As a soon-to-be “poor college student” I have come to realize that my days with little luxuries such as an elaborate home-cooked meal are now numbered. While I have high hopes that I’ll be able to work things out with the dining staff at my new school, I know that there will definitely be times when I need a quick and easy meal. For most teens, the obvious quick fix is ramen noodles, which are a cheap, but glutenous choice.
However, thanks to Lotus Foods, ramen is back on the table thanks to their miso soup-based ramen noodles. Boasting exotic rice blends, these ramen soups are worlds away from their conventional counterparts.
What’s so great about Lotus Food’s rice ramen is that these noodles can nimbly adapt themselves into many special diets. With the exception of soy, they are free from the top eight allergens (wheat, dairy, egg, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts). In addition, they are Kosher certified, non-GMO, and vegan.
The full line of Rice Ramen has a miso soup base, with the types of rice determining the different flavors. Currently, the rice flavors are Forbidden Rice (black rice), Jade Pearl rice (infused with bamboo extract), and millet/brown rice. The soup and noodle mix comes in either an individual-sized packaging or in bulk bag containing four rice cakes and mixes. I first came across the noodle soup mixes on Amazon while searching for gluten-free options, but was hesitant to buy in bulk. Luckily enough, I spotted the rice at the Doctor Phillips Whole Foods Market here in Orlando. They carried all but the millet/brown rice variety in the individual size (update 5/31/14: Whole Foods Orlando now carries all three flavors in the individual size). Like typical ramen noodles, the packaging and cooking instructions are pretty simple.
The ramen noodle “cake” is dried and hardened into its shape. Also included is a packet of spices, the miso soup mix. The directions recommend stove-top prep. They go as follows (printed directly on packaging):
- “Place 2 cups of water in a pot, bring to boil.”
- “Add ramen and simmer gently for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.”
- “When noodles are just soft, remove from heat and mix in contents of the enclosed soup packet”
- Transfer into serving bowl and enjoy.
Forbidden Rice Ramen with Miso Soup
The Forbidden Rice variety of the soup really drew me in with its inky black coloring. As a gluten-free diner, I’m very familiar with rice’s white and brown versions, but not so much with the other variations (red, volcanic, wild, black, etc.). The dark coloring gives the noodles a nutritional edge because the heirloom crop of rice used to produce them is a natural source for antioxidants. When I placed the noodles in the boiling water, the noodles let out an indego/violet color into the water which was striking visually. Once adding the miso soup, the color lightened to a dark plum.
What impressed me about the noodles was their rich, almost nutty flavor. Far from the rice noodles I get in Asian restaurants, these had a complexity I never new rice could have. The miso soup broth was reminiscent of some of the best I’ve had and really complemented the dark noodles. What was remarkable about the noodles was their ability to be “twirled” using a fork and spoon. A rare accomplishment for most gluten-free pastas, it was nice to be able to eat noodles without making a complete mess. Although each cake was meant to be two servings, I ate the whole packet, which was filling, but not bloating. Although I tested these without any of the add-ins, experimenting with the flavors of green onion to really make the soup pop.
Jade Pearl Rice Ramen with Miso Soup
For more information on the company and it’s products, follow this link.
Update 5/31/14: Millet and Brown Rice
To purchase Rice Ramen in bulk on Amazon, click here
Disclaimer: The review provided is current to the time I bought the product. Ingredients and manufacturing processes can change without notice. Each product should be reviewed for individual nutritional needs. Feel free to to contact me with any questions or comments. I was not compensated for this review and it is a reflection of my personal opinion.