Hey guys, Yuto here (@sudachi.recipe).
Finding Ramen Noodles Abroad
From my experience
A common problem Japanese ramen lovers like myself face when living abroad, is the fact that there aren't ramen restaurants on every corner.
When I lived in Norwich, England, I always had this problem of not being able to find ramen.
There were a few ramen restaurants in London back then, but obviously I wouldn't go down to London just to fulfill my ramen craving right? lol
Trying to make by myself at home
So, first solution for the problem was to try to make ramen egg noodles from scratch at home.
It was a strenuous job indeed, messy one too!
I put ingredients together (Only ingredients that I could get easily) and used manual pasta machine to attempt.
Soup and chashu turned out to be a lot better than expected, however, noodle wasn't. (I want the time and effort back still :p)
Advice from folks all over the world
Since then, I almost gave up making ramen in my kitchen and got on with my life.
But I stumbled upon a cheat way to make ramen egg noodle from spaghetti!
Apparently, it is a common (essential) solution used by a lot of Japanese people who live abroad and love ramen.
I wish I knew this trick before I made a mess in the kitchen and got told off... if only...
What is the Ramen Noodle Trick?
Spaghetti and baking soda!?
So this trick is very popular among Japanese people who live abroad who also cannot get premade Ramen noodles.
So it's not only me who think the trick is good enough!
The trick is, cook normal spaghetti in water and baking soda!
Of course it's not technically the same but it's surprisingly close enough. I know it doesn't sound promising but trust me and other folks on that one.
How does the chemistry happen?
When you make egg noodles from scratch, using lye water is fairly essential.
Lye water is the one that makes noodles
- More yellow in colour
- A bit chewy in texture
- A distinctive smell
Lye water is alkaline.
If you dissolve baking soda in boiling water, apparently the boiling water becomes similar to lye water.
This causes spaghetti's starch and gluten to react.
What Can You Use Ramen Noodle For?
There are many dishes where you can use ramen noodles (including hack ramen noodles) for.
- Soup ramen (ラーメン）
- Soup-less ramen "Abura soba" (油そば)
- Ramen salad (ラーメンサラダ)
- Cold ramen for Summer (冷やし中華)
- Yakisoba (焼きそば)
And if making ramen noodle like noodles is so easy, you won't need to have the hassle of looking for the right egg noodles or making from scratch every time!
Big respect to whoever came up with this trick for the first time!