Ronnie's Awesome List presents a guest article by Amy Kimoto-Kahn, author of "Simply Ramen", a compilation of 70 traditional and non-traditional ramen recipes for the noodle lover, which is now available for pre-sale at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Indie Bound.
Ramen is special, because it’s not just noodles and soup. It’s a well-choreographed bowl of goodness with each element able to stand out on its own. A good bowl will give both your mind and body overall satisfaction and let you feel it for hours after as you lick your lips and still taste the soup lingering. Hungry yet? Then let's get started on a ramen noodle recipe that you can involve the kids in.
Making homemade ramen noodles is a perfect rainy day or weekend activity for you and the kids. You can get them done ahead of time and then freeze them in individual portions (for up to a month). Then when you are ready to make a complete bowl of ramen, it won’t feel like you’ve slaved away in a kitchen all day. The noodles are just one component of ramen, so after the noodles, move on to the miso base - then your nearly done!
electric mixer with a dough hook (preferred unless kneading)
Homemade Ramen Noodles
Serves: 8 portions
Prep time: 3 hours
3 1/2 cups bread flour
½ cup cake flour
2 teaspoons ‘baked baking soda’, recipe included or kansui powder
1 1/4 cups water
1 tablespoon salt
- if you are hand kneeding, change water to 1 1/2 cups
A perfect noodle has a yellowy hue, is cooked on the al dente side and has a chewy, elastic yet firm texture that will hold up to the soup without turning limp or soggy.
First you need to make some ‘baked baking soda’. This replaces a Japanese ingredient known as ‘kansui’ that gives ramen noodles their signature yellowy hue and firmness but is often difficult to find. Harold McGee, the king of kitchen science, discovered that by baking baking soda, you could get the same affect as the kansui. Spread about 1/4 cup of baking soda on a foil-lined baking sheet and place it in the oven at 275 degrees for 1 hour. You can save the remainder in a ziplock bag as this recipe only calls for 2 teaspoons. Just fold up your tinfoil to make it easier to put in a storage bag.
Serves: 8 portion
1. In a small bowl, combine the baked baking soda or kansui powder and water until it dissolves.
2. In a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the flours, kansui water and salt. Mix for 10 minutes on the lowest speed until the dough forms little pellets. If you need to, add up to 5 additional teaspoons of water. The dough is ready when it feels dry but will come together when squeezed with your hand.
3. Pour the dough out onto a floured board and kneed into a ball for at least 10 minutes. For kids, you can put your dough in a plastic zip lock bag and form it into a ball so that it is easier to bring together and knead.
4. When you are ready to make your pasta, set up your pasta machine so that it is stable and won’t slip from your work surface.
5. Cut your dough ball into 8 equal pieces (in half, then in quarters) and use one piece at a time, keeping the rest wrapped tightly with plastic wrap or sealed in your zip lock bag.
6. Roll out one piece until it resembles a flat, long shape. Sprinkle with some cornstarch so it doesn’t stick to the pasta maker.
7. Pass it through your pasta machine on the largest setting – it will be a bit rough on the edges but don’t worry about how it looks. Fold it over on itself and pass it again.
8. Reduce the width to 2 and pass through. Fold it over on itself and pass it again.
9. Reduce the width to 4 and pass through once. You’ll have one long strip that you can then cut in half.
10. Reduce the width to 6 and pass through one of the halves twice. Repeat with the other half.
11. Now you are ready to run it them through the noodle cutter attachment.
12. The two strips will yield enough noodles for 1 bowl of ramen. Sprinkle each batch of noodles with additional cornstarch, lifting up the noodles to separate and lightly coat them, then pack them individually in plastic wrap. Let sit for at least a day before using. If planning to use later, put them in individual zip lock bags and store in the freezer for up to one month.
13. Cook fresh pasta in a pot of boiling water. Depending on the number of portions, cook for 1-2 minutes. Shake out all excess water and lay a portion in your bowl of hot soup by folding them over onto each other so they do not look messy. Then add toppings.
Amy Kimoto-Kahn just published her first book, Simply Ramen, A Complete Course in Preparing Ramen Meals at Home is available at a pre-sale discount for a limited time at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Indie Bound. Amy lives with her family in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is Yonsei or fourth-generation Japanese-American and a mom of three. She is a graduate of the Miyajima Ramen School in Osaka, Japan and has taught a popular series of Asian-inspired cooking classes for Williams-Sonoma. She shares her Japanese-American homestyle, kids-will-like-it-too recipes on her blog, EASY PEASY JAPANESEY. When she is not cooking, she runs a mom-focused marketing firm, Fat Duck Consulting that she founded in 2008.