Turn A Packet Of Instant Ramen Into Stir Fry On A Budget

You can always count on instant ramen when the day calls for a quick, easy, and flavorful meal. With just a bit of boiling water, some seasonings, and perhaps some toppings, you've already got a decent main course to fill your belly in a flash. However, this pantry staple comes with a lot more amazing hidden potential than you'd think. All it takes is a touch of creativity and a few extra ingredients and you can instantly transform it into a delicious stir-fry dish.

While egg noodles are irreplaceable for stir-fries, a switch-up to instant ramen isn't such a bad idea either. After boiling, the chewy, tender-crisp strands do a great job of absorbing the sauce and spices, so with each bite, you're treated to a delightfully tantalizing flavor rollercoaster. Much like regular instant noodles, the stir-fry spin-off is also endlessly versatile. You'll never run out of ideas and ingredients to play around with—whether it's a change in sauces, spices, veggies, proteins, or even the noodle variety.

This is a budget-friendly and incredibly convenient way to make the best of everything you've got in the fridge. True to the greatness of stir-fries, almost anything can go into the pan, so even the simplest ingredients can create an exquisite homemade main course. Moreover, with instant ramen's easy preparation and stir-frying's quick nature, you can have a few plates of steaming hot food on the table in the blink of an eye.

What to put in an instant ramen stir-fry?

Anything that you use in a typical stir-fried dish can be just as good when the main ingredient is instant noodles. A vegetable medley of carrots, bean sprouts, bell peppers, broccoli, bok choy, and cabbages is always a great choice. A little bit of green peas or edamame is also good. They not only bring a rainbow of flavors but also delectable crispiness. Then, you've got the proteins—anything from seafood, chicken, sausages, beef, and pork to fried eggs are all acceptable. For vegan alternatives, check out tofu, tempeh, or mushrooms. As for the toppings, nothing's off-limit; a sprinkle of roasted peanuts, sesame seeds, fried shallots, or chopped scallions is all it takes to complete the dish.

The heart and soul of a stir-fried dish, of course, are the harmoniously mixed condiments that make every morsel that much more exciting. Since instant ramen always comes with seasonings, you can always use it to amp up the flavors. Small but mighty, those little packets will bring a savory, spicy taste to your stir-fried dish. Then, make a luscious, umami-sweet sauce from soy sauce, oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, or hot sauce for a true burst of flavors. If you feel like branching out a bit, don't hesitate to go for gochujang, kimchi, or chili crisp for an extra-authentic kick.