While instant noodles aren't the healthiest meal option around, you've got to admit they're an absolute lifesaver on lazy days when you don't feel like cooking.
Unfortunately, whipping up the same few bowls of noodles can get rather repetitive, especially for people who get bored of eating the same thing over and over again. If you can relate, fret not — TikTok is here to save the day.
Apparently, this ramen hack which has gone viral in Japan turns your instant noodles into a bowl of 'carbonara'. The recipe involves mixing together ingredients such as a raw egg, like they do in an actual bowl of carbonara, Kewpie mayonnaise, grated garlic and ramen seasoning to create a thick, creamy gravy.
1. Add a raw egg, a few squirts of Kewpie mayonnaise, a grated clove of garlic and ramen seasoning to a bowl. Give it a good mix till everything is combined.
If you're a klutz like me, I recommend using a garlic mincer like I did to avoid accidentally grating off your fingers.
When it came to the Kewpie mayonnaise, no exact measurements were specified so I just eyeballed the amount. However, I realised that if you want your soup to have a thicker consistency, you should add a few more squirts of it.
2. In a separate pot, cook your ramen noodles.
3. After the noodles are cooked, add some of the hot ramen water to the mixture before pouring in the noodles.
I highly recommend pouring in the water bit by bit so you don't accidentally over-dilute the soup.
The verdict: Definitely a game-changer
I'll be honest — I wasn't expecting much from this hack because the idea of mixing a raw egg and mayonnaise into my instant noodles did sound rather off-putting.
Strangely enough, the combination actually worked and I can safely say that it is a recipe I can foresee myself using in the near future.
Admittedly, the dish doesn't exactly taste like a bowl of authentic carbonara. However, it did have a creamy and milky consistency which was quite addictive. The soup base wasn't as viscous as that of a carbonara cream sauce but it was still enjoyable nonetheless.
As the ramen I used came with a spicy seasoning, the noodles had a slight pepperiness to it but this was nicely mellowed out by the mayonnaise.
The addition of garlic was also a game-changer and added a nice pungent element to the dish. I also enjoyed finding bits of garlic pieces in every mouthful — I'll be making a mental note to add it to my instant noodles in the future.
If you're concerned about the raw egg, don't worry. The boiling water actually cooks it while you're stirring it into the mixture. This also makes the soup slightly thicker, which is a nice change from your regular watery, seasoning-filled broth.
While no specific brand or type of noodles were mentioned, the TikTok we referenced uses a South Korean instant noodle brand, Jin Ramen, in the spicy flavour. Wanting to be as accurate as possible, we used the exact same type of instant noodles, all the way down to the brand and flavour.
However, we were curious to see how this recipe would fare with other popular types of instant noodles such as Indomie, as well as curry and seafood-flavoured ramen.
Ah, Indomie, a cult favourite. By itself, it is a glorious form of comfort food and something that many of us often crave for supper. But how would it fare when used in a carbonara-style recipe?
I'll admit that out of all the instant noodle options, this was the one I had the lowest expectations for. I just couldn't imagine a creamy Indomie. However, today was apparently a day of surprises - the combination was actually not bad.
I used a packet of Indomie Mi Goreng Fried Noodles which comes with multiple seasoning packets. I just added all of these to the mix and gave it a good stir. After combining the ingredients, the first thing that hit me was a nutty fragrance that smelled oddly like coffee. It did make me a little concerned about how this recipe would turn out but since I was already one foot in, I might as well continue.
Surprisingly, the outcome was pretty decent. Despite smelling faintly like coffee, the overall dish did not taste anything like it and had a nice smoky flavour. The Indomie seasoning packet also contains a packet of fried shallot flakes which provided a satisfying crunch when added to this dish.
As Indomie is originally supposed to be a dry noodle recipe, I realised that adding the same amount of water as I did for the original recipe made the soup too diluted, so I recommend adding less water if you attempt this recipe.
Since the Indomie noodles had turned alright, I was a little less concerned about the Curry Flavour Instant Noodles from Maggi.
I don't know what Maggi puts in their seasoning but it sure is powerful. The curry flavours here overwhelmed the other elements, resulting in a dish that tasted very similar to a regular bowl of curry instant noodles. However, the usual spiciness was a little more muted and we could still taste very subtle hints of the mayonnaise.
I had the highest expectations for the Seafood Party instant noodles from Samyang and my gut feeling was right because this was my favourite flavour concoction out of the lot.
It was rather similar to the spicy Jin Ramen but with more oceanic flavours. There was also a very familiar taste that I could not put my finger on but thankfully, my dining companion managed to put those thoughts into words.
"It tastes like a liquified takoyaki," he said in between greedy slurps.
For the uninitiated, takoyaki is a Japanese street snack which features ingredients such as octopus, shrimp and cheese encased in pan-fried balls of dough. Thanks to the seafood ramen seasoning and mayo, the soup base truly tasted like a bowl of liquid takoyaki. Intriguing.
A hack that's worth a try
Overall, despite maxing out my salt intake for the month, I was very satisfied.
I'm usually sceptical about such hacks but this one is one for the books. It really does jazz up a simple bowl of instant noodles significantly and the ingredients needed aren't hard to source, neither are they expensive.
It also seems to work with most instant noodles so there's always room to experiment with other brands and flavours to see which one fits your palate best.
I also recommend elevating it further by adding your own toppings like a soft boiled egg, pork belly slices or shrimp. The possibilities are really quite endless!