OK, I admit it. I am a member of the instant noodles club. It’s comforting to know that instant noodles are enjoyed by so many people all over the world in all different age groups. From poor students and busy professionals to budget-conscious homemakers and chefs cooking with a stopwatch, we all get on the oriental express sometimes. Where there’s just not enough time to cook and take out isn’t an option, when it is just me cooking for myself, I turn to something that’s not too fancy and, more important, fast – instant noodles.
What kind? In my book, the undisputed number one is still IndoMie, and I am not biased because of the word Indo… Okay, maybe a little bit. You will find that these high-quality noodles are well suited to your taste buds. The combination of spicy and sweet flavors never gets old. There are two different kinds of instant noodles; the noodle soup variety, or the dry and fried variety. Sample the many brands out there. Keep an open mind for different styles, cooking methods, and recipe suggestions, and you will soon learn what pleases you the most.
Here are some tips:
1) Experiment, especially if you are not experienced with preparing instant noodles. Get more than one pack of the same kind. They are inexpensive anyway.
2) Cook them in the microwave in a bowl covered tightly with plastic wrap, or in a pan with boiling water on the stove. I prefer the latter as it is the easiest method I’ve found to cook my Asian pasta “al dente,” which means “to the tooth” in Italian, and describes pasta being prepared until it is firm yet fully cooked.
3) Eat a balanced diet. Enjoyed responsibly, instant noodles can be quick, easy, and tasty. But, they are also notorious for having little-to-no nutritional value and are high in sodium content. So, they are more suited to those with low blood pressure. As for everyone else, moderation is key.
4) Pay attention to small details. When you cook the noodles in a pan, wait for the water to bubble rapidly and then add both the flavor packet and the dried vegetables to the boiling water. Stir the soup base and wait for the water to bubble fast again, then add the noodles to the boiling water, the way you would with pasta al dente cooked in piping hot water. If the water isn’t the right temperature, the noodles can become mushy and not stay firm. Cooking time depends on the manufacturer and thickness of the noodles, usually between two to four minutes.
Welcome to the club. Now, it’s time to dress up your noodles by adding some flavor and texture. Click here for my pimped-out instant noodles recipe.
©2013 Jeff Keasberry