Some poetry is universal: We all know the Robert Frost poem about the road not taken; Shel Silverstein was a straight-up guru; Dr. Seuss was either a genius or tripping on acid or both; and chances are you’re familiar with good ol’ William Shakespeare, even if you hated having to act out scenes from Macbeth in class.
But only one poem truly resonates with all. And it’s this one:
“Peel off the lid.
Pour boiling water into the cup.
Let sit for three minutes.
Stir well and serve.”
Nothing is more poetic than the directions for making Cup Noodles. It’s all thanks to the hard work and perseverance of Momofuku Ando, Taiwanese-Japanese inventor and entrepreneur, who would be turning 105 this year. Ando created Instant Ramen, a flash-fried version of the classic Japanese noodle dish, as a cheap solution to post-World War II Japan’s hunger problem. Since then, it has evolved into the reliable solution for anyone on a time crunch. Apart from being hot and comforting, it’s also impossible to screw up. So in honor of our noodle patron, check out this definitive guide to pimping out the ramen you’ll be inevitably having for dinner when you’re not feeling like making a giant meal tonight.
1. Ramen Cacio e Pepe: Some people are blessed with Italian grandmothers who can make homemade pasta. Other people are gifted with a knack for cooking. And for the rest of us, at least there’s this recipe. (Photo via Andrew Seah)
2. Ramen Salad: Next time you’re paying $12 for a salad that you’re just going to eat the toppings off of, imagine yourself eating this instead. And then go make that dream a reality. (Photo via Meredith Marcus)
3. Hot & Spicy Ramen Chili: Feeling down? Love interest hasn’t texted you back? Let this chili take you in its warm embrace and tell you that everything is going to be okay. (Photo via Caitlin Wolper)
4. Chicken Ramen Noodle Soup: Because chicken noodle soup is the ultimate cure for everything, whether it’s the flu, a case of the Mondays or a killer hangover, this recipe is here for you. (Photo via Caitlin Wolper)
5. Egg, Bacon and Ramen Scramble: The early bird may get the worm, but the late-for-class bird gets this ramen scramble, which we’re gonna go ahead and say is conclusively better. (Photo via Justin Shannin)
6. Cheddar Broccoli Ramen: If you’re that person who is chronically running low on groceries, invest in a huge pack of Cup Noodles. This recipe is sure to fill you up for at least a few hours. (Photo via Caitlin Wolper)
7. Ramen Veggie Stir-Fry: That’s right. The easiest, quickest dinner idea ever just got easier and quicker with this stir-fry recipe. Because ain’t nobody got time to cook rice. (Photo via Meredith Marcus)
8. Ram n’ Cheese: Chances are you’re going to eat both Easy Mac and Instant Ramen today, so save some time and just make both simultaneously. This hybrid dish will satisfy every stereotypical post-grad craving you could ever have. (Photo via Caroline Liu)
9. DIY Gourmet Ramen: You probably don’t have these eclectic ingredients just lying around, but if you do, this ramen is for you. (Photo via Andrew Seah)
10. 10-Minute Egg and Spinach Ramen: 10 minutes is a little longer than it usually takes to make ramen, but a lot shorter than it takes to make anything else. (Photo via Laura Palladino)
11. Parmesan Ramen: This bowl of instant noodles screams “I just needed a vehicle to get cheese into my mouth, and I obviously had ramen lying around.” And it tastes great, so whatever. (Photo via Meredith Marcus)
12. Deceptively Simple Poached Egg Ramen: Confuse your colleagues by showing up to work with these noodles. Everyone will think you have a personal Japanese chef. We won’t tell anyone the truth. (Photo via Kendra Valkema)
13. Ramen Egg Drop Soup: The Chinese restaurant version of hot, comforting soup just got a desperate-hungry-American-post-grad makeover. But damn, does this dish hit the spot. (Photo via Meredith Marcus)
14. Ramen Egg Stir-Fry: Make a great stir-fry at home with a ramen updo. (Photo via Justin Shannin)
15. Dessert Ramen: TREAT YO’SELF. When your sweet tooth is acting up, make yourself this less alarming, actually delicious ramen version of Buddy the Elf’s terrifying dessert spaghetti. (Photo via Meredith Marcus)
Do you have any other ramen hacks? Let us know in the comments!