A reader’s question prompted me to write on the subject of baked ramen. For a short time baked ramen was once again easy to find (it had been popular in the late 1980’s through the early 1990’s) when Nissin brought out a great baked version. To which they canned this year…..sigh! You might still be able to find it at some grocery store – it came in green and white packaging, sold with the regular fried ramen.
So why even use baked ramen? Consider it to be like “instant” pasta. It doesn’t need to even be boiled, just soaking it in hot water will rehydrate it. Unlike traditional ramen it doesn’t leave an oil slick behind and is healthier for those avoiding heart unhealthy oils (of which traditional ramen is notorious for being fried in).
There are options though out there. One of the best substitutions for baked ramen is Chuka Soba noodles. These are often sold in larger grocery stores, well hidden in the “ethnic” or “Asian” section. Good examples are Shirakiku Chuka Soba and Wel Pac Chuka Soba Stir-Fry Noodles. Other examples are Chinese style noodles, the very thin kind. You will want to read the package carefully, looking for a cook time of 3 minutes usually. Also, some brands use artificial coloring where as the better brands use Turmeric or Saffron to color the pasta. Being wheat these noodles have a great source of protein as well!
Now though you can also find fancy baked ramen in well stocked natural food stores or Asian markets. One well known brand is Soken Ramen. They can be a little too strong/strange for some though! As well Dr. McDougall’s line of soup cups has 3 flavors of baked ramen soup which are veg friendly and low in sodium. Add in more veggies and they can be a great cold weather lunch. These are sold in many grocery stores in the soup aisle.
Last but not least, angel hair pasta can also be used, though I find Chuka soba to work better 🙂