Introduction: Instant Pot Instant Ramen—So Easy, It's Like Making Toast
Instant ramen is already incredibly quick and easy to make. How could using an Instant Pot (or any other multicooker) possibly make it any easier? Let me explain. Imagine reducing the effort of making instant ramen to something as trivial as toasting bread in a toaster. There's hardly any prep and you don't even have to attend to it while it cooks. You just come back to it to get your finished food. It's great.
(One caveat: this trick works best with instant ramen brands that have round noodle bricks that easily fit into a pot or a bowl. If you have instant ramen that has a square noodle brick, I'm not sure how to make this work. More experimentation is needed to solve that problem.)
Put the contents in a small metal bowl with the recommended amount of water for your brand of noodles, then pour 1 cup of water into the instant pot and put your metal bowl into it. Set the Instant Pot to pressure cook for 0 minutes. Quick-release when it is done cooking. Take out the small metal bowl and eat from that. You won't even have a messy instant pot because the ramen was in the small bowl you ate out of.
Yes, 0 minutes. That's not a typo. Set it to zero minutes. The time you set is the time it cooks under pressure, but before it gets there, the Instant Pot boils the water until the pop-up valve seals, then it keeps boiling until the pressure hits the target pressure, at which point the temperature is significantly above boiling point. Once it reaches pressure, it starts the timer. This whole sequence takes about 10 minutes. By the time it reaches the target pressure, the ramen is already done. You can quick-release it and eat it right away. If you try 0 minutes and the noodles are a bit under-done because of variations among various multi-cookers, either leave it in the pot for a minute before quick releasing, or set it to 1 minute instead.
Recipe: Miso ramen with various toppings
Because this makes instant ramen so trivially easy, and because a pack of instant ramen just by itself offers about as much nutrition as a bag of chips, try doing this easy variation that makes it more of a meal and a lot more delicious. The variation I'm showing you here is what my friends call the "Hot Noods" variation. I made this for my housemates as a late snack all the time over the years. I wrote a poem about noodles and included the original recipe under the poem, for those of you who are interested:
An Ode to Noodles
- spread some miso paste across the noodle brick to break up the miso. This lets it dissolve into the soup unattended.
- put some of the spice packet into the bowl. If you add miso, leave out 1/2-2/3 of the spice packet, which has a lot of salt. The miso is already quite salty. I recommend red miso, known as aka miso. I find it more flavorful than white miso (shiro miso).
- if you have dashi broth granules, use a dash of those for extra umami flavor.
- add some dried wakame (dried sea weed, prononced wah-kah-meh) to the bowl
- add the recommended amount of water. I use about 1/4 cup less because minimal any evaporation as it cooks inside the Instant Pot, the recommended amount tends to be just a bit too much. If you want even more flavor, use low-sodium broth of your preference instead of water
- If you want egg in your noodles, crack an egg into the bowl after you add water but before adding the noodles (I tried it both on top and under. Under works better.)
- add about 1 fast food ketchup packet's worth of ketchup. This may sound weird but the tomato and hint of sweetness complements the flavors of miso + instant ramen spice packet. Try it before you dismiss it.
- Instant-pot this using the pressure-cook setting set to high pressure, with the time set to 0 minutes.
When the noodles are done cooking:
- crush a clove of garlic into the bowl and stir it into the soup.
- sprinkle some sliced scallions on top
- drizzle with toasted sesame oil or other flavorful oil. Butter works great for as a flavorful topping oil.
- add a flavorful vinegar. I recommend the fragrant Chinese black vinegar (Chinkiang vinegar) that is often used as a dumpling dip. Malt vinegar also works. Don't cook the vinegar; the heat seems to cook out the fragrance.
- sprinkle some sesame seeds on top.
- If you prefer dried nori seaweed to wakame, add nori after. Don't cook dried nori in the pot; it turns to mush.
If you really want, you can transfer it all into a nicer bowl and dress it up with nicer presentation
- Instant Pot or some other electric pressure cooker
- a pack of instant ramen
- water or broth for the instant ramen
- small metal bowl that fits in your Instant Pot. (You can get these in the form of stainless steel food storage bowls or bento bowls on Amazon. Don't use the ones with rubber or plastic bottoms; those aren't safe to pressure-cook.)
- plate lifting claw (such as this)
Optional items, for the miso ramen recipe
- an egg
- miso paste (I recommend red miso, which I find more flavorful than white miso.)
- a sprinkling of dashi granules, for extra umami
- 1-2 teaspoons of ketchup, or a ketchup packet
- 1 scallion, sliced really thin
- 1-2 teaspoons sesame oil or butter or some other flavorful fat as your topping oil
- clove of garlic
- a few dashes of flavorful vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoons of dried wakame seaweed or a couple small squares of dried nori seaweed