How Instant Noodles Are Born

You’ve probably eaten instant noodles when you’re too tired to make a hot meal, but do you know how are instant noodles made? Instant noodles are pre-cooked noodles that are typically sold in individual packets, cups, or bowls. Usually, flour, starch, water, salt, and/or kansui—a kind of alkaline mineral water with potassium and sodium carbonates—are its main ingredients. In this guide, we will make you aware of the development of instant noodles, their manufacturing, and whether it is good to eat them.

Table of Contents

  • What motivated the development of instant noodles?
  • Why are instant noodles pre-cooked?
  • How are instant noodles manufactured?
  • How Do You Cook Instant Noodles?
  • Finally, is it safe to consume instant noodles?

What motivated the development of instant noodles?

The invention of instant noodles was driven by a starving Japanese population post-World War II, the Japanese government’s efforts to deplete wheat flour and oil supplies, and the genius of Momofuku Ando, who encouraged Japanese people to consume American flour. In 1958, Ando invented Chikin Ramen, the first instant noodle. In 1971, Ando invented Cup Instant Noodles, recognising that reinventing the product to suit global eating habits could make it a global food.

Why are instant noodles pre-cooked?

Noodle dough absorbs water during cooking, allowing its starches to gelatinise, causing them to swell and burst. This process is crucial for cooking noodles, potatoes, and other starch-based products. The gelatinization of starch changes the shape and consistency of noodles, making them thicken slightly and allowing them to stick together. Instant noodles, however, do not undergo this process as they have already been cooked in the factory.

How are instant noodles manufactured?

Pasta with dried noodles, instant noodles, ramen, and fresh noodles They all describe products that are very similar but slightly different. Instant noodles are made from a dough made of water, flour, and salt. Ripening helps create gluten and strengthens the dough, ensuring even hydration. Compound rollers roll the dough to promote gluten formation, resulting in a stretchy network that enhances the elasticity and extensibility of the final product. The dough is then rolled and split into noodle shapes.

The instant noodles are then cooked, mostly by steaming. Once cooked, the noodles are cut, folded, and divided into individual portions, making it easier to package in the later stages.

  • The dried method

Cooked noodles spoil quickly due to their water content, making them ideal breeding grounds for spoilage microorganisms. Instant noodles can be stored for months or years by removing most moisture. Dried noodles become hard and brittle, similar to low-moisture products like compound potato chips or crispy chicken skin. Manufacturers must control the shape during drying to fit in the final package. Many instant noodles are wavy-dried or delicately rolled for easy re-absorption of water.

Seasonings are often included in instant noodles, with powder being the most common type, containing a variety of ingredients. Garnishes are a crucial component, often found in premium varieties, and are used to enhance the noodles’ texture and nutrition. Technological advancements have improved the shelf life of garnishes, making instant noodles a popular choice for a variety of dishes. Today, they are dried in one of the ways described below:

  • Vacuum freezing: Ingredients are frozen at -30°C while being vacuum packed. This method maintains their nutritional value.
  • Retort: The garnishes are cooked, packed into pouches, and sterilized with heat and pressure.
  • Hot air: This is a technique used to dehydrate non-fried noodles. The majority of garnishes are dried in this manner.
  • Microwave heat: This method employs machines that heat and dry garnishes from within while preserving their integrity and texture.
  • Deep-frying method

Deep-frying instant noodles is a traditional method to remove moisture from food, reducing its content from 30–40% to 2–6%. This process improves cooking efficiency but increases production costs and shelf life. To prevent rancidity and extend shelf life, instant noodles must be cooled before packaging. Proper control of the deep-frying process is crucial for ensuring the noodles’ quality and taste while reducing off-flavour and ensuring perfect cooking.

  • Blow-Drying Method

Industrial blow-drying equipment allows manufacturers to dry noodles for 30–60 minutes, causing water to evaporate slowly. This process takes longer and results in a different texture than deep-fried noodles. However, these noodles contain less fat, making them lower-calorie and less prone to rancidity, resulting in a longer shelf life. New methods of drying noodles without oil, such as microwave and infrared drying, are being researched, but they are still in the early stages of development. 

  • Consumption rehydration

Instant noodles are ready to be consumed once they have been dried, cooled, and packaged with flavourings. All you have to do when you buy a pack or cup of instant noodles is add some hot, boiling water. There is no ‘real’ cooking. That is, no chemical changes take place. Instead, as a consumer, you are simply reversing the drying process. The noodles absorb the water and are ready to use. without any stickiness or shape changes. a true grab-and-go meal.

How Do You Cook Instant Noodles?

You can cook these noodles directly in water, or you can dry them and store them for a long time, as many manufacturers do. Cooking these noodles takes very little time; depending on the size and shape, most noodles will be ready in about 10 minutes. Instant noodles are an exception to this rule; they cook almost instantly, often in less than 2 minutes! Furthermore, unlike most noodles, instant noodles do not swell during cooking.

Finally, is it safe to consume instant noodles?

The World Instant Noodle Association (WINA) was established in 1997 to set quality and safety standards for instant noodles, which are affordable, easy to prepare, and provide 300–500 calories per serving but are deficient in proteins, fibre, vitamins, and minerals. Moderation is essential, and the maximum serving size depends on health status and nutritional needs. Nowadays, there are many snack foods like potato chips and fruit jelly candy manufacturers, operating that also specialise in instant noodle manufacturing. So checking these factors is important before buying these products.Are you in search of one of the best wholesale snack suppliers near me in Qingdao, Shandong, China? then JOJOSE FOODS is there for you. We are the best supplier of instant noodles in the country, with a variety of flavours including roasted beef, vegetables, seafood, curry, chicken, and customised flavours.