By Gabby Rente
College is a time for creativity, hacking, and genius, and this is not limited to how we prepare ramen. Sometimes my days are a little chaotic and I don’t have time to go to the dining hall when it is open. Sometimes I must rely on the beloved Maruchan ramen noodle soup for a meal.
However, what I’ve noticed is rather atrocious. People, especially busy college students, have the habit of making plain ramen noodles in their microwave. The flavor packet just isn’t enough to call it a meal.
So I took this matter into my own hands. I decided to get crafty in my dorm kitchenette (equipped with only a fridge, a sink, and a microwave that has seen better days) to prove to the Washington College campus that with a microwave-safe bowl, a single packet of Maruchan, and your imagination, you can do so much more, because you deserve a good, wholesome bowl of ramen.
Cheesy Comfort Ramen: This ramen bowl I depend on the most. Cook your ramen how you normally would, for six minutes in the microwave. I stop the microwave a minute before the timer goes off and add half a can of mixed vegetables to the bowl. Cook the ramen for the rest of the time and then take the bowl out of the microwave. Sprinkle some shredded cheese on top and you have yourself a hot bowl of comfort food.
Traditional Ramen: For this bowl, I attempted a more traditional take on ramen as best as I could, and because I’m a poor college student, I decided to raid the salad bar in the dining hall for ingredients. A traditional ramen bowl has ingredients like minced ginger, green onion, and shiitake mushrooms. Using a tupperware container, I brought back to my dorm portabello mushrooms, shredded carrots, red onion, and broccoli. (I even snuck out a slice of cheesecake’ but that’s beside the point.)
Again, I prepared my ramen noodles by heating them up in a bowl of water for six minutes, except I left out the flavor packet. When the six minutes were up, I grabbed another bowl and the eggs from my fridge. I love adding a soft boiled egg to my ramen, and you can boil an egg in the microwave. Just don’t put it in for ten minutes like I initially did. Fun fact, eggs can explode.
Get a clean paperclip or thumbtack and gently poke a hole in the top and bottom of the egg. Then fill a bowl with water and put your egg in. Put the bowl and egg in the microwave for two to three minutes. While your egg cooks, put any veggies you want in your ramen and put a plate over the bowl to let everything stew together. I added a splash of soy sauce and olive oil to give it some more flavor.
When the timer is up for the egg, let the bowl of piping hot water cool down for about five minutes before retrieving your egg. (Yes, I burned my hand for this article.) Remove the shell and slice the egg in half for that beautiful cross-section color and add it to your ramen bowl.
Cuban Ramen: I had a lot of mojo (pronounced “moe-hoe”) sauce left in my fridge and a can of black beans. You know where this is going.
If you’re interested in making your own mojo sauce, then refer back to The Elm from Sept. 19, or you can buy a bottle of it from any grocery store.
Instead of using the flavor packet that comes with every Maruchan ramen, I added a splash of mojo sauce to the water before heating up my ramen. I stopped the microwave on its last minute to add a quarter of a can of beans so those heated up with the ramen. Time management is key here. For a garnish, I added a few flakes of shredded garlic on top.
While eating this ramen felt wrong in my soul, to my tastebuds it was pretty good.
All of these ramen dishes are of my own creation, creativity, and some would even say maliciousness. That means there is always room for improvement and innovation. I challenge the WC student body to get creative with how they cook their own ramen. Just because our dorms don’t come with full kitchens doesn’t mean we can’t cook. It just means we have to get a little bit more inventive.