For most of you in the United States, your first introduction to ramen noodles was probably the super-inexpensive packs of instant noodles. But if you’ve ever had a chance to try real ramen noodles, made fresh in a Japanese restaurant or at a noodle bar, simmering in a hot and flavorful broth, then you know what real treat ramen is!
However, if you have a gluten intolerance, you might not have been able to enjoy ramen until now. Ramen noodles are, of course, full of gluten since their main ingredient is wheat flour. And the broth, which often contains a soy sauce base, is also a problem for those who need to partake of a gluten-free diet.
Until recently, those who had a craving for ramen noodles but couldn’t enjoy them had to make do with substitutes such as soba noodles, made from buckwheat, glass noodles, made from mung bean starch, or shirataki noodles, made from the root of the konjac plant. While these are all excellent options for those who want to enjoy a noodle dish, they aren’t the same as ramen noodles.
Toa Food’s Gluten-Free Ramen Noodles
Thankfully, there is now a gluten-free ramen noodle that is nearly identical in taste, texture, and flavor to regular ramen noodles. Many who have tried without knowing that it is a gluten-free brand had no idea. It is manufactured by Toa Foods, a producer of high-quality noodles for decades in Japan. First established in 1945, Toa Foods began its enterprise in the Banshu region in Hyogo Prefecture. The region has long been famous for being the heart of Japan’s noodle production.
Part of what makes Toa Foods’ gluten-free ramen noodles so delicious is that it uses Japioca rice as the main ingredient, which produces a noodle with a fluffy, chewy texture. Additionally, they utilize a traditional method for slow-drying the noodles. This makes the product to exhibit an enticing aroma and a rich, sweet flavor that is truly distinctive and captivating.
How to Enjoy Gluten-Free Ramen Noodles
The gluten-free ramen noodles by Toa Foods can be made just as you would make regular ramen noodles. Simply cook the noodles in boiling water for 4-5 minutes. Then, drain and add them to a bowl of soup to enjoy!
If you’ve made ramen noodles for yourself before, you know that time is of the essence. That means that you must quickly put the noodles into a bowl of soup. Exposure to the air for too long makes noodles too sticky. To ensure you can enjoy your gluten-free ramen noodles, prepare your soup and garnishes ahead of time.
What Broth Can I Have With Gluten-Free Noodles?
As mentioned above, many ramen soups have a soy sauce base, so you’ll need to prepare an alternative. You can always use a gluten-free soy sauce to make your ramen soup. However, there are other tasty ramen soups to try. For starters, you can always use regular chicken broth and add some instant dashi or spoonfuls of miso paste. Then, you can add other seasonings to your liking, such as chili paste.
Top your ramen soup with gluten-free garnishes such as scallions, bamboo shoots, a boiled egg, slices of pork, or crumbled nori. All of these are traditional garnishes for a ramen soup, and all are gluten-free.
Other Gluten-Free Foods
If you enjoy these gluten-free ramen noodles, you’ll be pleased to know that you can also purchase several Japanese food products that are gluten-free, allowing you to enjoy flavorful Japanese meals at home throughout the week. You can start with basics like shirataki noodles and soba noodles. You can then try savory gluten-free soy sauce infused with yuzu, gluten-free pasta made from brown rice, and a gluten-free arrabbiata pasta sauce.
When planning your Japanese meals remember that the following items are also gluten-free:
- Rice, a staple of many Japanese meals.
- Yakitori, delicious as an appetizer or as part of a complete meal.
- Gluten-free miso, which, aside from being a flavorful and healthy soup, can also be used as a marinade for fish and meats.
- Cha Soba noodles, also made by Toa Foods. These soba noodles have been blended with matcha green tea powder to create an intriguing taste that is slightly sweeter than regular soba noodles.