Tag Archive for noodles

hand made ramen noodles

hand made ramen noodles

I love ramen, even the instant kind.  But those deep-fried instant ramen, that were part of my staple diet as a uni student, are a poor imitation of the real thing.

Fresh ramen, like the ones you get in a ramen bar are a delight.  The trouble is that, as a vegan, it is sometimes difficult to find a ramen bar that serves a vegan broth.

The answer is to make them. I’ve never done it before, but I am excited that I have. They are pretty easy, particularly if you have a pasta machine. And they are delicious.

The secret ingredient in ramen noodles is alkaline water. This is what gives the noodles their slightly chewy texture. To make this you need an alkaline salt. Traditionally this is kansui which is a combination of potassium carbonate & sodium bicarbonate. But, an easy replacement is easily made at home by “cooking” sodium bicarbonate in an oven on a low heat for an hour. This raises the pH of the bicarb making it more alkaline.

This is then dissolved in the water used to make the dough. Once you have made the baked bicarb, making the noodles is fast. Another piece of good news is that the noodles can be frozen and used later to make “instant” ramen.

There are other recipes out there that cook normal noodles in water with unbaked sodium bicarbonate but they reportedly don’t taste good. So I settled on this more traditional one where alkaline water is used to make the dough. There are a heap of recipes out there. I based this one on a recipe on the New York Times by Harold McGee who is credited with the idea of baking the sodium bicarbonate to make the alkaline salt.


hand made ramen noodles
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recipe type: vegan
serves: 3-4
To make the baked bicarbonate
  • ¼ cup sodium bicarbonate (This is more than you need, you will need only 1 tsp. This makes enough for 12 batches. It will keep indefinitely in a sealed container.)
To make the noodles
  • 1 tsp of the baked sodium bicarbonate
  • 200 grams plain flour
  • 100 ml warm water
Bake the sodium bicarbonate
  1. Spread the ¼ cup of sodium bicarbonate on a foil or paper lined baking sheet and bake for 1 hour at 120 deg C.
Make the noodles
  1. Take 1 tsp of the baked bicarb and store the remainder for later use.
  2. Dissolve the 1 tsp of baked bicarb in the warm water.
  3. Add the liquid to the flour and mix into a dough. It will be quite dry.
  4. Knead for 5 minutes.
  5. Wrap the dough and rest for at least 30 minutes.
  6. Roll out thinly and cut into fine noodles. I used a pasta machine to roll and cut the dough.
  7. Cook in boiling unsalted water for 1-2 minutes, drain, rinse and use in your favourite recipe.


ramen soup


I used the noodles in a soup with green vegetables and a miso and soy broth. I also ate them as a snack with some kecap manis, sriracha, sliced spring onions and sesame oil.

Simple and good.

char kway teow

char kway teow

Char kway teow is probably my favourite noodle dish of all time. That’s a big call because I am a BIG fan of any noodles, and rice noodles in particular.

I’m lucky because my volunteering at Fareshare takes me down Victoria Street in Richmond, which is Asian grocery central. It is a rare week that I don’t pick up some kind of Asian ingredient on my way home.

Since becoming vegan I don’t think I’ve eaten char kway teow, as the classic recipe contains lots of meaty or fishy items as well as egg. I’d really consigned it to one of those things that I probably wouldn’t eat again.

But last week on my way to volunteer,  I noticed a trolley delivering fresh rice noodles to a Vietnamese grocer and I made a mental note to grab some on the way home. I wasn’t really thinking about char kway teow at all, just the rice noodles with something.

But then I got a bee in my bonnet about char kway teow and decided I had to give it a try. I made a really simple version and I am happy to say that it was swoon worthy. I’m really delighted that the flavours in char kway teow don’t really depend hugely on the bits and pieces in the dish, but the sauces and the scorchingly hot wok. The dish is really all about the noodles.

There are heaps of differing opinions on the web as to what goes in the sauce, but I’m really happy with mine which contained garlic, kecap manis, sriracha and light soy.

It tasted just the way I remember it should, salty, sweet, savoury and hot. I added some bean sprouts, spring onions and mock vegan prawns from Vincents for a bit of texture.

I’m in heaven.


5.0 from 1 reviews
char kway teow
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cuisine: vegan, chinese malaysian
serves: 1 serve
  • ½ tbsp oil
  • ½ tsp of sesame oil
  • 1 clove garlic finely chopped
  • 4 spring onions chopped into 4cm lengths
  • 200 grams fresh wide rice noodles rinsed in hot water
  • 6-8 bite sized pieces of protein of your choice, it could be tofu, mock chicken or prawns
  • 1 tbsp kecap manis
  • ½ tbsp sriracha
  • ½ tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 handful of mung bean sprouts
  1. Prepare everything first, once you start you cannot pause to do anything because the dish will stew or burn.
  2. Heat the wok over a high heat, add the oils and heat until it smokes.
  3. Add the garlic and spring onions and stir briefly until the garlic starts to colour
  4. Add the noodles, the protein bits and the sauces and stir to mix and fry for a couple of minutes
  5. Stir through the bean sprouts and serve.
It is important to cook this for one, otherwise the wok just won't stay hot enough and the dish will stew rather than fry.


vietnamese rice vermicelli salad

vietnamese rice vermicelli salad with grilled tofu

A Vietnamese rice vermicelli salad would have to be a candidate for one of my favourite dishes of all time. My desert island dish. Well, I lie. I probably have 10 desert island dishes. 🙂

It has so much going for it. It is easy to make, it is fresh and vibrant, it is healthy AND it tastes spectacularly good.

It is just a bowl of vermicelli noodles topped with a variety of raw or lightly blanched veggies, some protein and a sweet, salty and spicy dressing.

The dish varies every time I make it. It really depends what is in the fridge. The only constants are the vermicelli, lettuce and carrot. And the dressing of course.

Today’s bowl contained rice vermicelli, lettuce, carrot, coriander, snow peas, satay flavoured tofu, sliced fresh chillies, spring onions and the chilli, garlic and “fish sauce” dressing.

Today I came home from a walk, hungry and ready to eat so I used some already flavoured tofu. In the past I’ve used crispy fried tempeh or some seitan mock chicken.

Here is the recipe for the dressing. You will need about 1/3 cup per bowl.


dressing for vietnamese rice vermicelli salad
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cuisine: vietnamese, vegan
serves: 1 cup
  • ¼ cup vegan fish sauce
  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 small hot red chilli, finely chopped with the seeds removed (or less if you're scared)
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  1. Heat the vegan fish sauce, vinegar, water and sugar in a saucepan until the sugar dissolves completely. Don't let it come to the boil.
  2. Allow to cool, then mix in the garlic, chilli and lime juice;


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