Noodles are a popular delicacy in many countries around the globe. Despite coming in different varieties such as soba noodles in Japan, chicken noodles in North America, and pasta in Italy, they all arise from some form of flour. The noodle varieties have subtle differences with North American ones for instance being enriched with egg yolks. Noodle enthusiasts have the option of either buying instant noodles from the store or they can choose to prepare home-made ones which can be a more fulfilling experience. Once you get used to making noodles, you’ll find extensive ways to enjoy them. The following article will provide extensive insight into how the main forms are made as well as how as a sneak peek into their different cooking recipes.
What Led to the Creation of Instant Noodles?
To provide a little context behind the brainchild of instant noodles we shall first delve into a historical overview of how instant noodles came about. Instant noodles first arose in Japan as a result of three key factors coming into place. Firstly, lots of Japanese experienced hunger after WWII. Secondly, the Japanese government decided to put to good use the wheat flour and oil rations supplied in the form of aid. Thirdly, a highly motivated entrepreneur seeking to rebuild his life was in the right place and at the right time. His name was Ando Momofuku.
He first invented “Chikin Ramen”, the first instant noodle in history which came as dried bricks. The seasoning came in a different packaging which closely resembles today’s varieties of instant noodles. He later reinvented it so that it would suit the cooking and eating habits of people around the world. Slowly but surely, his dream became a reality, with the dish increasingly gaining popularity with every passing day.
How Do You Create Instant Noodles?
The basic instant noodle production process has not changed much since its invention. After mixing the ingredients, the dough is rolled and cut into strips of noodles. Afterward, it is steamed, dried, fried for one minute or two to allow it to lose water completely. You can then cool and pack it into individual units. In some varieties, we skip the frying step and choose to dehydrate it using hot air.
Today, instant noodles come with sachets containing differently flavored seasoning. There are three main forms of seasoning, which include liquid, powder, and granulated powder. The powder type is the most popular form. They contain an array of ingredients ranging from basic components like sugar, salt, oil, and soy sauce to more complex components like seafood, fungi, dehydrated meat, and spices.
The third component found in instant noodles is the garnish. It is more commonly found in the more premium instant noodle varieties. It plays the key role of adding extra nutrition and enhancing the noodle’s texture. Modern technological advances have resulted in improved methods of enhancing the shelf-life of garnishes. Manufacturers have the option of drying them in a number of ways.
The first technique involves the use of hot air. It is quite similar to the method used in dehydrating non-fried noodles and it is the most popular. The second technique entails vacuum freezing where the ingredients are frozen at -30 degrees Celsius and then packed under a vacuum. This helps to maintain its nutritional value. The third technique involves the use of microwave heat. It utilizes machines to heat and dry our garnishes from the inside. This serves to preserve its integrity and texture. Lastly, manufacturers can opt to retort the garnishes. This entails cooking the garnish, filling it into pouches and then sterilizing it under pressure and heat.
How Do You Cook the Perfect Instant Noodles?
Here is the standard recipe for cooking up noodles.
Stage 1: Gather needed items.
There are a couple of things you first need to obtain before getting started. These include a pack of instant noodles, a spoon, a soup bowl, and a kettle. Most importantly, you simply need 15 minutes of your time and attention.
Stage 2: Break and Crunch up the Noodles.
Carefully break up the noodles into tiny bits before opening up the pack. Use your fingers instead of your palms that are more likely to pop the pack open and create an unwarranted mess.
Stage 3: Opening the Pack
Carefully open up the pack once the noodles inside have been broken up. You are likely for 2 to 3 mysterious packs inside. These are usually the seasoning, chili, and spices. The type of seasoning you obtain entirely depends on the flavor of noodles you bought. Meanwhile, the oil depends on the brand and flavor which may or may not have its flavor. It is sometimes not surprising to find the chili pack and oil absent.
Stage 4: Boil water
Add some water to your electric kettle and turn it on. You want your water to get boiling hot which would then be perfect for use in cooking ramen.
Stage 5: Prepare the Noodles
Pour the broken-up noodles into a bowl and proceed to ass the spice, seasoning and oil. This step takes up only a few seconds and the water my nor have boiled yet. Use this time to clean up your kitchen counter by throwing away the empty packs. You can also wipe away any ingredients that may have gotten spilled. Once you clean up you can enjoy your steaming meal with a clean conscience.
Stage 6: Pour in the Water
Proceed to pour your boiled water into the bowl of noodles. Ensure that you pour enough until the noodles present are almost completely submerged. Mix everything up with a spoon so as to get water to all the noodles. This also aids in mixing the seasoning evenly.
Stage 7: The Final Wait
Allow the mixture to do its magical transformation which takes about 3-5 minutes. Ensure that you mix it up every minute and break up any large pieces you may encounter. You will know when it’s ready after it gets soft. Now is the time to dig in and enjoy.
Are Instant Noodles Safe to Consume?
Instant noodles are regarded as one of the most convenient foods to consume. They are cheap, need minimal time and utilities to prepare and each portion provides 300 to 500 calories. It is thus an appealing source of nutrition, especially for people with limited time and resources. It, however, has some nutritional concerns if you’re planning on consuming them on a daily basis. It lacks sufficient quantities of fiber, proteins, minerals, and vitamins and is, therefore, an incomplete meal. You should consume instant noodles in moderation as long as you don’t forget to supplement them with other sources of nutrition like eggs, veggies, and meat.
How Can You Upgrade Your Instant Noodles?
In a bid to add a bit of extra flavor or improve the nutrition of your instant noodles, there are an array of recipes you can experiment with. Below are a few simple ways you can spice up your cup of noodles and make them lip-smacking as well as highly nutritious.
– Add an Egg.
This recipe elevates your simple cup of instant noodles to an entirely new level. You can opt to add a scrambled, boiled, half, or full-fried egg to a bowl of piping hot noodles. Better still, you crack open an egg over cooking noodles and let it simmer in the broth for a while. The end result is you much-loved noodles perfectly mixed up with eggs. This recipe confers a unique flavor to the dish. You can season it with garlic or chili powder to enhance its taste.
– Adding Some Roasted Chicken
Everything tastes better with chicken and instant noodles are no exception. Thinly sliced-up meat can be prepared in mere seconds which makes chicken breast the perfect candidate. You can start off by roasting some pieces of chicken then proceed to marinate them with pepper and lime. Afterward, you can add the pieces of chicken to freshly prepared instant noodles and gobble away in delight.
– Adding Peanut Butter
This recipe entails dousing the noodles with dollops of peanut butter. You can also add some stir-fried mushrooms, sweet potatoes and red peppers and mix them up properly. Afterward, proceed to season it using onion powder or oregano which leaves your meal tasting like Thai curry. The resulting dish will be quite a treat to your taste buds.
– Adding Sauteed Mushrooms in Ginger
Notably, Ginger and Saute mushrooms blend well in olive oil. If this is insufficient flavor add a pinch of spices such as Italian herbs and chili flakes to get you salivating. Proceed to mix it up with a steaming bowl of instant noodles and then relish the delectable goodness. The taste of ginger will be sure to linger long in your taste buds.
– Adding Cheese
After cooking your noodles for two minutes, proceed to add a few slices of cheese and a couple of servings of shredded feta. To enable you to enjoy a creamy and heavenly meal, add tandoori mayo and garlic mayo sauce. This ensures your tasty meal slides smoothly against your palate. For extra flavor, we recommend sprinkling chopped spring onion to this already scrumptiously bold meal.
– Adding Soy Sauce
Soy sauce is renowned for adding the right amount of flavor and balance to any complex food. Sprinkling a few drops of soy sauce into a steaming cup of ramen adds the much-needed kick to salt and spice already present.
– Adding Lime Juice
If your tastebuds and palate have a taste for tangy and spicy food, then lime juice is the perfect addition to spice-ware. Two tablespoons of lime juice, as well as a drop of tabasco sauce, are enough to satisfy the most elite of taste buds.
– Cooking it Coconut Milk
Try cooking up your cup of noodles in coconut milk instead of water. For spice, fish sauce, Thai curry paste, and sugar go well with coconut milk. This results in a thick mouth-watering broth that is served only to prepare again. This meal fit for the deities can be further improved by adding some mushrooms, red bell peppers and celery sticks.
– Adding Pesto Sauce
For those in hurry but still craving something spicy, then adding a generous helping of pesto sauce is enough to satisfy this need. It is simple and straightforward yet quite effective.
How to Make Homemade Noodles
– Gather the Noodle Ingredients
Ensure you have gathered up flour, salt, oil, eggs, and water. These are the key ingredients to making noodle dough.
– Mixing the Dough
In a large mixing bowl, stir the flour together with the salt and then create a well at the center of the mixture. Meanwhile, have a separate bowl ready for mixing eggs with water and oil. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture then stir them until you obtain a sticky dough. This is okay as it will get smoother as you continue kneading it.
– Knead the Dough.
First, sprinkle the remaining flour onto a clean kneading surface. Pour the dough out onto the floured surface and knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic. This step takes up about 8 to 10 minutes and requires one to use up some elbow grease. Kneading involves folding the dough followed by pushing it with the heel of your hand. Turn the dough and repeat the folding and pushing motion until you get the right consistency.
– Rolling the Dough
Divide the dough into four equal portions using a sharp knife before rolling part on a lightly floured surface. Dust both sides of the dough with extra flour and let the dough stand uncovered for 20 minutes. You can then use a rolling pin or pasta machine at this stage. Pasta makers are ideal for getting the desired thickness while the rolling pin is less costly and requires a bit more effort.
– Cut the Noodles.
If you’re looking for the traditional long noodle look, then first loosely roll the dough into a spiral. Then cut the spiral crosswire into ¼ or 1/8- inch-wide strips. Proceed to unroll the strips separately and cut them into 2-to3-inch lengths. At this point, your homemade noodles are ready for cooking.
The guide above has hopefully provided insight into how to prepare instant noodles and homemade noodles.