Have you ever eaten the few pieces of instant ramen left in the package after you have thrown the noodles into boiling water to cook? And, to your surprise, did you find that it actually tasted really good?
Can you eat ramen raw? Yes, you can eat ramen raw. There is nothing unhealthy or dangerous about it, as instant ramen is pre-cooked and dehydrated. You can eat raw ramen from time to time as a snack. However, it does not have much nutritional value plain.
This article is for those who eat ramen raw and for those who think no one should.
Keep reading to learn why it is okay to eat uncooked ramen. You will also get a few ideas on how to cook with raw noodles to see what all the fuss is about.
How Is Ramen Made?
Instant noodles, also known as instant ramen or simply ramen, are the favorite quick meal for many people. Originally from Japan, instant ramen has taken over the hearts of all people despite the country they live in.
A package of these instant noodles contains a block of ramen, one packet loaded with seasoning, and maybe another loaded with oil to make them flavorful.
While we all know that ramen needs a few minutes to cook, few know that ramen noodles are actually pre-cooked. While there are many different types of noodles used for ramen, classic ramen noodles are made the same way.
The main ingredients of ramen noodles are wheat flour, water, and salt. An important ingredient is kansui. This is an alkaline solution. It is added to control the acidity level during the dough-making process.
When the dough for the instant noodles is kneaded, it is then rolled out thin and sliced into long, thin pieces. This is when the noodles are cooked. Manufacturers steam ramen noodles to pre-cook them.
But, as packaging the noodles with high water content in them would make them extremely perishable, the noodles are dehydrated. This is done using various techniques.
Some manufacturers dehydrate the noodles by frying them, while others do it with the help of other techniques involving high temperatures.
Dehydration is the secret behind the long shelf life of instant ramen noodles. For reference, the water content in instant noodles is not higher than 10%. And foods with water content lower than 12% are very shelf-stable.
Due to the technology used to manufacture instant ramen, these noodles are easy to rehydrate. They take only a few minutes to cook.
Moreover, you have probably noticed that overcooking instant noodles even for a few minutes makes them overly soft.
Can You Eat Raw Ramen?
Have you ever been tempted to eat ramen as-is, without cooking it? Well, you can! But your common sense may have convinced you not to do it, as the noodles are raw and unflavored, and you need to cook them.
Additionally, we have all heard from our moms that eating raw ramen will give us stomachache.
Now that you know how instant ramen noodles are made, you may no longer call ramen noodles ‘raw,’ as they are essentially cooked. They are simply dehydrated for preservation purposes.
So, yes, you can eat ramen raw. In fact, many people enjoy eating raw ramen as a snack. This is what they do in Japan and what many other ramen lovers have tried doing at least once.
If you are curious about trying out raw ramen, here is how to do it for the best experience:
- Crush the noodles before opening the package. If the package is small and there is a risk of it exploding, transfer the brick of noodles into a sealable plastic bag and only then start crushing it. You can crush the noodles using a pan if you want to get smaller pieces.
- Open the bag and take out the seasoning packet.
- Pour the contents of the seasoning packet into the bag with crushed ramen noodles. You may or may not use the entire thing. It all depends on how salty you want the noodles to be.
- Close the bag and shake well to coat the noodle pieces with seasoning.
- Enjoy your snack!
You may even decide not to use your packet’s seasonings at all and instead make a mix of your own. We encourage you to experiment with different spices and flavorings.
Is Eating Dry Ramen Bad for You?
Ramen noodles are cooked and dehydrated. Thus, eating them raw won’t cause any health issues.
It’s like eating potato chips. However, while eating raw ramen doesn’t involve any health risks, you are not recommended to eat it often, as it is certainly not a healthy snack.
Eating raw ramen has the same nutritional value as eating it cooked. The carb content in raw ramen doesn’t change when you cook it.
Additionally, it contains lots of sodium and is high in calories while having no significant nutritional value.
Thus, raw ramen can’t be any worse for you as far as the nutritional value is concerned. It is not a secret that ramen is delicious but not as healthy as we’d like it to be.
The only thing is, with cooked instant ramen noodles, you may be tempted to add other ingredients to make the quick dinner taste better. These are typically vegetables, but can also be eggs, tofu, meats, or different spices and condiments.
If you’re adding healthy ingredients to it, cooked ramen noodles are certainly better for you than dry ramen.
Additionally, ramen with eggs, veggies, and other ingredients is quite filling. In the meantime, eating it raw as a snack will make you feel full only for a short period of time. And then you will feel the need to snack on something else.
3 Ways You Can Use Uncooked Ramen
If you really like raw ramen and want to use it more often, don’t eat it plain as a snack. There are other fun ways to incorporate raw ramen into your meals or make it the central ingredient of your dishes.
Here are three fun ways to use instant ramen noodles without cooking them.
Crunchy Salad Topping
Why do we enjoy eating raw ramen so much? It’s all about the crunch! But instead of eating raw ramen as-is, it is better to use it as a salad topping.
Crushed ramen will add texture to your salads. It will make them unique and unlike anything you’ve made before.
Ramen noodles will pair nicely with shredded cabbage, carrots, green onion, etc. You can also spice things up by using chicken-flavored ramen noodles or even seasoning your salad with the flavor packet provided.
The Ultimate Crispy Breading
If you need to fry chicken or fish but don’t have breadcrumbs to use for breading, a pack or two of instant ramen noodles can be a good substitute for them. In fact, they may actually be better, making your fried chicken or fish extra crispy.
Crush the uncooked ramen noodles until you reach small-sized pieces suitable for breading. Add your desired spices and seasoning and use the ramen breading the same way you would use breadcrumbs.
You can fry anything you want in ramen crumbs. The flavor and texture of crushed noodles will work for many ingredients.
Raw Ramen Pizza
If you want to learn new ways to use instant ramen noodles, here is a quick, easy, and fun recipe – pizza prepared using raw ramen noodle blocks as the crust.
To make this raw ramen pizza, break the uncooked ramen block vertically into two thinner blocks.
Pour some pizza sauce into a plate and soak one side of the ramen with the sauce. Put the ramen on a baking pan, top with lots of mozzarella cheese, and add other ingredients to taste.
Bake until the cheese melts and the ramen crust becomes golden brown.
By the time you take the pizza out of the oven, the noodles will have absorbed some moisture from the sauce you have dipped them in and cooked halfway through while holding their shape and the toppings.
What Is the Best Way to Eat Ramen?
While uncooked instant ramen noodles taste good and make a fun snack, the best way to prepare ramen noodles is by cooking them. But there are a few secrets to perfectly cooked instant ramen noodles.
Follow these steps for perfectly cooked instant ramen noodles:
- Pour 2.5 cups of water into a pan and bring it to a boil.
- Add the noodles as soon as the water starts boiling. Never add the noodles into the water if it hasn’t come to a boil yet, as doing this will cause the noodles to become soft and mushy.
- Cook the noodles in boiling water for 2 minutes.
- Add the soup packet that comes with the noodles, stir to combine, and cook for half a minute.
- Turn the heat off and add an egg. Don’t stir. Instead, pull the noodles over the egg. The heat from the noodles will cook the egg within seconds.
- Transfer the noodles into a bowl.
- Add butter, greens, veggies, and other ingredients to taste.
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