7 Ways to Upgrade Packaged Ramen from Kristen Kish

Kristen Kish © David Moir/Bravo
By Justin Chapple Posted November 06, 2014

Top Chef star Kristen Kish is no stranger to culinary challenges. For fun, F&W asked Kish if she was up for a new challenge—reinventing packaged ramen—and she was unfazed.

Top Chef star Kristen Kish is no stranger to culinary challenges. After all, she knuckled down after a shockingly early elimination during Top Chef Season 10 and was given a second chance at claiming her spot in the finals. She went on to become the second female chef to hold the coveted title. Since then, she's battled F&W Best New Chef Stephanie Izard on Top Chef Duels and is currently working on her first book.

For fun, F&W asked Kristen if she was up for a new challenge—reinventing packaged ramen—and she was unfazed. "So many things have been done with the infamous instant ramen noodle," she says. "The way I look at it (and this is probably because I’m starving right now), there's no need for elegance—keep it dirty!"

Here, seven outrageous ideas for using packaged ramen from Kristen Kish.

1. Spicy Ramen Snack Mix
Toss crumbled raw packaged ramen noodles with oil, peanuts, ground Sichuan peppercorns, wakame (aka edible seaweed) and crushed curry leaves. Season with sea salt and bake until lightly browned and fragrant.

2. Ramen Noodle Sandwiches
Cook packaged ramen noodles in spicy tomato sauce until thickened, then serve between two slices of generously buttered white toast.

3. Ramen Noodle-Coated Popcorn
Coarsely grind raw packaged ramen noodles with their spices. In a skillet, toast the noodles and spices with crumbled nori until fragrant. Toss with buttered popcorn and season with sea salt.

4. Ramen, Peanut Butter and Caramel Sundaes
Toast crushed raw ramen noodles until just starting to brown, then cook with honey until lightly caramelized. Fold the mixture into warm caramel sauce, then stir in smooth peanut butter until melted. Spoon the warm sauce over vanilla ice cream and garnish with chopped toasted peanuts and sea salt.

5. Ramen Noodle-Coated Meatballs
Grind raw ramen noodles with their spices. Form beef or pork meatballs and roll them in the noodle mixture, then deep fry until crunchy and cooked through.

6. Ramen Noodle Pudding
Toast broken raw ramen noodles in ghee until lightly browned. Add milk and bring to a boil, then simmer until thickened. Stir in sugar, pistachios, cardamom, raisins and almonds.

7. Chili-Ramen Pie
Stir cooked ramen noodles into your favorite chili recipe, then spread in a baking dish. Top with shredded cheese and bake until bubbling. Top with sour cream, thinly sliced jalapeños and chopped scallions.

Related: Kristen Kish Recipes
Top Chef Recipes
Fast & Delicious Noodle Recipes

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