(serves 3, scalable to however many)
You can change Spaghetti into Ramen noodles. This faux Ramen derived from pasta has got the bouncy texture of and a similar taste / aftertaste to real Ramen noodles. The special ingredient for making Ramen noodles is Kansui, an alkaline mineral water. What we are going to do here is use Bicarbonate of Soda to duplicate the alkaline effect. Boiling the pasta in alkaline water allows it to absorb more water than usual without getting soggy. Granted the result is not as perfect as fresh Ramen, but it’s close enough if you can’t buy authentic raw ramen near where you live.
- Spaghetti (250g)
- Bicarbonate of Soda
- Vinegar (white)
Please prepare the soup, meat, toppings etc. ahead of time and have them ready before your begin making your Ramen.
- Bring 5 cups of water to a boil in a large pot. Separately boil some additional water in a kettle for later use.
- Add 2 flat t of Bicarbonate of Soda to the pot. This will increase the pH of the water to the necessary alkalinity.
- Boil the spaghetti in the pot as per normal. After a while you will notice a few things that are different from when you normally cook pasta:
- Firstly the water will really foam up as the Bicarbonate reacts with the starch in the pasta. I included a photo of the reaction so you won’t be shocked when it happens. Anyway, this is why you need a larger pot than usual.
- Secondly, the water will become a bit slimy or gooey. This is normal, the same thing happens when you are boiling fresh raw ramen.
- Finally, as the pasta cooks it will turn into a deeper shade of yellow than usual, to the colour of ramen.
- When the noodles are done they will be a bit thicker than you’d normally expect of pasta because more water has been absorbed. For your first time it’s better to test the noodles by bite rather than relying on sight. You want the noodles to be just fully cooked, not al dente.
- When the noodles are cooked, immediately add 6T of a white type of vinegar, like rice or malt vinegar, into the water. Lemon juice should work too. Give the pot a good stir, you will get a second round of foaming as the bicarbonate is neutralized. This will get rid of the bitter taste.
- Pour the contents of the pot into a strainer and then give the ramen a good rinse with some very hot water from the kettle.
- Your Ramen is now ready for consumption.
- I wish I came up with this great idea but the credit belongs elsewhere. I came across it in a Japanese website.
- If you have a choice, buy the smallest guage spaghetti that you can find, i.e. the one with the smaller n number. This will maximize the surface area to volume ratio. In fact Spaghettini might be even better, but I hardly ever see any in supermarkets. I’ve also tried capelli (angel hair), but I found it to be too thin.
- There is no need to add oil to the pot as the bicarbonate reaction stops the pasta from sticking together. Besides, you don’t want oil to coat the pasta and inhibit the alkali from getting into the pasta..
- There is no need to add salt to the pot as sodium bicarbonate when neutralized becomes a type of salt.
- What about the rest of the Ramen? Not to worry, my site now has recipes for all the components of Ramen.