Easily Elevate Your Ramen With Some Chili Oil

Chopsticks holding ramen noodles
Chopsticks holding ramen noodles - Boontoom Sae-Kor/Shutterstock

Instant ramen is a staple in many households due to its quick preparation, low price tag, and crave-worthy taste. However, what many people might not realize is that this convenient packet of dried noodles can easily transform from simple microwave fare into a gourmet meal with just a few modifications. From cooking it partially and then frying it, to adding vegetables, BBQ pork, and a perfectly yolky soft-boiled egg, there are numerous ways to elevate that ramen. But if you do nothing else, you absolutely must try adding chili oil!

A staple in Asian cooking, chili oil is an ideal addition to the noodle dish that has its roots in China. The vibrant spicy oil will give those noodles a kick of both flavor and color, transforming the salty broth into something truly special with an extra dimension. If you thought you loved ramen before, watch out! After trying your noodles like this for the first time, you might never go back.

Read more: 12 Discontinued Store-Bought Soups We Aren't Getting Back

Chili Oil Options For The Tastiest Ramen Ever

Ramen fried in chili oil
Ramen fried in chili oil - Szefei/Getty Images

If you'd like to keep it soup-er simple, the quickest way to try chili oil in your ramen is by just drizzling a little bit on top before you dig in. However, there are plenty of other ways to make the most of it, such as forgoing the packaged seasonings and replacing them with a generous serving of the oil instead. Be sure to scoop out some of the garlic and pepper flakes from the bottom of the jar, and include those as seasoning for your soup. Or, if you prefer to make your own broth instead of using the flavor packet that comes with the noodles, adding chili oil directly to it as it cooks is a fantastic option.

Arguably, one of the best ways to elevate your ramen is by boiling it until the brick of noodles breaks up, and then transferring them to a frying pan with plenty of chili oil. Next, fry the noodles in the oil until they're fully cooked, adding roughly half the seasoning packet towards the end. Make it a full meal by stir-frying some vegetables and topping it off with a scrambled egg.

There's no reason to let the seasoning packet go to waste if you don't use it. Save it to amp up your mashed potato gravy, season roasted vegetables, add it to fried chicken batter, or use it in your next stir-fry.

Should You Make Your Own Chili Oil?

Chili oil in glass jar
Chili oil in glass jar - Vm2002/Getty Images

As with ramen, chili oil can be as simple or as complex as you desire. There are plenty of delicious brands to choose from, so if you're just looking to spoon a bit on top of your instant noodles, it'll be worth picking up a jar from the nearest grocery store or import market. But you can also make it at home, which creates the opportunity to customize the ingredients and create your own signature flavor.

Making chili oil can be as easy as pouring hot cooking oil over red pepper flakes and letting it infuse. However, adding minced garlic will enhance the flavor even further. If you want to customize it even more, consider adding black pepper, MSG, shallots, ginger, and a variety of spices. The oil should be neutral in flavor, so opt for peanut or avocado oil for the best results.

Whether you make your own or rely on the store-bought version, chili oil is a fantastic way to transform those instant noodles into something delectable and even gourmet-level. Combine it with vegetables, eggs, meat, lime juice, fresh herbs like cilantro, and homemade broth for the ultimate ramen experience.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.