Use code SIDECHEF for $10 off your first shoppable recipe order.

One-Pot Cheesy Ramen

A pantry-stable, simple and easy answer to cooking while in quarantine.
Whitney Lofts
La Jefa at the SideChef Kitchen Studio. Culinary Producer by day, striving to attain a “balanced” lifestyle by night. Favourite Foods: Cheese, Pesto, Dark Chocolate and Steak.
GO TO BLOG
Love This Recipe?
Whitney Lofts
La Jefa at the SideChef Kitchen Studio. Culinary Producer by day, striving to attain a “balanced” lifestyle by night. Favourite Foods: Cheese, Pesto, Dark Chocolate and Steak.
GO TO BLOG

When there’s a global pandemic at your door, there’s very little time left for food snobbery or judgment. On the days that we’re unable to nourish our body and mind through regular interaction and routine, thankfully, there is still the option to nourish through our appetites. In times of uncertainty, eating within your means and indulging in comfort food has never been more important. For me, comfort came in the form of bringing a childhood meal to life, paired with minimal washing up and all shelf-stable ingredients.

By mid-March, due to pre-planned unavoidable travel and the fact I live in Shanghai, I had reached the end of my 3rd COVID-19 induced quarantine, having spent more time isolated at home in 2020 than I have spent living in normalcy. At the time, staying indoors for 42 days felt out of the question; I rode the nauseating emotional roller coaster of anxiety, boredom, frustration and misinformation long before the rest of the world uttered the words “social distancing”.

Upon the eve of Lunar New Year, fresh ingredients were starting to disappear and restrictions intensified. Getting groceries and essentials like masks and sanitizers were almost impossible. Luckily, my partner, being a chef and an all-around prepared-for-anything kind of person, was in the habit of keeping a well-stocked freezer and a shelf-stable pantry in our home. Whilst she was overseas and I faced the worst of the outbreak alone in Shanghai, I thankfully didn’t have to worry about running out of food. Despite this, most days, I felt unmotivated to step into the kitchen. Even as somebody who cooks for a living, I could barely muster the energy to boil an egg.

This recipe for One-Pot Cheesy Ramen was an amalgamation of my nostalgic longing for the soupy cha chaan teng-style instant noodles, which can be found in the local tea cafes all over Hong Kong. "Cha chaan teng" is Cantonese for 'tea cafe', and this noodle style is essentially instant ramen noodles in soup, served with SPAM and/or a fried egg. They bring me back to the weeks on-end where my Mum would travel for work, and our family proteins would rotate between defrosted unagi and a can of SPAM (courtesy of Dad) served over noodles. The addition of cheese in this recipe was derived from a Korean food phenomenon that came on my radar years ago. By placing the cheese directly over the noodles, the residual heat would, in theory, melt in the same way that cheese over a burger patty would. The result is an unparalleled richness in the ramen soup and a stringy, comforting texture that only the addition of cheese can achieve.

Even when cooking with instant ingredients, my principles and intentions behind cooking remained for me. Mise en place, whilst minimal, was essential in ensuring perfectly al dente ramen; fresh, bright vegetables, and crispy, but tender SPAM slices. Additionally, the best thing about making one-pot ramen (besides the fact that it can be cooked and served in the same pot) is that the toppings can be anything that you have on hand. If you’re not a fan of crispy fried SPAM and canned sweet corn, there’s no reason why you can’t switch it up to include anything from oven-roasted chickpeas, to deli slices, or fresh kimchi. In its simplicity, this was the dish that got me out of my food rut and catapulted me back into a regular cooking routine. In the spirit of high comfort and low execution, there has never been a better time to throw some extra attention behind basic meals and I hope that can be the stepping stone that gets you there!

Sign Up for the SideChef
Newsletter
Get weekly recipes, grocery shopping, meal planning, and home-cooking inspiration sent straight in your inbox
Will be used in accordance with our PRIVACY POLICY.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
The Breakfast Toast We Love the Most: Jam, Jelly, and Joy
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
A to Z Guide to Confusing Keto Friendly Ingredients Part 1
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
A to Z Guide to Confusing Keto Friendly Ingredients Part 2
WHAT TO READ THIS WEEK
Is Walmart Open on Thanksgiving 2021?
CULINARY PARTNER FEATURE
Blogger Spotlight: Nick Evans of Macheesmo
WHAT TO READ THIS WEEK
New: Plan Better, Waste Less
LEARN COOK EAT
Your Ultimate Guide to Thanksgiving Side Dishes
TIPS & TRICKS
7 Best Ways to Use Your Leftover Jam
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
The Great Cheese Dip War
CELEBRATE, HOST, ENTERTAIN
A Dip Night With Friends - Your Next Level Potluck
WHAT TO READ THIS WEEK
How I Made Taco Bell’s Crunchwrap Supreme at Home
CELEBRATE, HOST, ENTERTAIN
What Could Mess Up a Perfect Potluck Party and How to Prevent It
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
The Breakfast Toast We Love the Most: Jam, Jelly, and Joy
The ultimate comforting breakfast we all love. Toast and jelly or jam or preserves, and maybe add something extra? Let's keep it sweet and not too healthy sometimes! Jam (or jelly) up your breakfast toast, and keep the eggs and avocados out of it for once.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
A to Z Guide to Confusing Keto Friendly Ingredients Part 1
All the Keto food and cooking-related words you have seen or heard but didn’t understand (or maybe it’s just me). This guide will help you navigate through the fascinating world of trendy low-carb Keto recipes and foods. Dive in!
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
A to Z Guide to Confusing Keto Friendly Ingredients Part 2
All the Keto food and cooking-related words you have seen or heard but didn’t understand (or maybe it’s just me). This guide will help you navigate through the fascinating world of trendy low-carb Keto recipes and foods. Dive in!
WHAT TO READ THIS WEEK
Is Walmart Open on Thanksgiving 2021?
When you are planning Thanksgiving dinner, grocery shopping is one of the essential tasks. What to do if there is this one last-minute item you forgot to get? Is Walmart open on Thanksgiving Day for a quick grocery run?
CULINARY PARTNER FEATURE
Blogger Spotlight: Nick Evans of Macheesmo
Meet Nick Evans, the creator of Macheesmo - the place where you can easily learn how to cook with confidence. Find out why you should put down the menu and pick up the spatulas, and the key to loving your leftovers!
WHAT TO READ THIS WEEK
New: Plan Better, Waste Less
AI-powered hands-on approach to reducing any food waste in your household. Get personalized recipe ideas and meal plans to use up everything you have in your grocery cart. Plan with ease, waste nothing, become a part of a solution for the global food waste problem.
LEARN COOK EAT
Your Ultimate Guide to Thanksgiving Side Dishes
Thanksgiving is one of the holidays we can't help but associate with food, family, and friends. If you agree that the key to a successful Thanksgiving dinner is choosing the suitable side dishes, then this article will help you decide what sides to cook this year. And how to make this Thanksgiving feast perfect precisely for you and your family.
TIPS & TRICKS
7 Best Ways to Use Your Leftover Jam
So you’re cleaning out the fridge, and you’re tired of PB&J, and you have a little bit of jam left in the jar, and you’re thinking, “What can I do with this?”
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
The Great Cheese Dip War
The one truly important debate that needed exploring and everything you will ever need to know about cheese dips… or is it queso? Let’s dive in!
CELEBRATE, HOST, ENTERTAIN
A Dip Night With Friends - Your Next Level Potluck
It is time you hosted the most ultimate potluck party, a.k.a a night of dips with friends. Just dips, no salads or mains. You must start planning one now, and this collection of every dip recipe idea possible will make your planning process quick and easy.
WHAT TO READ THIS WEEK
How I Made Taco Bell’s Crunchwrap Supreme at Home
Bring the drive-thru to your kitchen with this customizable copycat of a Taco Bell classic. Loaded with seasoned ground beef, nacho cheese sauce, lettuce, tomatoes, and sour cream it is worth every calorie!
CELEBRATE, HOST, ENTERTAIN
What Could Mess Up a Perfect Potluck Party and How to Prevent It
Whether you’re throwing a potluck for friends at your house or going to attend one as a guest, or maybe your office is having a potluck-style holiday celebration, it’s really easy to get stressed about making a good impression. Here’s your essential list for everything that could go wrong, all the do’s and don’ts, ideas, and more.
You're one smart cookie! 🍪
By using this site, you agree to the use of cookies by SideChef and our partners for analytics and personalized content. ACCEPT
SideChef: 18k Recipes, Meal Planner, Grocery List, Personalization
INSTALL APP
Make cooking easy
Discover personalized recipes, organize your meal plans, shop ingredients, and cook with confidence alongside our FREE, step-by-step cooking app.