Swap Your Ramen Flavor Packets With Miso Paste For An Easy Upgrade

Making ramen from a packet is cheap, quick, easy, and also pretty darn tasty. But taking a sip of a single spoonful will quickly let you know that it is the instant variety of ramen because it lacks the depth of flavor that broth simmered for hours will have. The only option is to accept that to get a satisfying full-bodied flavor is to spend hours waiting for delicious ramen broth — or is it?

The answer lies with miso paste, which is used for making broth for from-scratch ramen but can also easily be incorporated into instant ramen. Miso is made from soybeans that have been fermenting for months or even years. To add instant homemade flavor to your next bowl of instant ramen, simply toss out the flavor packet that comes with the noodles and add in a tablespoon of miso paste. By adding miso paste to ramen, it instills a heartiness in the taste of the dish. Miso, in general, has an umami flavor. However, there are two common types of miso, and one uncommon one, that will each provide a unique flavor when incorporated into your next bowl. 

Red, white, or yellow?

Of the two most popular miso pastes, the white miso is sweeter and milder than the red, which is salty and well-fermented. Although less common, yellow miso paste (like the color of her flaxen hair) is the Goldilocks of the three, as it's saltier and more acidic than the white and milder than the red variety. Some producers take the Goldilocks parable quite literally and combine the red and white miso paste, for an intense umami flavor. Japanese restaurants most commonly use red miso in their soups because of the depth of character the fermentation provides. 

If you're wanting to start slow, it's better to start with one of the lighter misos (white or yellow), because it complements the flavor of the ingredients used in making instant ramen rather than overtakes them. But MasterClass says to jump in with both feet and incorporates three tablespoons of red miso paste in its made-from-scratch miso ramen. Depending on the depth of flavor you are seeking, choose between red or white miso paste, or perhaps even use a little of both if you're feeling adventurous.