Instant garlic and chilli ramen noodles, the Indian way

These vegan chili and garlic instant ramen noodles take 15 minutes to assemble from scratch and are a favorite of kids. I make them with brown rice ramen, so they’re gluten-free, but regular ramen noodles are fine – just read the labels to make sure they’re vegan and toss the flavor packets. Then you can control the amount of salt and flavoring you add.

Photo of instant garlic and chili ramen noodles in a black bowl with tomatoes, cilantro and a fork.

Ramen was India’s first taste of instant food. In a culture where women had to cook every meal from scratch, Maggi noodles, the first brand to be marketed in the country in the 1980s, became an instant hit with children. A big reason for this was that Nestlé, the company that owns the brand, ruthlessly went behind its key demographics with bright and lively ads of happy kids banging forks on tables asking for Maggi. The mothers, the Cheshire cat smiles on their faces, appeasing them with the magic words: “just two minutes”.

Unabashed marketing aside, the appeal of Maggi noodles lay in the fact that they were extremely customizable. You could adapt them to whatever your children’s favorite tastes were. You could dip them in ketchup, toss them with peas or peanuts, toss them with onions, or whatever. One thing you may be sure of: they would taste amazing.

Decades later the popularity of ramen noodles has not waned in India and they have even made their way to the country’s street food stalls and restaurants, where they are served in a multitude of ways, from pizzas to ramen to ramen bhel.

Like so many Indians who grew up with Maggi, ramen has always had a special place in my heart. I know they’re not really healthy, I know they’re rarely vegan here in the US, but I’ve thrown away the flavor packets, read the labels, and worked to fit them into my dinner routine once in a while.

Now, my son, Jay, has developed a love for these wavy, wavy noodles, and like those “two minute” moms I find myself contenting myself, probably with a smirk on my face.

A big reason for this is that I buy a large brick bag of brown rice ramen with no added salt and no flavor packets, and I can customize them – in a healthy way – to my liking. And Jay isn’t the wisest.

One of his, and my, favorite dinners quickly are these instant ramen noodles with chili and garlic made the Indian way.

They are super simple, only taking 10-15 minutes, at most, to get together. But I’m not your college microwave dinner. These are vibrant and delicious, and you can make them as nutritious as you want by adding quick-cooking vegetables like zucchini, tomatoes, peas, peppers, and scallions. I often mix in the edamame for some protein and their crunch is perfect here.

I hope you’ll try it next time you or your kids need a quick dinner that’s fun and healthy!

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Overhead photo of chili garlic ramen in a black bowl with green napkin.

Are ramen noodles vegan?

Not all ramen are vegan, so you definitely need to read the labels. Usually it’s the flavor packets that might contain meat or other seasonings that don’t work on a vegan diet, but you won’t be using them for this recipe.

Second Map, Nissin Top Ramen, the most popular brand sold here in the United States, has two vegan flavors, soy sauce and chili. You can customize my recipe below by skipping the garam masala and using the flavoring packets sold with the noodles, but you should still face the problem of too much salt.

The brand of ramen I buy is sold by Lotus Foods and what I am used to is their brown rice ramen, which is made with rice and millet flours and is therefore gluten free.

Front shot of Indian style chili garlic ramen in a black bowl.

Make your ramen noodles healthy

Indian toppings like mustard seeds and garam masala really make the noodles pop, flavor-wise, while also adding some wholesomeness. The tomatoes and the light flavor they add further enhance the tagliatelle. You can also add one or more of the following ingredients:

  • Zucchini
  • Peppers
  • Green peas
  • soy beans
  • Peanuts (coarsely chopped)
  • Onions or shallots

Easiest Indian Dinner Recipes

Photo of instant garlic and chili ramen noodles in a black bowl with tomatoes, cilantro and a fork.
Photo of chili garlic ramen noodles in a black bowl

Instant garlic ramen noodles with chilli

These instant ramen noodles with chili and garlic take 15 minutes to assemble from scratch and are a favorite of children. I make them with brown rice ramen, so they’re gluten-free, but regular ramen noodles are fine – just read the labels to make sure they’re vegan and toss the flavor packets. Then you can control the amount of salt and flavoring you add.

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Course: Dinner

Kitchen: Indian

Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian

Keyword: Ramen Noodles Garlic Chilli, Instant Ramen Noodles

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Time to cook: 10 minutes

Total time: 15 minutes

Portions: 8 portions

Calories: 133kcal

ingredients

  • 280 grams ramen Noodles (I use brown rice ramen noodles, but you can use any vegan ramen noodles,
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 2 teaspoon garlic paste (or 6-7 cloves of garlic, crushed with the flat side of the knife and then thinly sliced)
  • 1 to 2 jalapeno peppers (chopped. Use less or more according to your heat preferences. Remove seeds for less heat.
  • 2 great tomatoes (chopped)
  • 2 teaspoon garam masala (or use Maggi Masala Magic spice blend if you can find it. In the US you can buy it online)
  • 1 to 2 teaspoon vinegar
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 table spoon chopped cilantro or shallot (to garnish)

Optional vegetables (choose one or two)

  • 8 oz shelled edamame beans
  • 1 medium zucchini (chopped)
  • 1 green pepper (chopped)
  • 1 medium onion (chopped)
  • 1 cup of peas

Instructions

  • Boil water in a saucepan to cook the noodles. Salt it. Once the water boils, add the noodles and cook for 2 minutes or until tender but just cooked. Drain them in a colander and run cold water over the noodles to cool them slightly.

  • In a wok or large pan heat the oil. Add the mustard seeds and when they crackle add the garlic and green chilli. Sauté for a couple of minutes until the garlic turns light blond.

  • Add the tomatoes and other vegetables you are using. Stir until they start to turn tender, two to three minutes. Then add the garam masala and mix it.

  • Add the cooked noodles and vinegar to the wok and mix everything well. Sauté in a pan, preferably with tongs, for a couple of minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro or shallot.

  • Serve hot with soy sauce or tamari on the side.

Nutrition

Calories: 133kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 2g | Saturated fats: 1g | Potassium: 120mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 398IU | C vitamin: 9mg | Football: 8mg | Iron: 1mg

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