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Here we are talking about Kansui 枧水. Most likely if you are here, it’s because your love for ramen is such that you want to prepare delicious fresh ramen for your soup. Ramen may seem like a simple dish to prepare but it’s not quite like that, but it’s not impossible either! What makes a bowl of ramen special are noodles, broth, tare, oil and toppings. Today we start talking about the first mentioned: The Noodles. Or rather, let’s talk about How to Make Alkaline Water to start well to get them. To an inexperienced eye they may seem normal noodles, but this is not the case at all. Japanese Ramen Noodles do NOT contain eggs. Some, to try to give their characteristic elasticity and color, add corn starch and an egg to the dough. This however will not give the effect we want.
Here I tell you about my path to obtain this ingredient that cannot be found, so as to avoid making the same mistakes and finally get to the solution of the problem.
My First Attempts with Kansui Noodles
As you will have read in this article Kansui: The Secret of Ramen Noodles, Kansui is not an easy ingredient to find, unless you have an extraordinary Asian grocery store near your home. So do we give up our Ramen Noodles? Absolutely not! I’ve spent a really long time trying to find a way to replace this ingredient. The answer came thanks to the article by Harold McGee, an article dating back 10 years. You can’t imagine the joy, not only had I found the solution but I could create Kansui directly at home!
In short, the article says to cook Sodium Bicarbonate, the one we have more or less all in the pantry, in the oven for 1 hour at 120 ° C. Simple, right? This process will transform the pH of the sodium bicarbonate, making it more acidic and transforming it into an alkaline salt or sodium carbonate. Once obtained you have to let it cool down and above all you must not touch it with your bare hands! Its pH isn’t compatible with that of the skin, so it could create irritation. At this point, after finally preparing my Kansui I prepared the noodles.
The First Taste
The result? A firm, elastic paste that does not absorb the broth becoming mushy, compared to previous attempts it was fine but not very well … And yes there is a but. The taste wasn’t too good. Did you feel a more or less light taste of sulfur?!? Which didn’t make the dish totally enjoyable. I tried various combinations of flour, quantity of Kansui but I couldn’t find a solution. After about a year of trying, I resumed my research and came across a series of articles on Seriouseats. The most illuminating was the article by Sho Spaeth in which starting from the McGee procedure, he creates a more precise and above all unique method for each quantity of Bicarbonate that we want to transform into Sodium Carbonate.
How to Make Alkaline Water with Baking Soda
I’d say it’s time to get to the point, and understand How to Make Alkaline Water, the ingredient needed to prepare our alkaline noodles, let’s start!
First of all the oven temperature must be 175 C ° (350 F °). The second important point is that the quantity (whatever it is) of sodium bicarbonate must decrease by 2/3 of its weight.
That is: x g of S.B. : 3 x 2 = g of Kansui. ES. 250 g of S.B. they will have to become 166 -167 g (250 : 3 x 2). The final number is obviously approximate if it will be 163 g or 169 is fine anyway!
This is the unique formula, but let’s see how to proceed, I have used 100 g of S.B. so I will rely on this data.
- Heat the oven to 175 C °;
- Line a baking tray with aluminum foil and weigh it. Point the weight to not forget it, in my case I used a low cake pan, once lined it weighed 166 g;
- Weigh the baking soda, I used 100 g, then 100 : 3 x 2 = 66 – 67 g of the final product.
- Once the oven is hot, put the pan in the oven and set the timer to 30 minutes;
- After 30 minutes, weigh the pan as it is, take the current weight and subtract the weight of the lined pan. In this way you will know the current weight of the S.B. (in my case it was 74 g). Stir with a spoon and bake for another 30 minutes;
- After 30 minutes, repeat the previous operation, weigh the pan and subtract the weight of the lined pan. Based on the quantity I used (100 g), with this second cooking I obtained 63 g of Kansui.
- Leave to cool and then place the alkaline powder in an airtight jar. It has no expiration.
Finally we have Kansui! Thank you Sho Spaeth!
How to Make Alkaline Water: The Result
As you can see, the procedure is not at all complex. One thing must be kept in mind though. The more baking soda you want to turn into Kansui, the longer the cooking time will lengthen, and therefore you will have to adjust the cooking based on the results of the various weighs.
Obviously after preparing Kansui I prepared Ramen. The annoying sulfur flavor is almost gone! The consistency is excellent, but I still have to work on it. As I said, Kansui was the first stumbling block for Ramen Noodles, the most complex I dare say. Now you need to find the right flour!
After the guide of How to Make Alkaline Water we can move on to how to prepare our Noodles Ramen!