Tuesday, August 20, 2019

One Pan Nissin RAOH Shoyu Whole Grain Instant Ramen Stir Fry Soup Recipe and Review

Hey everyone! This is a pretty cool instant ramen hack from the folks at Nissin Japan that uses their deluxe RAOH noodles (that are reduced fat too as they are air dried).  I've reviewed other RAOH brand noodles before, mainly as bowl noodles, but not their whole grain foil packaged variety.  This is an extra special review as I will show you the cooking process for a ramen bowl with some stir-fried toppings like they would do in Osaka or Yokohama.  Making noodles this way works pretty good, but you'll need to size your frying pan or pot to make sure you can accommodate two packages of noodles, the stir fry ingredients, and the soup.

I start with the Nissin RAOH Shoyu flavour instant noodles.  These are good quality, air dried noodles that have more nutrients and fibre than their regular noodles, and are reduced fat at 6.3 grams.  All good stuff and it just gets better. 
Front of the package of RAOH Shoyu Whole Grain noodles.
Back of the package with manufacturing, nutritional, and ingredients info.
 So you need a whole bunch of veggies to accompany this dish to make it a meal.  I would use an eighth of a small cabbage per serving, or a quarter cabbage for two servings (but up it if you like cabbage). The cabbage should be sliced into small squares or stips to facilitate stir frying.  I used a quarter of a large carrot or half a medium carrot that is sliced into thin strips for two servings.  Finally, I diced two green onions into long segments for two servings.
Noodle blocks and veggies.  You can see the noodles and the powdered and liquid soup packets at the right.
Preheat a large frying pan / pot to medium heat and use only 1 tablespoon of oil to keep the fat content down.  You can start with the cabbage to get it going as it is a bulky veggie.  Stir the cabbage until it cooks down a bit then add the carrots. Keep stir frying, then add the green onions.  This shouldn't take more than 4 minutes at most.
Stir fried cabbage, carrots, and green onion.
If you have some leftover meat like roast chicken or ham, you can then add it to the mix.  If using some sandwich meat like I did in this case, use honey ham / regular roast beef as they add fewer additional seasonings.  Cook for less than a minute.
Ham added to the stir fry.
Finally, add the water you need to rehydrate the noodles and make the soup.  For these noodles, it was 450 mL per serving for a total of 900 mL.  This is why you need a big pan.  You can also add in the soup powder and liquid at this time and mix it up.  Turn up the heat to get the water to boil faster and it should start to smell good. 

When the water boils, you immediately add in the noodle blocks.  You will need to immerse them and probably need to push some of the stir fry out of the way.  You can also flip the noodle blocks to have both sides get water and heat equally.  The blocks will soften quickly and you will need to stir the noodles around in the soup.  You want the noodles to rehydrate well.
Noodle blocks hydrating.
Stir the noodles around well and let them soak in the soup to get all soft and chewy.  These noodles hydrate in about 4 minutes.  I usually go for like 3 1/2 rather than the full 4 as you will get a firmer noodle.
Noodle blocks all broken down and mixed into the soup.
Finally it is time to eat.  Dish out the noodles first (spaghetti ladle or chopsticks works well), then the vegetables, and then pour / ladle soup into two large bowls for tasty meals.  The finished Shoyu ramen with stir fry should look something like the picture below.  It is full of soy soup flavour and sweet / succulent veggies to accompany the firm and chewy noodles.  This makes for a good meal, so thanks Nissin!  I really enjoyed making this and eating it even more.  The whole grain noodles are good, not grainy, and are pretty much like their regular RAOH noodles.
RAOH Shoyu noodle soup with stir fried veggies.  Yum.

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Monday, August 19, 2019

Low Fat Instant Noodles From Asia (Nissin HK, Nissin Japan, and Korean)

I enjoy eating instant noodles (or instant ramen) but you do need to watch your health.  Having a package of instant noodles a few times a week isn't going to kill you, but if you are watching your fat intake, instant noodles of the fried variety are not your friend.  I'm leaning more towards the low or reduced fat type of instant noodle these days myself and the variety available is pretty good, but nowhere near the what's available for the fried kind.  There is also a flavour difference as the fried noodles are somewhat tastier from the frying process too.
For any of the noodles I mention in this article, the object is to get a tasty bowl of noodles with a protein (roast chicken works nicely), egg if you have it, and some combination of vegetables like green onions or choy or stir fried vegetable like kale.
For a reduced fat instant noodle, a typical package of ramen + soup mix should come be close to 7 grams of fat.  Some are lower than that as the fat content is coming from the soup mix.  A regular fried instant noodle block ranges from 14 to just over 20 grams of fat so the reduced fat variety is pretty good.  I don't mind eating noodles in the 7 grams of fat range as it means a finished bowl of ramen is going to be around 12 - 16 grams of fat if you don't use fatty meat (e.g. pork belly or SPAM).

By the way, a reduced fat diet should have less than 50 grams of fat per day for a 200lb guy (from what I can tell - but do check with your health care provider), and I myself aim for 40 or less right now.  Here are some examples of some foods with their fat content to put things in perspective.  These examples are from menus for Canada.
  • A boiled egg - 6 to 7 grams of fat.
  • 2 slices of thin sliced lean ham - 1 gram of fat.
  • 1/6 of a can of reduced fat SPAM - 12 grams (ouch but tasty).
  • Veggies or fruit - 0 grams.
  • A slice of sandwich bread - 1 or 2 grams of fat.
  • Roasted chicken (no skin) white meat - 5 grams per 100 grams
  • An egg McMuffin from McDonalds - 11 grams of fat.
  • A Big Mac from McDonalds - 28 grams of fat.
  • A whole wheat footlong ham sandwich with no sauce or cheese from Subway (load up on veggies) - 8 grams of fat.
  • Reduced fat turkey bacon and egg sandwich from Starbucks - 5 grams of fat
Anyhow, I'm going to show you some of the packages of lower fat noodles occupying my cupboard these days in this post and you can see for yourself some of the variety that is out there.  The lower fat varieties of noodles are either dry somen noodles or air dried instant noodles.  Some of the noodles are also not all that instant if they take more than 5 minutes to cook.  The bowls of noodles you make usually take longer than 3 minutes anyways as you have to prepare the toppings for the noodles.

Straight Noodles
There are many varieties of these straight noodles.  These are thin ramen noodles or somen noodles that cook in 3 to 4 minutes in boiling water.  They are much like spaghettini pasta except not as dense and faster cooking.  These are fairly common these days in Asian supermarkets and they all pretty much come with two bundles of noodles along with soup packets.  A package will set you back around $3.50 to $5 Canadian so they aren't super cheap.
These are packages of Nissin noodles from Hong Kong.  They are all quite tasty and easy to prepare.  They are off the straight noodle variety and the noodles cook in boiling water for 3 minutes. The package on the left is Black Garlic Tonkotsu which is a favourite of mine.  The package in the middle is Dan Dan flavour with the spicier Szechuan flavour (seems to be a popular flavour in Japan these days too).  The package on the right is a Hokkaido Miso Tonkotsu Ramen that is also tasty.
The back of the packages.
Below are additional types of tasty straight noodles from the Marutai Kyushu Marugoto ramen box which are really good and I have an extensive review of it here.
The Kyushu Marugoto ramen box.  It is a pretty good deal.
The individual packs of noodles and they are reduced fat.
Air Dried Instant Noodles
This kind of noodle comes in packages that resemble your regular instant noodle.  The noodles are curled, but not squiggly like in the fried variety.  There are a range of soup flavours and you have whole grain noodles and regular noodles too!  I have some reviews coming up and I'll post some in the future, updating this post as I go.  The noodles of this variety have different thicknesses and tend to be thicker than the straight noodles.  They are packaged in individual servings, but you usually buy them in packs of 4 or 5.  The cost per package is around $2 per individual package.
These are Nissin RAOH noodles from Japan and a favourite brand of mine.  The one of the left is a straightforward Shoyu (Tokyo style) ramen.  The one in the middle is a Dan Dan variant.  The one on the right is a thicker soy / tonkotsu variety.
The back of the packages.
Below is a package of the Maruchan Tonkotsu Soy Sauce air dried noodles which I really like.  One of my favourites actually. I reviewed it here.
Maruchan Tonkotsu Soy Sauce ramen.  It has great flavour.
Back of the Tonkotsu Soy ramen package.
 Just to show that you can cook these noodles up pretty nice, here is an example of a stir fried veggie instant noodle bowl using the Nissin RAOH Shoyu air dried noodles above.  Recipe and review here.
Noodles with stir fried veggies and ham.

Korean Air Dried Instant Noodles
Finally, here are some Korean instant noodles of the air dried variety.  They weren't as spicy as some of the regular Korean noodles and had way less fat because of the types of soup bases involved.  The noodles were different with each variety and take longer to cook in boiling water with the clam soup ones at 6 minutes and the others around 4 minutes.  The SOO brand one was super low fat at .5 grams for the package.
Top is Kalgugsu clam soup (mild clam tasting clear broth).  The middle is a SOO beef seaweed flavour (another mild tasting clear broth with green noodles!  The bottom is another Kalgugsu chicken and onion flavour (spicier and mildly chickeny).
Back of the packages.
After all that, you should be able to put together a tasty bowl of instant noodles with vegetables and protein that will suit a reduced fat diet.  Remember - with no noodles there is no meaning to life!

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Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Burnt Garlic Chicken Tonkotsu Noodle Cup Collaboration with Hakata Shinpu and Kimuzukashi-Ya

Today we have a limited edition cup noodle that is a burnt garlic chicken tonkotsu created by the chefs at Hakata Shinpu and Kimuzukashi-Ya.  This is the tenth special edition in this "double dream collaboration" series of noodles from Maruchan.  Hakata Shinpu is from Fukuoka and Kimuzukashi-Ya is from Nagano.  Unfortunately I wasn't able to find a lot of background information on these ramen shops, even in Japanese - but they have to be pretty famous in their own way.  I'm always game to try these limited editions so lets get on with the review.
Very distinctive white cup with red and black highlighted areas for each ramen shop.  Big bold black lettering makes it clear what you are getting, but there is a fair bit of text making it look a bit busy.  Kind of like a sign with too many highlights. Three quarters view of the cup and you can see it has a busy design that imparts a lot of info, but it is still eye-catching.
Top view of the lid.  Red and black sides for the ramen shops.
Another view of the cup with the oil packet removed.
Ramen shop 1 from Fukuoka.  Their sign has red in it! Pick of the head chef too.
Ramen Shop 2 from Nagano.  And their sign has black in it!  Pic of the head chef.
Ingredients, nutritional information, manufacturing information.  They packed in the information on this panel.
After opening the lid, you can see plenty of powdered soup base, little pieces of meat, green onions, menma (bamboo), and I think a kind of shelf-fungus (could be seaweed too).
I added boiling water, closed the lid, and waited about three minutes for everything to rehydrate.  This is what I saw when I opened the lid.  Looks pretty nice.
I then added the burnt garlic oil packet to the soup.
The cup in all of its glory.
I gave everything a good mix to ensure the garlic oil mixed in with the soup.  The burnt garlic oil wasn't garlicky as it is kind of burnt and caramelized.  It adds a richness and a bit of oomph to the soup.  The soup itself was pretty nice with a good fragrance indicating its chicken and pork broth roots.  The thin noodles had a nice chew to them and rehydrated quite nicely.  The little bits of meat were actual thin cuts instead of ground meat blocks and were pretty good.  Maruchan obviously has this type of meat as a standard as I've seen it in other soups from them.  The toppings went well with the soup and it was definitely a pretty tasty cup of noodle, but one that didn't pack quite as much flavour as I expected with the infusion of the black garlic.
Closeup of the noodles and some toppings.

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Monday, July 1, 2019

Nissin Donbei Spicy Curry Udon With Bonito & Chicken Stock

Nissin's Donbei Udon line is usually dashi based soups for either a wheat udon noodle or a buckwheat soba noodle.  This Donbei Spicy Curry Udon with Bonito & Chicken Stock is a slight departure from the norm that was released as part of their SPICE CURRY campaign that coincided with a curry event in January of 2019 in Osaka.  I was looking forward to trying out this special edition curry noodle which was released alongside their SPICE CURRY cup noodle version and their Nissin U.F.O. Spicy Keema Curry Yakisoba.
3/4 view of the noodle bowl.  It shows a nice colour combination of brown with yellow highlights.
Top view of the lid of the noodle bowl.  The paper screen-like donbei design on the top half in yellow makes a nice contrast to the browns and duller colours of the noodles and curry.  You can see the rough wooden table top image that is common to the SPICE CURRY under the yellow grid.  There are some bold highlights in red text.   The curry soup looks a little thinner - more translucent than in a full on curry soup - but it might be like that due to the dashi base.  The image of the udon noodles looks pretty nice with lots of toppings on top.
Graphics side of the noodel bowl.  All logos and text prominently displayed.
Nutritional content and preparation directions and warnings.  Do not microwave!
Contents, ingredients and manufacturing information.
Closeup of the udon noodles and curry toppings.
After peeling the lid back you find a brick of udon noodles, a packet of garnish with meat, egg, and green onion, a soup base sachet, and a red satchet of spices (kind of like sansho pepper mix again)
Closeup of the toppings.
Curry and dashi powder mix.
Spice packet.
The udon noodles.  These are usually flat and broad to help them rehydrate.
After adding the toppings and spice packet.
The curry soup mix.
I then added boiling water to the fill line inside the bowl.  Closed the lid, and waiting for three minutes before peeling the lid off.
The noodles and soup all mixed together.
You could definitely smell the curry soup and it was pretty nice.  You can tell the soup isn't as thick as what you would get in a Curry Cup Noodle, but it was supposed to be a curry dashi broth.  Curry udon is also pretty popular as a dish and I've had it a few times.  The spice in this bowl actually was mild, but tasty and not watered down.  The noodles were your typical udon noodle and they rehydrated well with a good chew.  The egg and bits of meat added to the dish and it was a very pleasant bowl of noodles and soup.  This was the last of the SPICE CURRY dishes I reviewed and I was happy they all were pretty tasty.  One other interesting thing about the curry flavour of this bowl was a herbal undertone that reminded me of this curry udon I had in Kyoto.  Pretty cool to get that kind of memory triggered.
Closeup of the udon noodles and egg.

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Sunday, June 16, 2019

Nissin U.F.O. Spicy Keema Curry Yakisoba

This wasn't your regular UFO Yakisoba noodle bowl from Nissin since it was curry flavoured, rather than the regular fairground type of yakisoba sauce.  UFO noodles are not soup noodles as they are simulating pan fried noodles, so you rehydrate the noodles in boiling water and then pour out the water to leave noodles behind.  Curry UFO was released as part of their SPICE CURRY campaign that coincided with a curry event in January of 2019 in Osaka.  This particular curry was a spicy keema (meat) sauce.  I reviewed the SPICE CURRY cup noodle version here.
The flattened bowl shape of a UFO noodle bowl.

The top of the noodle bowl.  UFO is in big yellow letters on a split background.  The top half shows the spice table picture found in the the SPICE CURRY Cup Noodle, while the bottom half shows a delightful image of pan fried noodles covering in topping.  The overall design has a lot of beige in it and some action lines like a lightning slash separating the top half of the image from the bottom half.
Ingredients and allergens.
Ingredients and manufacturers information.  The UFO packaging is a plastic film wrapped over a bowl, which is not nearly as deluxe as the printed packaging on a cup noodle.
Bottom of the bowl. Cooking directions, contact information, and nutritional information.  There is a tasty chopstick full of noodles in the bottom right corner.
The other side of the bowl with the best before date.
The plastic wrap come off the bowl to reveal a lid full of instructions.  I do love how the yakisoba bowls have a full page of instructions on how to prepare them.  Numbered steps and illustrations too!
The lid of the bowl.  Directions are in the middle.  There are 3 big numbers: 1, 2, and 3 printed on the bowl.  Step 1. Peel back the lid from the one to the halfway point marked by the pair of 2s.  DO NOT PEEL the lid off past this point.
Peel the lid back from the 1.
Once the lid is open halfway you can extract the sauce and condiment packets.
Closeup of the noodles along with some dehydrated carrots and bits of ground meat.
The condiment packet was opened and shown in this picture.  You can see a variety of spices and herbs.
After extracting the packets, you add boiling water to the fill line and close the lid for three minutes.  You then peel the area marked 3 back on the lid.  The foil on the 3 comes off from the lid and reveals drain holes - I love this part of the yakisoba package as it is pretty cool.  Pour out the boiling water to leave the meat, carrots, and noodles behind.  Now peel the rest of the lid off to see a bowl of plain noodles.  At this point open the curry sauce packet and pour the sauce on top of the noodles.  You can also pour on the seasoning mix and stir everything together to mix it up.
Curry sauce poured on top of the noodles.
Noodles mixed with the sauce to give a nice even coating to every strand.
After mixing, the finished product looked like a pretty nice bowl of simulated fried noodles.  The dark sauce was not strongly scented, but you could tell it was a curry from the fragrance.  There was a good bit of oil in the sauce to evenly coat the noodles and carry the flavour.  The flavour of the curry was pretty good for a change from the regular yakisoba sauce, but yakisoba sauce is hard to beat for this kind of noodle prep.   The noodles were nice and firm with a good chew to them too.   The herb and spice mix added a little extra flavour and scent too.  A nice bowl of noodles, but the SPICE CURRY cup noodle I had was still the best.
Closeup of the noodles and bits of ground meat.

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