Ramen Noodles

I love noodles or all kinds, but I haven’t had much luck in the noodle making department. I’ve come to think of myself as a noodle eater rather than a noodle maker. Generally, I think noodle making is best left to the professionals, and after attempting the ramen noodles in Momofuku, the distinction between noodle eaters and noodle makers has been cemented in my mind.

Chang’s noodle recipe calls for alkaline salts, which give the noodles that bouncy chew that I love so much. I didn’t manage to find any alkaline salts locally, but I did find kansui, a liquid combination of the sodicum bi-carbonate and potassium carbonate required.

The recipe is simple enough, just water, flour and the alkaline salts. The dough came together quickly and was a dream to roll out, but I made two crucial mistakes. First, I think I actually managed to roll the dough too thin. Chang advises you to roll until the dough is as thin as the machine can roll it. My machine actually rolled it to a thinness that was nothing near the thickness of actual ramen noodles.

My second mistake was not flouring the noodles after I cut them. After a couple of minutes of resting while I was boiling water, the noodles were one giant noodle again. I gently separated and floured, but some noodles still ended up being suck together.

Taste wise, the noodles were, for lack of a better word, slimy. I’m not sure if it was because of the extra flour I dusted on or because of the actual recipe, but the noodles just weren’t that good. Guess I’ll be sticking to eating noodles of the store bought variety!

19 Comments add yours

  1. I think simple egg doughs are easier, especially with a pasta roller. Rolling them out with a pin is … time consuming.
    Some recipes are pretty easy and come together pretty fast even without a food processor.

    I don’t know what to say about the texture. Was there any fat in the dough or working surfaces? Alkali + fat = soap.

    The noodles still look nice though.

  2. They’re beautiful nonetheless! This is one type of noodle I have yet to make. I’ve made all sorts of Italian noodles, soba noodles, udon, etc., but never ramen!!

  3. Your photos are still beautiful. :)

  4. WOWSERS, your noodles look sooooooooooooooooo beautiful!!!! At least you got some sweet pics out of your labor. =)

  5. I had the exact same problem with the noodles. (I found the alkaline salts online through different purveyors– but my measurements were not to the exact .5g). I kept the noodles a bit thicker. But they were still slimy when cooked and they had that distinct alkaline stink to them. I’m not sure what the secret is. I would LOVE to know!

    Anyway– your blog is fantastic. I’ve been here since day one and I am very impressed with the direction you’ve taken it. You have a ton of talent and are very creative!

    You should try par boiling your noodles and then washing them in an ice bath. Cook them when you want to after that. It should help with the slimyness.

    Ange on January 13th, 2014 at 7:42 am
  6. I just finished my Mi Momofuku blog and have been making the alkaline noodles for several months. I have found that King Arthur bread flour gives me consistently good results. The proportions in the book call for too much water – you just want to moisten all the flour. I use an Artisan Kitchenaid w/ a dough hook and “knead” for 10 minutes. If a ball forms with the mixer (as per the instructions) your dough will be too soft. It could be that the instructions work if you have a professional grade mixer. I have found that I have the right amount of moisture when a firm ball forms when I press the dough together w/ my hands. I roll the dough and hang the strips on dowels while I continue w/ the rest of the dough. By the time I’m finished rolling the strips will be dry enough to put through the cutters w/o dusting w/ extra flour. I only dust the noodles with flour when I put them in piles for storage. I also cook each portion of noodles separately and use a spider to remove from the water and drain. It might take some practice but a bowl of handmade ramen is absolutely worth the effort.

  7. you are so brave to attempt this project – your noodles look great. I only tried the slow-poached eggs and failed miserably…wonderful fotos, too.

    Thanks! If you want any tips for the eggs, just ask and I’ll be glad to help. I’ve had failures with them as well.

    steph on August 3rd, 2010 at 10:37 am
  8. if you used liquid alkaline instead of powder sifted into miture, that might be why they were slimy

  9. I’ve done well with pasta egg noodles, but I just tried the Lucky Peach magazine alkaline noodles and failed. I used the “baked soda” they recommend. The noodles turned out soggy and didn’t taste right either.
    I’m thinking the “baked soda” (sodium bicarbonate to sodium carbonate) didn’t work out. Maybe it needs to bake longer (see Lucky Peach mag)?

  10. I found a better recipe somewhere else. It called for 300g bread flour, 1/2C warm water, and 1 tsp of liquid kansui (Koon Chun Brand). I just brought it together with the dough hook of a mixer. It should come out fairly dry. What was important was bringing it together further by running it through the thickest setting on the pasta machine, and letting it rest in the fridge over night after separating it into two balls. The thinnest setting I made it was at 5 (I don’t know if pasta machines are universal, but mine goes from 1 (thickest) to 7 (thinnest)). It was delicious and beautiful. I hope your bad experience doesn’t discourage you from trying it again!

  11. @ Eden – that recipe had an error, and should have stated teaspoons instead of tablespoons of baked soda.

  12. From http://www.mcsweeneys.net/luckypeach/

    Apologies to Harold McGee and to all of you who tried to make alkaline noodles with 4 tablespoons of baked soda. Please only use 4 teaspoons. Damnit.

  13. I too made the Lucky Peach noodles that were an absolute disaster. It was not until now that I knew about the error in the recipe. I may try again.

  14. Dust them with rice flour or semolina and you will lose the sliminess…

  15. The gift that keeps on giving! I, too, just tried the alkaline noodles recipe from issue 1 of Lucky Peach. I only found this blog by Googling “Alkaline Noodles Soapy”. Thanks for the correction!

  16. sooo what’s the recipe?!

  17. Not good to give up after one try

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