Ramen is a convenient and easy-to-make Japanese dish that consists of wheat noodles served in a meat broth along with different types of toppings like pork, eggs, seaweed, mushrooms, fish cakes, and green onions. Ramen serves as lunch or a quick dinner for so many people.
If you follow a gluten-free diet, one of your major concerns about this dish will be whether it is gluten-free, since most noodles such as semolina , oat milk and pasta are not gluten-free. You probably want to try out the ramen restaurant that just opened up next to your apartment, but you need to be certain that these noodles are gluten-free.
Whatever your reasons for wanting to know if there are gluten free ramen noodles, in this article we have provided a list of some of the best gluten-free ramen noodles you could try without fear of disrupting your gluten-free diet.
WHAT IS RAMEN
Although it is believed to have originated in China, ramen has become a mainstay traditional Japanese dish that can be prepared in several different ways, with different ingredients. There are different types of ramen noodles, but traditional ramen noodles are made from wheat flour, salt, oil, and other flavorings. Ramen is mainly a soup dish containing noodles.
Several factors distinguish ramen from all other types of noodles. Some of them are:
1. TYPES: There are 4 basic types or categories of ramen and they are all differentiated by the type of broth used in making the soup. There is Shoyu ramen which is made from chicken broth and flavored with soy sauce, then there is Shio ramen which is made with a thicker chicken broth seasoned with salt, Miso ramen is thicker than the other two, with a rich brown broth flavored with fermented soybean paste. And finally, there is Tonkotsu ramen which is made from simmered pork bones, which makes its broth thick, creamy and fatty.
2. NOODLES: The noodles used in making ramen differ and they range from thin and curly, to thick and straight. The thick noodles are usually made with thick broth, although you are allowed to choose soup when you are ordering in a restaurant.
3. INGREDIENT: All ramen is made from wheat flour, salt, water, and an alkaline mineral known as kansui. Kansu contains a combination of sodium carbonate, potassium carbonate, and sometimes phosphoric acid. Many confuse the unique color of ramen to be due to the presence of egg, however, kansui is responsible for this coloration. The alkaline mineral reduces the acidity of the other ingredients, and in the process gives ramen its characteristic yellow color and firmness when they spend a long time soaking in a broth.
4. TOPPINGS: This varies widely by region and from restaurant to restaurant. Some of the common toppings used in ramen are roasted pork, or eggs prepared in different ways could be hard-boiled, poached, or even raw.
IS RAMEN GLUTEN-FREE
Gluten is a protein that is naturally occurring in whole grains such as wheat, spelt, barley, farro, semolina, rye, and Kamut. This protein acts as a glue that binds these grains together, helping them maintain their shape. Ramen is made from wheat flour, so naturally, ramen is not gluten-free, however, many brands produce gluten free ramen noodles that taste just as delicious as the traditional ramen.
Gluten free ramen noodles are usually made from the following ingredients:
- Brown rice flour
GLUTEN FREE RAMEN NOODLES
So you don’t miss out on all the fun of enjoying a delicious dish of ramen when next you go to a ramen restaurant with your friend, here are some of the best gluten free ramen noodles you could try out:
1. LOTUS FOODS: Lotus Foods is the world’s leading manufacturer of gluten free ramen noodles. They use of a special type of rice called Japioca, and a process of slowly air drying the noodles, to create that chewy texture that is unique to the traditional ramen.
The company offers 3 types of gluten-free ramen: Jada Pearl (rice noodles), Forbidden Rice (black rice noodles), and Millet & Brown Rice, in a variety of flavors such as spicy kimchi and garlicky veggie. The noodles contain 33% less sodium compared to the traditional ramen, they are made with non-GMO ingredients, and are vegan.
Just like the traditional noodles, the Lotus Foods brand of gluten free ramen noodles is also easy to prepare. All it takes is adding the noodles to boiling water, and then adding the flavors that come with the noodles.
2. THAI KITCHEN: This brand has the most spicy and diverse flavors, and while they taste different from traditional ramen noodles, they are still a great option for gluten free ramen noodles brands. Their instant rice noodle soups are available in Bangkok Curry, Lemongrass & Chili, Thai Ginger, Garlic & Vegetable, and Spring Onion. The rice noodle soups also come in soup bowls and the flavor options are different, they include Hot & Sour, Roasted Garlic, Thai Ginger and Spring Onion & Mushroom Rice.
3. KING SOBA: King Soba manufactures 2 different kinds of ramen noodles with their own flavor packets (Chili Miso and Edamame Miso), and also, they produce 3 other types of noodles (Brown Rice, Black Rice, and Buckwheat) that you can use to create your own flavor of ramen. The cost of these ramen noodles is quite affordable, they are sold at $2.79.
4. GLASS NOODLES: These gluten free ramen noodles are made using starch from mung beans, potatoes, sweet potatoes, or tapioca starch, and are also known as “cellophane noodles”. They are super thin, translucent noodles, very common in a lot of Asian cuisines.
5. KELP NOODLES: Kelp noodles are Korean-made noodles, made by taking the inner part of a kelp plant, drying it, and turning it into powder. Kelp is a type of brown algae seaweed with a lot of iodine, calcium, vitamin K and iron, which makes these noodles not only a good option because it is gluten-free, but also because they are nutrient-dense, which will serve to provide many health benefits.
6. SIMPLY ASIAN RICE NOODLE SOUP BOWLS: This brand of gluten free ramen noodles comes in spring vegetable, Sesame Chicken, Garlic Sesame, and Shiitake Mushroom. They are also available in a prepackaged bowl, making preparation a lot easier as all you would have to do is add hot water to it. They are also cholesterol-free, egg-free, and steam cooked.
7. VEGETABLE NOODLES: Noodles are made out of vegetables using a spiralizer, zucchini noodles are probably the most popular type of vegetable noodles out on the market. However, if you have a spiralizer, a box grater, or a mandolin at home, you could make your own gluten free ramen noodles with any vegetable of your choice, such as carrots, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, and so on. These are super healthy, vitamin-rich gluten-free alternatives to traditional ramen.
WHERE TO BUY GLUTEN FREE RAMEN NOODLES
Gluten free ramen noodles can be bought in your local grocery store, Target, Walmart, or Amazon.
GLUTEN-FREE RAMEN RECIPE
If you are gluten-intolerant, gluten free ramen noodles are a great alternative to traditional ramen. There are several ways to enjoy your gluten-free ramen noodles, especially since each brand of gluten-free ramen comes with different instructions on how long to boil the noodles and different cooking instructions.
You should note the ingredients, you use in making gluten free ramen noodles. As with traditional ramen, soy sauce is a common ingredient, however, you would want to substitute that with a non-containing gluten ingredient such as tamari.
Here is a simple gluten-free recipe you could try using the following ingredients:
- A tablespoon of oil
- 3 cups of baby bok choy (chopped)
- A tablespoon of freshly grated ginger
- 2 cups of sliced carrots
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 cups of cooked chicken
- 1 quart of chicken broth
- ¼ cup of tamari
- Gluten-free ramen noodles
- Eggs (optional)
- Hot sauce and salt
- Heat your oil over medium heat, then add your minced garlic, grated ginger, and sliced carrots. Allow sautéing for 5 minutes.
- Put your bok choy, chicken broth, and tamari into the mixture in the pot and allow to boil for some minutes. Reduce heat to simmer.
- In a separate pot, heat water for boiling your ramen, when it is ready, put in your gluten-free ramen and bring to boil.
- Cook for 6 minutes, then drain off the water from the ramen. This helps to wash off the starch and prevents noodles from sticking together.
- To the pot containing the broth, add salt and hot sauce to taste as desired.
- Finally, put your noodles into the broth mixture and top with soft-boiled eggs and green onions.
Traditional ramen noodles are not gluten-free, but if you are looking at enjoying a dish of gluten-free ramen noodles, then there are several brands from which you can choose, or you could make your own special vegetable gluten-free ramen noodles with any vegetable of your choice. Beware however of the ingredients you use, as some ingredients such as soy sauce are not gluten-free.