When I was in junior high school in East New York, Brooklyn, we had exactly 30 minutes to get our lunch and eat it before we went back to our classroom. It was a tiny school with no cafeteria so you either had to bring your own lunch, or take your chances running to the crowded corner store for something to eat. There wasn’t enough time to get a hero (sandwich) and the only other options were typical, junk-food-corner-store fare.
One day, while I was perusing the aisle for twinkies, or snickers bars, or anything to keep me from passing out from hunger, I picked up a cup of noodles. Remember those instant ramen cups that all the corner stores carried? Yeah, well I picked one up and begged the cashier to fill it with hot water from his coffee/ tea station. He charged me 30 cents for the ramen and 5 cents for the hot water. Just like that, I had a pretty hearty meal for under a buck!
Times have changed. I’m more aware of the food I eat and while I still love the idea of cup of noodles, the toxic aftertaste of over-processed dehydrated foods is repulsive to me. I am so stoked that as a grown up I can DIY a healthy alternative to my beloved ramen cups. This is the perfect recipe for back to school, back to college, or back to work!
You must try this recipe from the kitchn!
What You Need
Ingredients for each noodle cup
- 1 to 3 teaspoons flavor base — soup stock paste (like Better Than Bouillon), miso paste, or curry paste
- 1 to 3 teaspoons flavoring extras, optional — chili-garlic sauce, soy sauce or tamari, coconut milk, sesame oil, Sriracha or other hot sauce
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup filler ingredients — frozen corn, frozen carrots, frozen peas, diced tofu, leftover cooked meat, dried or thinly sliced mushrooms, thinly sliced spinach or other hearty greens, kimchi, soft-boiled or hard-boiled egg
- 3/4 to 1 cup noodles — cooked udon, cooked yakisoba or ramen, cooked soba noodles, cooked spaghetti or fettuccine, cooked rice noodles, cooked shirataki noodles, dry vermicelli or maifun noodles
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup fresh ingredients — fresh herbs, sliced green onions, bean sprouts, sliced lime or lemon
Pint-sized widemouth glass jars with lids, or other heatproof containers
Measuring cups and spoons
Chopsticks or a fork, for eating
Instructions for Assembling the Noodle Cups
- Place flavor base and flavor extras in the bottom of the cup: If it’s a paste, like soup stock or miso paste, spread it around a little so it dissolves more easily once you add the hot water. Also add any flavoring extras.
- Top with filler ingredients: Scatter your filler ingredients over the top of the paste. It’s OK if they get mixed in with the flavor base and extras.
- Add the noodles: Pack the noodles down so they’re fairly compact. It’s fine if they stick together — they will un-stick once you add the water.
- Finish with the fresh ingredients: If you’d like to keep these from getting mixed into the hot soup, pack these into a baggie that can be removed just before you add the water.
- Seal and refrigerate: Place the lid on the container and refrigerate for up to a week. Use a dry-erase marker or masking tape label to write the contents of each jar so you can easily grab whichever combo of ingredients you want that day. (It’s best to keep the jars refrigerated until you’re ready to eat, but it’s OK to stash them in your bag for up to two hours.)
Instructions for Cooking the Noodle Cups
- Top with hot water: When you’re ready to eat, unscrew the lid and pour enough boiling water over the top of the noodles to cover.
- Cover and steep: Place the lid back over the container. Let the soup steep for 2 to 3 minutes. The ingredients should be warmed through, but the soup is still nicely hot.
- Stir thoroughly: Reach your chopsticks or fork deep into the cup and stir everything around thoroughly to mix the flavor base into the water and mix the filler ingredients into the noodles. (Alternatively, you can pour the soup out into a bowl and mix everything there.)
- Eat right away! If you kept your fresh ingredients separate in a bag, scatter them over the top of the soup before eating.