Much of the instant ramen variety has been a college staple and has been getting a bad wrap. And it certainly doesn’t command a lot of respect. The ingredients are often unidentifiable to the average consumer while containing an astounding amount of sodium and fat. The noodles are dried and fried like a brick. Up until recently, instant ramen was just a means to an end when it came to efficiency and price point. So we have created this simple guide of How to cook ramen noodles.
That’s not the case anymore. As consumers continue to demand more authentic options, businesses are listening and responding. Some of these companies just so happen to be instant ramen purveyors. They craft easy-to-make noodles with real ingredients and no preservatives. The flavor and efficiency remain, but the ingredients are now elevated, with authentic Shoyu and Tokotsu broth and elevated fresh soft noodles.
Start with soft fresh noodles
In our primer on how to cook fresh ramen noodles, we should first distinguish what makes up good ramen noodles. Fresh ramen noodles should be produced with the wheat meant for noodles. In Japan, the finest wheat is grown in the proper soil with the right water made for growing wheat. This keeps the wheat at proper alkalinity for a better-tasting noodle
Prepare the cooking pot
As a guideline, it should be big enough to hold 10 times the weight of noodles you’re about to cook. If you’re cooking noodles in
Soft or hard texture?
We aren’t talking about mushy versus fried here- but more so the firmness of the noodle once cooked. Once you have a rolling boil in your pot you should stir the noodles to even out the cooking process. The goal is to keep a rolling boil in the pot for proper cooking.
Most ramen restaurants cook to the 2:00 minute mark for a firm noodle. This may be best if you like a certain firmness from the noodle. Cooking just 30 seconds more (2:30 – 3:00 minutes) will give you a softer noodle. Fried and dried hard noodles have only one type of texture- mush. They are not made of high-quality ingredients so tend to soak up too much water. Fresh soft ramen noodles have more gluten and quality ingredients to hold up to hot broth.
For hot soup noodles, because noodles are cooked while topped and served in hot soup, we have to boil the noodles a bit harder. If you’re cooking cold dishes like Tsukemen, or Hiyashi Chuka cold ramen you need to wash and chill the noodles in cold water. Therefore, you need to cook these types of noodles longer to be softer.
Straining the cooked noodles
When we take noodles out of the pot, we should strain as much cooking water off noodles as possible because cooking water remaining on noodles dilutes your soup. Using a strainer, shake the water off the noodles by tossing and catching gently to shake off the water. Typically noodles go immediately into the bowl topped by hot ramen broth and your favorite toppings. This is the typical ramen experience that you can do at home!
It’s the little things that make great ramen
It’s a very small detail with big results. Cooking ramen noodles is critical in that it makes your delicious noodles bad if done in the wrong way. So, please keep these tips in mind when cooking your noodles next time.
You should now be able to serve great tasting ramen noodles. With proper information and techniques, you can be a noodle master too!