Why on earth would anyone want to make ramen noodle soup themselves? After all, when it’s on sale you can find 8 packages for only a buck, or you can splurge and buy the expensive packages for around 50 cents at an Asian market. It’s not worth the time it would take, and there’s no way you can match those prices, right? Well, that’s only part of it… go read the ingredients list on a typical packet of ramen noodle soup, and come back, and we’ll continue.
How To Make Ramen Noodle Soup That’s Healthier Than Store-Bought
I’ll admit, like most college students, I lived on ramen noodle soup. For five dollars you could eat for 2 weeks! But then once I hit that age where I couldn’t eat everything in sight without consequences, I started looking at what actually goes into a packet of soup.
Let’s take a look at the packet on the right – the one you will typical find in the soup aisle for a quarter or less. It’s actually has 2 servings per packet, so I’ll double the nutritional information (after all, who’s going to eat half a package and save the rest for later?). It has 14 grams of fat, or 22% of your recommended daily amount, 7 grams of saturated fat (36% of your daily value), and 52 grams of carbohydrates (18% of your daily value). That’s not completely horrible, but definitely not great. But, it has 1780 milligrams of sodium, or 74% of your daily amount! You better not be adding extra salt to anything else the rest of the day!
The packet on the left, from the local Asian food mart, is a little better – 12 grams of fat, 35 grams of carbohydrates, and 1330 milligrams of sodium (which is still 55% of your recommended daily amount).
But check out the ingredients in these packages: palm oil (linked to cardiovascular disease), TBHQ (a chemical preservative form of butane that can cause nausea, delirium, collapse, tinnitus, and vomiting), monosodium glutamate (a “flavor enhancer” that can cause short-term headaches, nausea, chest pain and heart palpitations), and various other unpronounceable things.
So I decided to make ramen noodle soup at home – it tastes better, and it’s much healthier. If you use low-sodium vegetable broth and soy sauce, you’ll can cut your sodium intake down to about 15-20% of your recommended daily amount, drop the fat way down, and get more protein.
Step-By-Step How To Make Ramen Noodle Soup
- 1 T Sesame Oil
- 4-5 Cloves Garlic, Minced
- 2 t Fresh Grated Ginger
- 4 C Vegetable Broth (click here for our homemade recipe, or use store-bought)
- 3 C Water
- 1 C Shiitake Mushrooms (fresh or dried)
- 1 T Soy Sauce
- 3 C Spinach Leaves
- 1 Carrot, Grated
- 2 T Chives, Chopped
- 1 Boiled Egg
- Soba or Ramen Noodles (dried or refrigerated)
If you’re using dried Shiitake mushrooms, soak them in warm water for about 30 minutes. If they’re fresh, wash them. For both types, once they’re ready, squeeze as much water out of them as possible, and cut the stems off.
Heat the sesame oil in a 3 quart or larger pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger and saute about 2 minutes.
Add the vegetable broth, water, soy sauce and mushrooms. Bring the soup to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.
If you’re using dried noodles, go ahead and boil them according to the directions, and drain. Add them (or pre-cooked, refrigerated noodles) to the soup and stir for about 1 minute.
Stir in the spinach until it just begins to wilt, maybe 1-2 minutes at most. Remove from heat.
Serve the ramen noodle soup immediately, and garnish with the carrot, chives and egg.
There are all sorts of different ways to make ramen noodle soup – you could use a chicken or miso (soybean) broth, add cooked pork or chicken (thinly sliced), add various other vegetables, use different mushrooms (try some Enoki for a bit of a crunch), and even add some chili powder to heat it up a little. Do you have a favorite recipe? Let us know in the comments!