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How to Cook Ramen Noodles the Asian Way

Updated on October 2, 2011

Asian Style Ramen Cookery

Ramen noodles are my favorite go to dish whenever I need a quick meal yet don't want to make a fuss in the kitchen. And like most people instant ramen was a staple during my college years and I never grew tired of it. After reminiscing with a few friends about cooking ramen and sharing ideas and recipes about dressing up ramen dishes I discovered that no one was cooking ramen noodles the way I cook them, which is the Asian way.

My friends have always been cooking the noodles by following the directions on the packaging. And all complained of soggy noodles. I'm not saying that the directions are wrong. However, of all the Asian households and restaurants I've eaten ramen noodles in I have seen it prepared a different way.

The cooking directions on ramen packages calls for adding the noodles into boiling water and cooking for 3 minutes followed by taking the pot off the heat and adding the seasoning.

The Asian method starts with adding the ramen to the boiling water. But they only par-cook the noodles until the strands loosen up, which takes about a few minutes. Then the noodles are dumped into a colander and drained followed by a quick wash in cold water. This will essentially stop the noodles from cooking further and have an 'al dente' (slightly chewier) consistency. Another words you won't have soggy noodles. If you cook the noodles too long all of the starch will leach out onto the boiling water and will begin to absorb more liquid.

Next fill a pot with 2 and 1/2 cups of water (per package) and bring to a boil. Add the packets of seasonings that came with the ramen followed by the par-cooked noodles and bring to a boil again and then it's ready to eat.

Instant ramen noodles are not the most nutritious meal packets in the supermarket isles. One glance at the sodium contents is enough to raise your blood pressure. And most people eat 2 packages at a time, which I myself am guilty of. If you are concerned it is a good idea to add half of the seasoning. It's really easy to make ramen nutritious by adding vegetables. I like to add heart healthy extra virgin olive oil to my ramen after par-cooking and draining.

I spruce up my ramen dishes whenever I can. It's actually kind of fun to experiment. You can easily buy Chinese BBQ roast pork, chicken or dumplings at your local Asian supermarket. I know a friend who buys slices of rare roast beef at the deli and adds it to his ramen to give it a Vietnamese Pho style flair.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Par-cook your ramen to avoid soggy noodlesI like adding pork dumplings to my ramenNormally I'm a good boy and add some vegetables...
Par-cook your ramen to avoid soggy noodles
Par-cook your ramen to avoid soggy noodles | Source
I like adding pork dumplings to my ramen
I like adding pork dumplings to my ramen | Source
Normally I'm a good boy and add some vegetables...
Normally I'm a good boy and add some vegetables... | Source
Nissin Instant Noodle Original Favor (Pack of 12) Each: 3.5oz (100g)
Nissin Instant Noodle Original Favor (Pack of 12) Each: 3.5oz (100g)

This is the original and the best ramen noodle from Nissin, the best brand of ramen noodles available in the markets.

 
Whole wheat ramen noodle package sold in Thailand
Whole wheat ramen noodle package sold in Thailand | Source

Not All Ramen are Created Equal

I've had a good chance to sample a lot of different packaged ramen noodles in during my mid teens. Being fortunate enough to live near New York City's Chinatown I was just a block away from all the Chinese groceries selling all varieties of ramen noodles from different countries.

I must say there are a lot of inferior quality ramen noodles and I find most of them in Wal-Marts, K-Marts and other brand name supermarkets. I noticed that the better quality ramen noodles are sold by Asian groceries and supermarkets. Every city has at least one Asian market and chances are you'll find Nissin brand ramen noodles.

Nissin offers quite a few choices to choose but my favorites are the sesame oil and beef based instant noodles. I've tried the seafood and chicken flavors and found the flavors a bit lacking. Personally I avoid cup style ramen noodles. It may have something to do with the plastic cups which to me leaves a bit of the plastic taste in my mouth. Surprisingly, in Bangkok where I live half the year has whole wheat instant ramen noodles. And why we don't have any here in the US really boggles me.

However you enjoy your ramen noodles I always think it is a fun food, a comfort food of sorts especially when the days are cold and you just want something quick and satisfying. You can easily spice it up to make something different and unique or just eat it as is and it will still put smile on my face.

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    • profile image

      bri36 

      6 years ago

      Always willing to help out a fellow ramen chef.

    • Edwin Clark profile imageAUTHOR

      Edwin Clark 

      6 years ago from Thailand by way of New York

      @ bri36, you are certainly right! Ramen is excellent for stir fry, yummm I'm getting hungry just thinking about it already, thanks for adding an excellent tip!

    • profile image

      bri36 

      6 years ago

      Try this out, after par-cooking the noodles give them a quick spin in the wok with the veggies in the stir fry. This will give them the flavor of the spices and stuff in the oil. Thanks bro this is a great hub and gives me some new stuff to try. Yes I voted^

    • justmesuzanne profile image

      justmesuzanne 

      6 years ago from Texas

      That's a good tip! Thanks! Voted up and useful! :)

    • Edwin Clark profile imageAUTHOR

      Edwin Clark 

      7 years ago from Thailand by way of New York

      @amazingchild, do try par-cooking the noodles, it will make the world of difference =)

    • sortapundit profile image

      sortapundit 

      7 years ago from Copenhagen

      Whenever I arrive in a new city I go on the hunt for a source of good ramen. As far as restaurants go I usually hit the jackpot in Korean joints (where it's advertised as 'ramyun' or 'ramyeon'). For the cheap pot noodle variety you can't go wrong with Shin Cup, available here in Thailand from Tesco Express stores. Nissin, on the other hand, I've found a little hit and miss. Good article :)

    • amazingchild profile image

      amazingchild 

      7 years ago from Phoenix, AZ

      Thanks for sharing! I am guilty of making my ramen according to the package directions and it's true-- it's never as good as it could be! I'll try your way for sure.

    • Edwin Clark profile imageAUTHOR

      Edwin Clark 

      7 years ago from Thailand by way of New York

      Hello carolp, I've never thought about adding egg whites only. However I do add a raw egg and let the broth cook it through. It makes the noodles smoother and much more yummy. Anything to spruce up plain ramen is a good thing =)

    • carolp profile image

      Carolina 

      7 years ago from Switzerland

      I like ramen noodles. My favorite is shrimp flavor. My daughter used to cook this for a quick lunch in her office. I usually take it when i am on my night duty for a quick snack. I add some vegetables or eggwhite in it. Yami...

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