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8 Ramen Recipes For The Starving Startup Entrepreneur

Jan 2 2014, 3:51pm CST | by

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8 Ramen Recipes For The Starving Startup Entrepreneur
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8 Ramen Recipes For The Starving Startup Entrepreneur

I’ve interviewed a lot of startup entrepreneurs and all of them have tales of frugality. Whether they’re living on couches or blow-up mattresses, buying only the cheapest and most vile bottom-shelf booze, or pilfering prophylactics from the bowl in the corner of the local dive bar—young founders of fledgling firms live it up on the cheap.

In my talks with more than a few of them, instant ramen noodles have been mentioned. Apparently it is not just a rumor, but those cheap little bricks of dried noodles and their add-water flavor packets do play a role in the lifestyles of the entrepreneurial thrifty. Can’t say I blame them: I love the stuff too and I’m pulling in a steady (if not sizeable) paycheck. I always have loved it, actually. My parent’s still have photos of me as a wee lad stuffing noodles in my face, sitting in my high-chair.

But enough wistful reminiscing—for those young business startups with nothing to sustain them but a closet full of ramen and an off-white hotplate and a microwave, here are some ideas to spice up your life. Enjoy!

Summertime Noodle Toss:

I came up with this one myself while living on a couch in California during scruffier days. Boil the noodles for four minutes in water with the flavor packet contents, then drain them and toss them with some sesame oil ($2.75 in an asian market and lasts a long time) then put the bowl in the fridge for later. Eat chilled and with some chopped scallions.

Kim Chi Ramen:

This is another no-brainer for those of us that can’t be bothered to go the entire extra mile. Kimchi is Korean cabbage covered in red pepper sauce and left to ferment in jars underground for months at a time and it’s tasty. It’s also dirt cheap in most Korean markets and it adds spice and nutrients to any simple bowl of ramen.

Morning Glory Ramen:

This may be the simplest of all the recipes as it just requires cracking a single egg into your ramen noodles as they are boiling in the flavored cooking water. Once the egg has cooked enough for you, throw it into a bowl and chow down. For that poached egg effect, try not to break the yoke.

Sloppy Ramen:

One can of sloppy joe sauce and one pound of ground chuck beef is three meals easy and one of them can be ramen. Brown the beef in a skillet, throw in the sauce, toss a heaping spoonful of the mixture with some cooked ramen noodles. This dish is good in the morning too, after a long night of, ummm, coding.

Ramen Nicoise:

As the name implies, this is a healthy French ramen recipe that should satisfy just about anybody. Mix al dente ramen noodles – cooked and chilled – with some blanched green beans, julienne peppers, a small can of tuna, a halved hardboiled egg and some olive oil, ground pepper and imitation balsamic vinegar (you’re on a budget, remember?) Thow in a few olives if you wish to go the extra mile.

BBQ Noodle Toss:

It’s easier to save money when you can get multiple uses out of a single thing. Barbecue sauce is a great multi-tasker: it’s good on meat, fish, luncheon meat sandwiches, mix with cheese and microwave to make a dip, it’s a marinade and it’s so overpowering it make anything that tastes bad taste OK and everything OK taste good. Toss it with cooked ramen – hot or cold – and try throwing some sautéed onions in there for good measure. Some chopped chicken if you feel like treating yourself like warren buffet.

Garden Noodle:

There is no set recipe for the garden variety ramen, it’s a foraging expedition. Go to the market and whatever looks fresh and cheap should be julienned and tossed into the bowl: red peppers, green peppers, sautéed zucchini, carrots, onions, etc. Throw olive oil or sesame oil in there if you eat it cold, peanut oil if you’re frying it up.

Beef & Peas Stir Fry:

This is quite a feast and the recipe comes from MyRecipes.com . Stir-fry slices of beef, scallions, garlic, and ginger, and then add beef broth and soy sauce to make a sauce for the dish. Toss together with sugar snap peas and ramen noodles. These ingredients may cost a little bit of money, true, but you can always gank some asian takeout cartons from the communal refrigerator in your dorm or co-working space (or at your girlfriend/boyfriend’s place) and while you’re at it you might as well grab yourself a beverage.

 Experiment and Let Us In On Your Cheap East Discoveries

For more tips on making instant ramen more satisfying during those lean startup days, months (heaven forbid, years), check out this piece from J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, the CCO of Serious Eats, author of The Food Lab and member of the Ramen Transmogrification Society of Greater New York (yeah, apparently that’s a thing).

Follow me on Twitter @KarstenStrauss  

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