I love stopping by the ramen aisle when grocery shopping, especially when winter is around the corner. But we also know instant noodles come with extra calories, fat and nasty preservatives. The solution? Bring out your best pasta maker for ramen and make some from scratch!
What are Ramen Noodles?
But before we learn how to make ramen with a pasta machine, let’s get to know this food item first. Ramen is a wheat-based noodle. What makes it different from other types is the addition of alkaline water or kansui.
This key ingredient reduces dough acidity, making the noodles slightly yellow and firmer. That way, ramen noodles can hold their shape even when submerged for a long time in a soup broth.
And there are lots of delicious broth types that can go with your homemade ramen:
- Tonkotsu, a flavourful pork bone-based broth with milk or gravy-like consistency
- Shoyu, a brown fish, chicken or beef broth with soy sauce added
- Miso, a chicken or fish-based broth with fermented soybean paste
- Shio, the saltiest, light-bodied broth made from chicken, pork or seafood
Ramen is very popular in Japan, and it even has a museum dedicated to it! But did you know that the noodles originated in China?
Historians say ramen came from the Chinese term la mian, which stands for pulled noodles. Pulling noodles by hand is the traditional way of making ramen, which takes years to master.
Nowadays, we can use the best pasta maker for ramen to speed up the process.
What Do I Need to Make Ramen Noodles?
You need to prep the ingredients and tools to make ramen, like making fresh pasta.
Here’s an eggless ramen recipe good for four servings. It’s beginner-friendly as it only has three ingredients:
- 240g (2 cups) plain or all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baked baking soda (or 1 tsp lye water)
- ½ cup + 1 tsp warm water
You only need a few basic tools for ramen making:
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Digital scale
- Bench scraper
- Large mixing bowl
- Pasta noodle machine
What is the Best Pasta Maker for Ramen?
You can use almost any pasta maker, like the Razorri Electric Pasta Machine, to make ramen noodles from scratch. But there are a few features you need to consider.
Easy to Use
There are two types of pasta machines: an electric and manual model. The good thing about electric pasta makers is the minimal physical work involved.
They can mix the dough and extrude the noodle strands for you. These work faster, too.
However, automatic pasta machines have limited dough capacities. On the other hand, manual pasta makers are best for making a big batch of noodles.
Your choice between an electric and manual pasta noodle machine should also depend on the price. Generally, an electric model is more expensive.
Choose a machine that suits your preference so you won’t have to pay for the extra features you do not need.
Easy to Clean
An electric pasta maker for ramen is easy to clean since the dough mixing happens inside the unit. Still, it has several small parts to wash and store.
Ideally, look for models with dishwasher-safe parts for faster clean-up. On the other hand, a manual pasta machine will likely leave your bench covered in flour.
But then, the unit itself often requires minimal wiping. Make sure to choose a manual machine that you can detach for thorough cleaning.
What are the Steps in Ramen Making?
Do you have your ingredients, tools and best pasta maker for ramen ready? Here are the steps to start making your noodles with a manual pasta machine.
Note that if you are using an electric pasta maker, follow your manual for buttons to press.
1. Prep your baked baking soda.
To do this, preheat your oven to 120C. While preheating, line a baking tray with foil or parchment paper.
Spread about 1 cup of baking soda onto the tray, then bake it for 1 hour.
Once done, let the baked baking soda cool down, then store it in an airtight container.
2. Mix your ingredients.
It’s time to make your lye or alkaline water. To do this, follow the amount of baked baking soda and water in the recipe, and mix.
Place the measured flour in a large bowl, then add your alkaline solution. Combine them using a spoon, spatula or chopsticks.
The flour should turn yellowish and the mixture a bit crumbly in texture. Use your hands to squeeze the crumbs into a ball.
If the crumbs are too dry, add one tablespoon of warm water, then squish them again until they come together.
Aim for a dough that looks a bit dry but cohesive. There should be no crumbs left on the bowl, too.
You can also use a stand mixer with a paddle attachment for this if you want.
3. Rest, then roll out the dough.
Wrap your dough ball in plastic wrap and allow it to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. You can also leave the dough in the bowl, then cover the top with a damp tea towel.
While waiting, prepare your rolling pin, bench scraper and manual pasta maker. Set the machine to the widest setting.
When ready, unwrap the ramen dough and divide it in half. Rewrap the other piece of dough while you flatten the other into an oval disk.
You might need to use the rolling pin to whack and soften the dough. Now, let the dough pass through the pasta noodle machine. Keep doing this step three to four times more.
4. Cut the dough into strips.
Your dough should look a bit smoother now. Next, fold its ends towards the centre, then in half. Pass the dough again through the widest setting.
Keep rolling six to eight times until you get a long rectangular dough with no holes or broken spots.
Now, adjust the machine to a higher thickness setting, then pass the dough through twice without folding it into thirds. You might need to dust it a bit with flour to prevent sticking.
Keep rolling and adjusting your machine setting until you reach the desired noodle thickness. Once done, cut your dough sheet into shorter sections, depending on how long you want your ramen to be.
Finally, it’s time for the fun part! Switch your pasta roller attachment to a spaghetti cutter. Then, pass each dough sheet through the machine to turn it into separate noodle strands.
You can also use a knife for cutting if you do not have a pasta cutter.
5. Cook the noodles in boiling water.
Bring a pot of water (no salt) to a boil. If you have a noodle basket, put your fresh ramen inside. Then, submerge the basket in water, and use your tongs or chopsticks to move the noodles around.
You can also drop the noodles directly into the pot, then use the tongs to stir them around and prevent sticking. Cook the noodles for 1 minute or longer, depending on noodle thickness and preference.
Once cooked, drain the noodle strands and shake off excess starch and water thoroughly. Add your cooked ramen to the broth of your choice.
Remember, cook your fresh ramen noodles in water first. Cooking them into the broth will only make your soup cloudy.
Make Ramen the Easy Way
And there you have it! Ramen requires simple pantry ingredients only. And with the best pasta maker for ramen at home, noodle making should quickly become a habit.
Check online for recipe ideas, and try out all sorts of broths and toppings for your fresh noodles!