Updated: Mar 21, 2020
Fresh ramen noodles are so much better than the dried ones you can get in the shops, and there’s nothing better than making them yourself, so here’s how to do it. It’s not very difficult, but it does take a lot of patience. You will need a pasta machine or roller, as it’s virtually impossible to roll them out by hand like udon, as the dough is much drier. Traditionally noodles are pulled, but this takes years and years of practice, so I don’t recommend it! The key to a good ramen noodle is the kansui, alkaline water. This is what makes the noodles springy and makes them hold the texture while they sit in hot broth. Hard water is naturally more alkaline, so is better for making ramen noodles than soft water. As it takes a few hours to make the noodles, I suggest you make a larger quantity once you have tried this recipe. They will keep for a very long time in the freezer, and are handy to have ready to whip out for a quick meal.
How to make Ramen noodles
Makes: 5 portions of ramen
Time to prepare: 2 hours, plus 2 hours resting time
500g tipo ‘00’ flour
4g bicarbonate of soda (natron)
4g sea salt
pasta roller with spaghetti attachment
1. First make the kansui water: Place the water, bicarbonate of soda, and sea salt in a pan. Bring to the boil, and keep boiling for 10 minutes. You should see most of the bicarbonate dissolve, and the water will evaporate by about half.
2. Remove from the heat, and measure to check you have 220g of water left. Leave to cool to room temperature. You may still have a little powder left undissolved, but that’s fine.
3. Place the flour in a bowl. Add the cooled down kansui water and start mixing with your hands. Keep mixing until all the flour is incorporated, and a dough starts to form.
4. Once everything is sticking together, tip the dough onto the table. Continue to knead the dough until it starts to soften. This is the hardest part and it will take a while, as the dough is very dry. Don’t be tempted to add water, as you will end up with soggy noodles. Just keep kneading until it holds nicely together. Then shape the dough into a long flat sausage. This will make it easier to roll later.
5. Wrap the dough in cling film, then place it in the fridge and leave for 2 to 3 hours. Don’t leave it overnight, or it will discolour.
6. Take out the dough and knead it again to soften it. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough in one long line to about 3cm thick. Then cut this into 5 pieces.
7. Now fix your pasta roller to the right side of your table, it usually has a screw you can tighten for this. Take one of the lengths of dough and start to feed it through the roller on the widest setting.
8. Feed the dough through all the way, pulling with your left hand to keep the dough free, and turning the handle with your right hand. Flour the table lightly, so the dough doesn’t get stuck to it.
9. Keep feeding the dough through, changing the thickness setting each time, so that it gets thinner and thinner. You want to take it down to about number 5 or number 4, depending on your machine. You don’t want to take it too thin, or the noodles will have no texture when cooked. About 3mm is fine.
10. Repeat this until you have all 5 pieces of dough rolled into long sheets. Keep the table and the sheets floured in between, so that they don’t stick. Usually it’s not a problem as the dough is quite dry.
11. Now take a chopstick, and use this to measure where to cut the sheets. Cut them all into lengths a little longer than the chopstick.
12. Attach the spaghetti roller to your pasta machine. Pass the sheets through the spaghetti attachment, holding the sheet with your left hand, and catching the noodles with your right. Lay the noodles down flat, and dust with a little flour so that they don’t stick to each other.
13. Once you have cut all the noodles in the machine, I recommend that you portion them to 120g, and place them in small freezer bags, if you want to freeze them. Otherwise place them on a tray and store in the fridge.
14. To cook, simply place them in a noodle basket and cook for 60 seconds, then place in your ramen bowls with broth and toppings.