RAMEN | UDON | SOBA
RAMEN NOODLES HAVE EVOLVED OVER 100 YEARS (OFFICIAL RECORDS SHOW A RAMEN SHOP CALLED “RAIRAIKEN” OPENED IN TOKYO IN 1910 OFFERING BOWLS OF THIN-NOODLE SOUP WITH A LIGHT SOY-SAUCE FLAVOR). NOODLE DISHES THAT WERE BROUGHT OVER FROM CHINA ALSO EVOLVED INTO SOMETHING NEW, AND WERE COMBINED WITH THE JAPANESE NOODLE CULTURE.
Ramen culture quickly spread throughout Japan, and Ramen noodle dishes unique to local regions emerged all over the country. For example, in Hakata region (Kyushu Island, which is in southern Japan), one of the most famous Ramen dishes is Hakata Tonkotsu Ramen (an emulsified and rich pork bone soup with thin and hard noodles.) In Sapporo (the largest city on Hokkaido, the most Northern Island in Japan), Sapporo Ramen is distinguished by curly relatively thick, yellow noodles in miso-flavored soup, typically featuring corn and a piece of butter. Richness, saltiness, flavor and other characteristics of soup as well as size and texture of noodles vary dramatically from region to region. Because there are variations even within the same region (for example, from shop to shop), a lot of details need to be taken into account when talking about a particular type of Ramen. So when you tell us what type(s) of Ramen you want to make, please give us as many details as you can.
What are Ramen Noodles?
The flour used for Ramen noodle is predominantly wheat flour with high protein content (usually between 10-13%). There are many variations of Ramen noodles made from different ingredients, having various shapes, sizes, textures, colors and flavors.
Ramen noodles can largely be categorized into three types by amount of water added to the flour mix during dough kneading. The more water/liquid is contained the softer noodles are. Low water ratio noodles (25-31% to the weight of flour) tend to be hard in texture and thin in size. Medium water ratio noodles (32% – 39%) tend to be relatively soft and medium in size. High water ratio noodles (over 40%) tend to be soft and chewy, similar to Udon noodles. Noodles softer in texture tend to be bigger and thicker in size, and vice versa.
Modifying a few percentages of water ratio can make a big difference in texture. There can be unlimited number of variations.
People’s Ramen preferences vary by region in Japan. By serving Ramen shops all over Japan, Yamato has accumulated different kinds of Ramen recipes to appeal to every taste. In the Ramen course, you will learn how to make good Ramen noodles by using Yamato Ramen noodle-making machines. When you complete the course, you will be able to create perfect original Ramen dishes which you would be able to serve to your customers with confidence.
Many popular Ramen shops have their own soup-making secrets that they never want to disclose. While noodle quality is getting more attention among Ramen fans, the flavor of soup is still extremely important for Ramen dishes. To make your Ramen shop successful, you need a perfect balance between noodles and soup. Yamato offers hands-on training for Ramen soup making. Just by attending the course, you will be able to learn recipes for various kinds of soups, and acquire the skills necessary for professional Ramen soup making.
The most typical topping for Ramen is braised or barbecued pork, known as Char-siu. In the Ramen course, you will learn how to cook Char-siu from scratch. You will also learn about other toppings such as Menma (thin strips of pickled bamboo shoots) and boiled seasoned eggs.
UDON NOODLES ARE MADE FROM WHEAT FLOUR, WATER, SALT, AND SOMETIMES A LITTLE BIT OF VINEGAR. THERE ARE ALSO DIFFERENT TYPES OF UDON NOODLES THAT USE ADDITIONAL INGREDIENTS IN VARIOUS COMBINATIONS THE TEXTURE IS TYPICALLY SOFT AND CHEWY, AND THE SIZE TENDS TO BE BIGGER THAN OF OTHER TYPES OF NOODLES, SUCH AS RAMEN OR SOBA.
Udon has a long history in Japan. There are many theories when people started eating Udon, but one thing we can be sure about is it has been around for hundreds of years in Japan. Over the years it has slowly evolved, and many variations of Udon emerged in different parts of Japan. Some of these regional Udon noodles got popular nationally, and a few of them even globally. The most famous and popular udon of all is called, “Sanuki Udon”. “Sanuki” is an ancient name for Kagawa prefecture where these noodles became popular. Typically, Sanuki udon tends to be thick in size and very chewy in texture. The color is white, and the length tends to be long. Some big restaurant chains featuring this type of udon have opened locations that grew in popularity overseas. Because of its unique texture, production of good udon noodle requires a process, called aging/resting to optimize the condition of dough.
Udon Dishes - From Basic to Popular
Udon noodles served in hot soup, which is generally made from fish ingredients (dry sardine, kelp ) and kaeshi, which is typically a seasoned and aged soy sauce.
Udon noodles served cold with special dipping sauce. As this style of Udon noodles is typically chilled with ice, the texture becomes hard, which requires the noodles to be cooked longer than other types.
Udon noodles served hot with special dipping sauce. Although typically Udon noodles are washed after being cooked to rub off starch from the surface, this type is served without washing because the noodles are served in the water they were cooked in. This also makes kama-age udon the quickest cooking udon type.
This type of Udon noodles is served either cold or hot with a separate special sauce. Customers pour the sauce over the noodles and stir before eating. This is relatively new and popular for its simplicity.
In the Udon Training Course, you will learn how to make good Udon noodles, starting with understanding the ingredients: wheat, water and salt. Each step in the process of Udon making is taught through hands-on practice. You will also learn a proper usage of Yamato´s Udon noodle-making machines. The purpose of the course is to give you enough skills to feel confident serving Udon to your customers.
The curriculum focuses on making healthy and additive-free soups and sauces for Udon. After acquiring basic knowledge about the ingredients and how to use them, you will learn Yamato’s original Udon soup and sauce recipes.
SOBA NOODLES HAVE BEEN AROUND IN JAPAN FOR A LONG TIME. SOBA ATTRACTED A WIDESPREAD POPULARITY IN THE EDO SOCIETY.
Among the dishes enjoyed by the people during the Edo period included broiled eel, sushi and tempura, but their consumption did not compare to that of soba and none of them were as widely and frequently eaten throughout the year. Soba was popular not only among the general public but also with the feudal lords. Judging from the fact that it made an appearance in a variety of literature including haikus and senryus (satirical poems), it is clear that soba had become pervasive and added an amusing element to the peoples’ lives.
Sobakiri, prepared by kneading buckwheat flour with water, came to be called soba for short. The noodle form of soba actually appeared before 1590 when Ieyasu Tokugawa was compelled to move to the Kanto region and took possession of the Edo Castle.
Waterwheel mills, which offered a revolutionary process to the manufacturing of flour products, became common during the Edo period. In addition to the increase in the planting of buckwheat crops under the Cultivation Promotion, a variety of factors such as the drastic growth in productivity due to the development of waterwheel mills and improvement in soba kneading technologies supported the foundation for the increased soba consumption.
IN ADDITION TO REGIONAL SOBA DISHES, VARIETIES OF CUT SOBA ARE AVAILABLE DEPENDING ON WHICH PART OF BUCKWHEAT SEED IS MADE INTO FLOUR.
White-coloured sarashina soba is produced by using refined flour made from the center part of the seeds.
By including more of the part closer to the husks, soba becomes darker. There are also special kinds of soba in which powdered tea or yuzu are added to the dough. It is interesting to see the different styles of craftsmanship used to make different varieties of soba. In addition to the cut soba, there is a number of ways to enjoy the flavors of buckwheat in Japan, including sobagaki (buckwheat dumplings) and oyaki (pan-fried buns).
In Yamato Noodle School Soba Course, you will learn how to make Soba noodles both manually and using a machine. Handmade Soba noodles may have better taste and texture, but they cost more and take more time to make than a machine-made Soba. Practical experience with both methods will help you understand the difference between them, so you can decide which one would be most appropriate for your shop.
You will also learn the proper way to make a good soup and sauce for Soba noodles. You will begin by preparing a stock with ingredients such as bonito and seaweed. With Yamato’s method, you can make additive-free and tasty traditional Soba soup and sauce that you will feel confident to serve to your customers.