When I want to find a new and exciting recipe, or a terrific variation on one I make regularly, I consult Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” Or the old standby, “The Joy of Cooking.” Or I’ll pull out my phone and check out Delish or MyRecipes for inspiration.
That is, of course, unless I’m consulting the Snapchat accounts of social media influencers.
Seriously, Snapchat recipes definitely aren’t my go-to approach to cooking. But every once in a while, one of those online celebrities – whose real claim to fame is being a celebrity – does have something interesting to offer.
Meet Kylie Jenner and her famous (infamous?) ramen recipe, which has become a sensation on both Snapchat and TikTok.
The Not-So-Weird Story of Kylie’s Ramen
It’s sort of ironic, actually. Who could imagine that a billionaire like Kylie could set the world on fire with a variation on instant ramen, which is best known in America for how inexpensive it is?
Let’s be fair, though. There can be much more to ramen than the Maruchan or Top Ramen that college students buy for 25¢ a package at the grocery store or on Amazon. Just ask the people who line up outside the 10,000 ramen shops in Tokyo every day, waiting to enjoy a traditionally-prepared bowl of ramen noodles.
They’re not just waiting for chicken-flavored ramen broth and dehydrated noodles, either. These restaurants serve an enormous number of variations on “real” ramen; for starters, the soup can be shio (salt-based), miso, shoyu (soy sauce-based) or tonkotsu (made from pork bones). And there’s an endless selection of vegetables and proteins that can be added to ramen, which is very often finished off with an egg.
There’s no reason you – or Kylie Jenner – can’t do the same thing. “Ramen hacks” with added ingredients have become an honest-to-goodness food trend in America, for good reasons. First of all, the right choice of add-ins will make the noodle soup much tastier. Just as importantly, adding your own ingredients to hot water, instant ramen noodles and a seasoning packet can turn a relatively-unhealthy, cheap comfort food into a healthier Japanese-style feast.
So that’s really all that Kylie did in her ramen noodles recipe: add a few more ingredients. Sadly, none of them (except the egg) was very healthy – but I’ll have some suggestions to contribute once I explain what goes into Kylie’s recipe, and report on what it tastes like.
Kylie Jenner’s Ramen Recipe
Kylie didn’t go into great detail when she posted her recipe on social media. She simply said this:
“I add butter, garlic powder, and an Egg to my ramen noodles. What do u add?”
So there’s no way to know, unless you happen to be one of her famous siblings or relatives, exactly how much butter and garlic powder Kylie adds. She did include a photo with her Snapchat post, though, so I was able to make a pretty good guess on how to recreate the dish.
Here’s how I prepared Kylie Jenner’s ramen recipe:
- I cooked the noodles from a package of instant ramen for three minutes.
- I added the seasonings in the flavoring packet that came with the ramen.
- I added one tablespoon of unsalted butter (there’s already plenty of salt in ramen!) and a teaspoon of garlic powder to the soup, and stirred all of the ingredients together.
- While the noodles were cooking I scrambled one egg (the photo on her post made it pretty clear that was how she had cooked it), and then gently folded the scrambled egg into the noodles and sauce. You can also scramble the egg right in with the noodles if you prefer.
It looked OK when I was done, with an appearance somewhere between a packaged noodle-and-cheese product and a bowl of egg drop soup.
But here’s what it tasted like: yum!
Kylie’s ramen is richer and a little spicier than the noodle soup you’d get by following the package directions, thanks to the butter and garlic powder. Overall, that makes the ramen tastier, even if the addition of butter makes the final recipe even less healthy than usual.
Kylie isn’t the only member of her family who likes to snazz up her ramen. Her sister, Kim Kardashian West, chimed in to say that she uses garlic salt in her instant ramen. And another member of the clan, Khloe Kardashian, prepares her own home-made ramen. I’ll share that recipe shortly.
Kylie Jenner’s recipe didn’t just send people scrambling to add butter and garlic (and egg) to their ramen. It started an enormous online discussion about ways to make instant ramen tastier, healthier, and more authentically Japanese.
How to Improve Instant Ramen: Easy Recipes and Tips
I’m a big believer in recipes. They ensure that you end up with the same real-life dish that you’ve been salivating over in magazines or online.
Adding ingredients to instant ramen, however, doesn’t really require a recipe. All you need is imagination and your taste buds. And since you’re only adding them to a bowl of soup, you can simply add-and-taste, add-and-taste until you’ve gotten it just right.
The most traditional ramen add-ins are fresh vegetables: scallions, cabbage, mushrooms, onion, bean sprouts, and if you’re adventurous, seaweed (nori). You can stir-fry the veggies if you’d like. Protein is usually added to Japanese ramen as well, so consider dropping some chicken, beef or pork into that stir-fry for a quick cook. A good vegetarian/vegan option is tofu cubes. Oh, and of course, don’t forget the egg; the most authentic choice is a hard- or soft-boiled egg cut in half and dropped into the bowl.
You don’t have to stay authentic, though. If you’re partial to cheese, try adding some crumbled feta; if you like things hot, some hot sauce or sriracha will spice things up. You can use ramen to make a great brunch meal as well; just add cooked bacon and some shredded cheddar cheese.
Try mixing and matching the ingredients, too. Different combinations will make your ramen seem like a completely different meal every time you make it.
And now, as promised, Khloe Kardashian’s from-scratch ramen recipe.
- Cook one medium onion in two tablespoons of oil. After five minutes, add four garlic cloves, some fresh ginger and eight cups of low-fat chicken broth. Simmer, partly covered, for 30 minutes and then strain.
- Lightly sauté four ounces of fresh mushrooms in oil until tender. Then add three cups of shredded, boneless chicken breast and the broth, along with soy sauce and sesame oil to taste. Cover and simmer for three minutes.
- Cook 1½ cups of “real” ramen noodles (you can find them at Trader Joe’s and many supermarkets) according to the directions on the package.
- Place the noodles into separate serving bowls, then add the cooked broth/chicken mixture and top with chopped scallions. Add a halved soft-boiled egg to each bowl if you’d like.
The entire recipe takes less than an hour of preparation and cooking time – and you’ll end up with what might be the best ramen you’ve ever tasted. You may even throw out your packets of Top Ramen and choose the more traditional route going forward.
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