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3 Ways to Spice Up Instant Noodles

Noodles on their own do not actually have much flavour. That is one of their advantages, as it means they can be combined with practically any combination of herbs, spices, sauces and other ingredients to create exciting and delicious meals. When you buy soba noodles, you are opening up a much wider range of possibilities.

Picture someone eating instant noodles and you may imagine a penniless student sitting in a draughty flat. It's not a scene to inspire much enthusiasm and yet nothing could be further from the truth. Noodles are popular in part because they are cheap and easy to prepare, and this comes with a stereotype that they are also low on both flavour and nutrients. What this scenario ignores, however, is that it only takes a few simple additions to add some spice to any noodle dish.

1. Stir Fry

If you are buying noodles because they are cheap and convenient, then a stir fry is the perfect dish to prepare. All you need to do is cook the noodles in some boiling water, then add to a frying pan with your favourite ingredients. Popular additions include onion, garlic, ginger chilli and soy sauce. Other vegetables may include mushrooms or broccoli. Meat eaters may want some prawns, chicken or beef strips, vegetarians or vegans may prefer tofu.

2. Pasta

Noodles and pasta are very similar, especially with long, thin pastas such as spaghetti. That means you can easily substitute one for the other. A tomato-based pasta sauce may include herbs such as oregano or basil as well as onion and/or garlic. Add some Worcestershire sauce for a little something extra. Alternatively, use butter, eggs and bacon or ham for something more like a carbonara. Grated cheese, whether parmesan or cheddar, may be the perfect final topping for any pasta noodle dish. You can buy a pre-prepared sauce or make your own depending on what is easiest for you.

3. Mexican

You can make even more of a cultural fusion by combining your noodles with some typically Mexican flavours. Spices may include paprika, chilli and coriander (you can also buy Mexican spice mixes), and you may want to add some kidney or black beans. Include mince and you would have something like a chilli, with sour cream or a splash of lime juice to alleviate any excess heat.

These are just a few of the ways in which noodles can be made more exciting. You may also use them in soups, salads or casseroles, with additions ranging from sugar to vinegar to sesame seeds. They can even be deep fried to create exciting new textures as well as flavours. The only real limit when it comes to noodle dishes is your own imagination.

Many people buy soba noodles because they are cheap and convenient. This is true, but it does not mean you have to sacrifice taste or nutritional content. It only takes a few herbs and spices to ensure that your basic meal is packed with exciting flavour, and there is no limit to the combinations of vegetables and other ingredients that you can add to create a wide variety of dishes.