Not A Clu-oodle: 84% of Brits have been cooking noodles wrong their entire lives
Are you one of the 13 million people guilty of the biggest crime against noodles?
New data reveals the biggest faux-pas Brits make when cooking Japanese – as well as the surprising hacks for achieving perfect ‘shikoshiko’ dishes.
Whether you’re boiling them in the kettle, drowning them in soy sauce, treating them the same as pasta or chucking them at the wall to check they’re cooked; chances are you’re amongst the 84% of people just not using their noodle when it comes to enjoying the Japanese staple.
Ahead of National Ramen Day (4 April 2019), Japanese food expert Bonnie Chung has revealed seven hacks for achieving top notch noodles at home, which may come as a surprise to the third of Brits who claim cooking Japanese food is easy.
“Sticky, mushy, slimy noodles is exactly what we want to avoid when cooking a dish like ramen”, says Bonnie, founder of Japanese home cooking brand Miso Tasty. “Like pasta, noodles should always have that al dente bite – or ‘shikoshiko’ as it’s known in Japan. But unlike pasta, instead of going straight from the pan to your bowl, you should immediately rinse them in water to remove any starch, which is what creates that sticky texture.
From there, rest your noodles in ice cold water while you prep your other ingredients. While it might sound crazy to put your noodles on ice, it immediately stops them from continuing to cook and turning mushy. Then just before you’re ready to serve, simply reheat for 10 seconds in simmering water.”
Bonnie’s noodle hacks come off the back of Miso Tasty research that reveals some of the major blunders Brits are making when cooking Japanese at home:
- 13 million Brits (25%) snap noodles before putting in a pan, the ultimate no-go as noodles are a symbol of life in Japanese culture
- 7% adults boil noodles in soy sauce and shockingly one in 20 (4%) boil them in the kettle!
- Three quarters of us (73%) fail to correctly prepare our noodles in a separate pan to other ingredients
- One in 10 (10%) cook fresh noodles the same way as instant noodles and one in 20 (5%) Brits throw their noodles at a wall to check if they’re cooked
It doesn’t stop with cooking either. The survey also reveals we’re just as bad at eating noodles. Just 13% of us correctly use chopsticks and only 7% slurp them – as is tradition in Japan. Instead, most of us are make the classic mistake of attempting to shovel them down with western cutlery like a spoon, knife or fork (59%).
Further confusion arises when it comes to toppings, with over half of us (56%) having no idea what ingredients to use when cooking Japanese and almost a fifth of the population (15%) adding western condiments like cheese, ketchup or mayo to their bowls.
Noodles are a symbol of life in Japanese culture and eating them is considered a very special experience that should be savoured and enjoyed. But a lot of Brits associate them with quick, cheap convenience food and the rise of instant noodles means many people have never actually learnt how to cook them well. It’s also such a shame that nearly half the population (42%) say they never cook Japanese food from scratch. It doesn’t have to be a scary or complicated process – so long as you get your hacks nailed and your routine mastered, amazing Japanese food can be created in your own kitchen.
The Art of Noodling: how to achieve perfect ramen noodles
To ensure rubbish ramen is a thing of the past, Bonnie’s range of home cooking kits and miso pastes mean cooking Japanese has never been easier. She’s also shared her 7 hacks to shikoshiko (al-dente) noodles to try yourself.
- Down the pan: always use two pans – one for noodles and one for everything else. Noodles need your full attention if you want to get them right, so avoid whacking everything in one pan and hoping for the best.
- Respect your noodles: they are a symbol of life in Japanese culture so you should never snap them before putting in the pan. Place into boiling water too rather than cold.
- Silky not starched: If your noodles always end up stuck together, starch is usually always the culprit. Once boiled, rinse them in cold water to remove the starch and avoid the stick.
- Ice and simple: Shikoshiko noodles have a nice bite – stop yours overcooking and help retain their texture by resting in iced water while you prep your other ingredients.
- Rapid refresh: once you’re ready to serve, quickly reheat your iced noodles by dropping them back into simmering water for 10 seconds.
- Ramen ratio: noodles are the main event. Remember the 80:10:10 rule and aim for 80% noodles, 10% vegetables and 10% protein.
- Build your bowl: your final dish should come together in the bowl, not the pan. Start with the noodles, then layer your protein and veg and top off with a warming broth.
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