Instant noodles are a super popular snack food all around the world.
From college student dorms to some professional kitchens, what is it about these convenient packets that are so delicious?
If you have ever prepared a pack, you may have been tempted to try the raw crumbs left at the bottom. Are they ok to eat raw? Will they give you a bad stomach? Something worse?
No, actually. Raw ramen noodles are perfectly safe to eat. Keep reading to find out more.
Ramen: The Basics
But what exactly is ramen?
Ramen is the name given to a dish of East Asian soup served with noodles and usually some vegetables and meat. Packet ramen that is widely available is sometimes called super noodles.
If you are referring to packet ramen rather than the traditional soup dish, super noodles and ramen are interchangeable terms.
The packets of ramen noodles are a super delicious and popular snack – simply add boiling water to the precooked and dehydrated noodles, then sprinkle over the sachet of flavoring for an easy snack.
Ramen in this form was first sold by Nissin Foods in Japan under the name ‘Chikin Ramen.’ Now, these packets are widely available just about everywhere in the world.
Generally, these noodles are made from wheat flour. These are cooked and then dried out into a block shape. These block shapes are then individually packaged and a sachet of flavoring powder is added, ready for easy transportation to your kitchen.
Because they are precooked, many people often wonder if you need to bother adding water – can you eat them as they are?
Eating Ramen Raw
The short answer? Yes. You can eat ramen raw, straight out of the packet. Eating ‘raw’ ramen is safe because the ramen isn’t technically raw.
All ramen packet noodles are precooked – you add boiling water just to rehydrate and warm them up. Adding water is not going to cook the noodles, just make them taste better.
The noodles are therefore already cooked, so you can enjoy the tasty crunchy bits left in the pack without worrying about your health.
Actually, eating these leftover crunchy bits of noodle is surprisingly tasty and weirdly satisfying. But once you get over the rebellious feeling of eating something raw you will realize that ramen noodles are much nicer when properly prepared.
That said, there is one fairly common way for you to enjoy some raw ramen.
Best Way To Eat Raw Ramen
First, you need to crush up the packet with the noodles inside. The packet shouldn’t explode if you hit it, but you can also pinch, bend, and snap the noodle block with your fingers.
You need to carry on crushing until the noodle pieces are small. Feel free to use a rolling pin or frying pan to make crushing easier. Once the noodles are crushed, open the packet and take out the sachet of flavoring.
Open the sachet and pour it into the packet. Shake and jiggle the pack as you pour to try to get as even a distribution as possible. Then you need to close up the bag and shake it hard to make sure that all the noodle pieces are coated.
Now you can enjoy your chip-style ramen noodles. Don’t knock it until you have tried it!
Other Ways To Eat Raw Ramen
Crushing up ramen is a quick and easy way to get some guaranteed flavor and texture into your food (see also, ‘What is Unagi?‘).
Salad is always going to be improved by some crushed-up nuggets of flavor. Use a pack of instant ramen noodles for a delicious salad topping, just like croutons.
You can also use crushed-up ramen noodles as a bread coating for fried food – this works particularly well with chicken.
Crush up the ramen until it looks a bit like bread crumbs. You need the pieces to be small enough that they easily cling to the meat or fish without falling off. You may find that you need more than one pack to evenly coat whatever you are going to fry.
You can either use your own seasonings in your bread coating, or you can use the flavor sachet in the ramen pack. Either way, this is a convenient and easy way to inject additional flavor into your meal.
Risks Of Eating Raw Ramen
Ramen noodles are cooked before they go into the packet, so theoretically eating raw ramen is no worse for your health than eating prepared ramen.
Eating raw noodles is a bit like eating potato chips – crunchy and dehydrated carbohydrates that are not bad for you in the right quantity.
Eating too much ramen either raw or properly prepared is bad for your health. They are almost always high in calories and salt – that is why they are so delicious!
It is also important to remember that they are highly processed and so have very little nutritional worth.
To avoid eating what could be considered empty calories, spice up your noodles by adding some veggies, some meat if you want, or even a boiled egg. This will create a healthy, balanced meal that is much better for you.
However you choose to eat your ramen, just remember that raw ramen is no worse for you than cooked ramen. You do not need to stop eating ramen altogether, but if you are a noodle junky consider adding some variety to your diet by including some vegetables or an egg.
Raw ramen noodles are entirely safe to eat raw. This is because they are cooked before they are put into the pack and dehydrated. When you add boiling water to them, you are not cooking them per se. You are actually just re-hydrating them and bringing them back to life.
You have to try snacking on raw ramen at least once – it is important to feed your natural curiosity!
There are other things that you can use raw ramen for, like adding crunchy toppings to food or using it as a bread coating for frying. Why not experiment to find out what works for you?
Remember that raw ramen is not bad for you. In fact, neither cooked nor raw ramen is bad for your health provided that you are enjoying them healthily.
This means that they should not be the only thing that you eat, and you could always try adding some veggies, meat, or even an egg to enjoy a healthier, more traditional ramen meal.