; cook 6 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden. Roughly chop two thirds of green onions and add to pan (reserve remaining for garnish); cook 2 minutes. Stir in rice vinegar, and scrape up browned bits on the bottom of pan.
- Add soy sauce, fish sauce, and broth; bring to a boil. Add noodles, reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, until noodles are cooked, about 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in reserved garlic-chili oil, and edamame.
- Divide into each of four bowls and add remaining thinly sliced green onion, plus other garnishes of choice.