Where to buy healthy ramen noodles??
I love ramen noodles, but avoid eating them out due to MSG and other potential not-so-healthy ingredients. I'd love to cook some up at home, but have no clue where to buy them, could someone offer some advice? Many thanks in advance!
What exactly do you expect in healthy ramen noodles? If you’re talking only about the noodles, there are 3 ingredient – flour, water and kansui – no msg. Its difficult to find fresh noodles. The dried stuff in packages in awful. Japanese markets carry better ramen noodles but they're usually packaged with some soup base. Mitsuwa in Edgewater NJ has a good selection. If you have a food processer and a pasta machine, you can make your own noodles. Here’s one recipe to try:
If on the other hand you mean a bowl of traditional ramen noodles, I don’t think of that as a healthy meal. Its not junk or fast food, but its not healthy. The broth is generally meat based and loaded with sodium either from salt, soy or miso. If you like a tonkotsu broth, there’s lots of fat. Even in a chicken based broth from a place like Totto Ramen, you’ll see plenty of fat. Then there is the chasiu. Thick slices of unctuous fatty pork. How I love that stuff! To get an idea of what goes into ramen including all the fat, check this profile in the NYT about Ivan Ramen.
Wonderful and tasty yes, healthy no.
If you want to put the noodles in some veggie broth with no salt and msg, you could call that healthier but I wouldn't call it ramen anymore.
There is nothing "unhealthy" about msg. It's just salt linked to an non essential amino acid. The most unhealthy part of ramen, the dish, are the noodles themselves. The carbs are the worst part. It is highly caloric, but otherwise quite wholesome. Meat, veggies, fats... You can't go wrong really. Just don't eat ramen every day unless you're trying to gain weight.
CherryPR, if you're referring to packaged, dried, ramen noodles (a la Nissin), you're correct--they are bad for you. MSG aside, the noodles themselves are deep fried before drying--often in palm oil or other unhealthy fats.
Luckily, you can get "healthy" ramen noodles at many Chinese supermarkets that are not fried and come without any soup-base packets (MSG laden or otherwise). Most of the brands are from China and come in large packages with roughly 16-20 bundles of unwrapped noodles only.
I recently couldn't find the original brand of healthy ramen that I was introduced to years ago, so I tried a new one called Grassplot that I've been very much enjoying. The packaging is green, gold, and yellow and comes with 18 square bundles of noodles. The only ingredients it lists are "quality flour" and salt...but of course water must have been introduced at some point, too.
The similarly colored packaging of the brand I used to buy had a description on its back that touted itself, both in English and in Chinese, as an healthy alternative to commercial ramen noodles since they weren't fried and didn't contain any additives or saturated fat. These noodles came in round bundles and I believe they were from Lanzhou--home of the hand-pulled noodle.
I picked up the Grassplot brand at Hong Kong Supermarket on Hester St. in Chinatown, but I know the one on 8th Ave in Sunset Park also carries it, as does the large Chinese supermarket on Avenue U (between Homecrest and E. 13th St.) in the Homecrest section of Brooklyn (the name of the store escapes me).
One tip to keep in mind: these noodles cook a lot faster than the regular commercial ramen, so drain them while they're still underdone. The carry-over heat will be enough to finish them to a springy al-dente texture. And if you want a quick and easy healthy soup base...try adding a scoop of miso to the boiling liquid...or a small scoop of Better Than Bouillon.
Hope this helps, and let me know what you think if you find them.