A ramen full of fantastic flavour that your children will love

Lilly Higgins: Kimchi is the shortcut to flavour in this enjoyable ramen

There are so many variations on ramen. The basic version is a Japanese noodle soup comprising noodles in broth with toppings such as sliced pork belly, seaweed and half an egg balanced on top. My kids love it. There’s no tidy way to eat ramen so they enjoy how messy and convivial dinner time is when we’re all slurping noodles.

A good base broth is key, so having your own homemade stock in the fridge or freezer is handy, but shop bought is equally fine. I love having miso paste in the fridge, or sachets of miso soup, for a shortcut to flavour. Traditionally in Japan and Korea it's commonplace to just buy a pack of instant ramen noodles, add hot water to them and then upgrade the mix with your own toppings like kimchi and vegetables. Flavours like star anise, ginger, Chinese five spice and chilli can also all be layered in varying intensities to suit your taste. I usually just place a bottle of sriracha on the table.

Over the past 10 years I’ve fallen in love with fermentation. It’s like magic, creating a fizzy, delicious, probiotic rich sauerkraut, kimchi or kombucha from basic everyday ingredients. Making your own ferments is very cost-effective too. I always make big batches, and every few months I buy a lot of cabbages or other vegetables as part of this process. I love fermented tomato salsa, lacto-fermented carrot sticks and even grapes. Everything benefits from a little salt and time.

It’s incredibly handy having a fridge full of such jars to choose from. I use sauerkraut in a salad bowl, sandwich, barbecued hot dog or as a base for homemade coleslaw. Kimchi goes well in a toasted cheese sandwich, or on top of a stir fry, or folded into an omelette or a soup.


Here I’ve used it as a fantastic shortcut ingredient with my ramen. All you need for this recipe is a good stock, noodles, an egg, some vegetables and a jar of kimchi. I usually make my kimchi vegan by omitting the fish sauce and just adding some dried seaweed flakes for a fresh taste of the sea.

Recipe: Kimchi ramen