What is an alkaline noodle?
In Ramen, the most typical noodle used to create the dish is an alkaline noodle. It is made from all-purpose flour and kansui, which is also called alkaline water. Alkaline water is basically a compound of potassium carbonate and sodium bicarbonate; this is why ramen gets its yellow color and is as springy as Justin Timberlake’s hair in 1999. But really, the alkaline solution is what makes ramen ramen, with its earthy, unmatched, salty taste and spongy texture.
How to make Alkaline Noodles
Alkaline Noodle ingredients:
4 cups of all-purpose flour
1 cup warm water
2 tbsp salt
2 tbsp kansui/alkaline water
Kansui isn’t always available at the market, but try your local Asian market, so you might end up making it yourself. You will need a foil-covered baking sheet lathered with a layer of baking soda. Let the sheet bake at 250-300 degrees for one hour. The soda’s water and carbon dioxide will quickly evaporate, leaving you with a strong, concentrated alkali. Once the soda is baked, tightly seal it is a jar to prevent the mixture from absorbing any moisture in the air.
Making the noodles:
Alkalize the noodles. Start by combining the kansui and water to create the alkaline mixture, then add the mixture to the flour. Knead the dough in the alkalized liquid until it molds into a ball- this might take about 5 minutes. If the kneading gets too heavy for your automatic mixer, finish it by hand.
Soak the noodles. From the ball of dough you’ve just patiently kneaded together, divide quarters, remold into a spherical mass that can be wrapped in plastic wrap (a damp towel works, too!). Let the sphere of noodles rest for 20 minutes.
Flattening the noodles. Flatten the dough entirely (this is not easy!) and begin to feed it into your roller which you’ve attached to the mixer. You might have to feed the pieces through the roller several times for desired results. If the noodles keep coming out raggedy, brush the surface with flour and keep trying until you reach the ideal thickness. Not sure how thick you want your noodles to be? Consider the focal point of your pasta. If it is the sauce or toppings, smaller noodles are more advantageous; they’ll allow the sauce to keep the eater’s attention. If you want your hard-earned noodles to steal the show, then the thick the noodle, the better.
Shaping the noodles. Now it is the chef’s time to shine as an artist. Try to catch the noodles once they reach a length that’s easy to catch. Quickly douse them in flour and prepare to twirl into serving portion. Want to impress your guests? Dish the noodles as you catch them from the runner, and if you need to save some for seconds, toss the noodles into boiling water.
Add to your broth and top away. Ramen noodles are often categorized by types of broth: salt, soy sauce, miso, and pork. Typical flavors include picante beef, roast beef, shrimp, lime shrimp, lime chili shrimp, chili and chicken tortilla. If you have any toppings to accent the broth you’ve chosen to serve, decorate the bowl of noodles with a chef’s light touch.
Come to Noodle Bar for an immersive experience. Try our takes on ramen classics, and see how many types of noodles and broth you’ve yet to expose your taste buds. Our staff and chefs eagerly await your dining company- see you soon!