We’re here to share some fascinating information about the Japanese noodles with you from Thy Tran of the Wandering Spoon and Ken Tominaga, the head ramen chef at Pabu SF. The two shared their tips for making and eating ramen. No. 9 is essential, be forewarned.
Every bowl of ramen should be crafted around the best wheat-based, alkaline noodles you can get your hands on. Here’s how to make them at home.
Some people might be surprised to learn that a bowl of ramen is defined by its noodles rather than its broth. Everything else is meant to elevate that one essential ingredient, either as a complement (the soup, the aroma oil), or a foil (crunchy pickled bamboo, bland blanched spinach, a meltingly soft—or pleasantly chewy!—bit of pork). For a bowl of noodle soup to be classified as ramen, it must contain alkaline, wheat-based noodles.
The dehydrated noodles in those packages rarely have much flavor or character of their own and typically serve as little more than a vehicle to transfer excessive amounts of salt from bowl to body, so this may seem a little strange to those used to eating packaged ramen. However, if you’ve visited top-notch ramen restaurants in Japan, other countries, and the United States, the concept of a noodle worth designing a bowl around should make sense.
The only true constant in the vast and varied world of ramen is also the noodles. While the soup may be clear or milky, thick like sludge or light as a curative broth (and there may be no broth at all, as in abura soba and hiyashi chuka), and the seasoning may be anything as long as it’s sufficiently salty—miso, salt, soy sauce, dehydrated, powdered country ham, say—and the application of toppings may vary from restrained and refined to grossly overabundant, the one thing
In the past, we’ve suggested that home cooks simply purchase noodles from ramen manufacturers; Sun Noodle, the now ostensibly ubiquitous supplier of many ramen restaurants nationwide, sells its noodles online and at Whole Foods and other places all over the country, and they’re very good. If you have a favorite ramen shop, you can politely ask them to sell you some noodles, and it’s likely that they’ll agree. For those who really have no other way to obtain fresh ramen, there is also a method for “ramenizing” dried pasta, which is a flawed but serviceable alternative, as Daniel wrote several years ago.
If you want the very best noodles, your best bet is to buy from a noodle manufacturer, like Sun Noodle or Shimamoto Noodle. The machinery they have at their disposal, as well as their expertise, cannot be matched by a home cook with a pasta machine. But for those home cooks who want to explore the wide world of alkaline noodles, weve come up with a basic recipe that is relatively simple to make and uses fairly common ingredients and equipment.
This recipe’s aim is to demonstrate that making alkaline noodles at home is not only feasible but also satisfying. If you’re interested in experimenting more, we’ve provided the formula for each portion of noodles. Once you’ve made the recipe a few times and become familiar with the steps, you can gradually change the ingredient amounts to gain a better understanding of how even minor changes in ingredient quantities can have a significant impact on the noodles you ultimately produce.
You can make this exact same recipe with just one more gram of water per serving, and the resulting noodle will still be delicious to eat, but will have a less chewy bite and a slightly more slippery texture. This is an example of how sensitive noodles are to small changes in formula. The noodles produced during these experiments were all consumed by my wife, who actually preferred the 41% hydration noodle. You might feel the same way.
You can experiment with different flour types, custom flour blends, and alkaline salts in addition to altering the ratios of the ingredients. Doing so will help you understand the intricate interactions that result in such a wide variety of noodles from the very few basic ingredients of flour, salts, and water.
The newest variety, miso ramen, is also one of the most well-liked. It is distinctly Japanese and includes a sizable amount of the traditional Japanese ingredient miso fermented soy. The chicken or fish broth, which may also contain lard, can be either medium-thick or thin. You can find miso ramen with many different toppings.
Nearly every region and major city in Japan has its own unique ramen dish. A few have become nationally and globally famous.
Five Things to Know About Making Homemade Ramen
How are ramen noodles made?
Wheat flour, water, salt, and kansui, an alkaline water that gives the noodles elasticity, are the ingredients used to make instant ramen noodles. First, the ingredients are kneaded together to make a dough. The next step is to roll out the dough and cut it into thin noodles. After dehydration, the noodles are steamed before being packaged.
What is ramen actually made out of?
A packaged variety of instant noodle known as ramen is made from wheat flour, a variety of vegetable oils, and flavorings. To reduce cooking time for consumers, the noodles are pre-cooked, which means they have been steamed and then air dried or fried.
What is ramen and how is it made?
It consists of wheat noodles prepared in the Chinese style (or, chkamen) and served in a broth with toppings like sliced pork (chsh), nori (dried seaweed), menma (bamboo shoots), and scallions. Ramen has its roots in Chinese noodle dishes.
What are 3 main ingredients for ramen?
Ramen broth can be classified by ingredients into three categories. The first one is chicken broth made from chicken carcass. The second is a combination broth made with Japanese dashi stock and chicken. Tonkotsu, which is made from pork bones, is the third option.