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I'm looking for any tips for making a meal with dried noodles without needing to actively cook them.

My problem is that the kitchen in my office has nothing, not even a microwave. It just has a hot water dispenser (not sure of the exact temperature, standard models generally dispense it at 94ºc so I would assume this one is the same).

I'm fine with salads and sandwiches, but sometimes I want something hot. A particular favorite is noodles, but whenever I have instant noodles I get terrible indigestion, probably because of all the terrible things that are in the flavor sachet (I actively avoid reading the ingredients for my own sanity).

I want to make my own similar thing adding my own spices/ ingredients, and also preferably vegetables, but it seems unreasonably expensive to buy lots of individual packets of instant noodles, and get rid of the flavor sachets to make my own.

I've tried searching on the internet, but all of the things I've found are cooking it inside a kettle (which isn't an option), or using a microwave (also not an option).

So are there any tips/ advice for cooking noodles (like dried egg noodles) simply with hot water?

More specifically, optimum noodle weight:water volume ratio, and amount of time they are left in the water before ready to eat.

If there are any other type of noodles that can be used for this specifically, egg noodles aren't required. I also don't mind if it ends up more like a soup, but I would rather there be as little liquid remaining as possible.

  • 1
    Welcome to the site! I don't know where you live, but I can buy so-called "wok noodles" by the pound in Germany. They are basically the same as in instant mixes, sold separately. Works great for me. Perhaps try the Asian food section of some of your major chain stores? – Stephie May 7 '15 at 11:08
  • I closed this question at first as a duplicate, but after rereading, I realized that it is subtly different, so reversed the closure. But I'm still posting the related questions here for anybody interested: cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/42414 and cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/21610 – rumtscho May 7 '15 at 12:20
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    "it seems unreasonably expensive to buy lots of individual packets of instant noodles, and get rid of the flavor sachets to make my own." - have you actually priced them? Particularly in 12-pack boxes rather than individual packets, they're very cheap where I am even compared to other pasta/noodle products. – Random832 May 7 '15 at 17:56
  • @Random832 I have priced them, and it would cost almost five times as much. Maybe I need to look for somewhere as in Stephie's comment that sells instant noodles specifically, but I haven't found them yet. – Mike.C.Ford May 8 '15 at 9:28
17

Par-boiling the noodles at home would allow you to finish cooking them with just hot water.

I would boil your chosen noodles 2 minutes under the package recommended time. Then rinse and chill the noodles and toss with a bit of oil and chill it. Take this to work in an insulated bag with an ice pack.

A "saucy" noodle dish would be simpler to prepare at the office. Put both the noodles and veg in a heat proof container with your own seasonings and additions of choice, add hot water, let stand for 2-3 minutes and you'll have a whole meal in one bowl.

Serious Eats has a whole "food lab" series about it, including several suggested "DIY Instant Noodle" recipes:

http://www.seriouseats.com/2014/09/diy-instant-noodle-cups-food-lab.html

However if you want "dry" noodles you could also pour on hot water to your par-cooked noodles, let stand for 2-3 minutes, then drain the noodles, and continue with your preparations. I'm thinking a plate over a pyrex bowl could serve as a simple colander.

The draw-back of this technique is that you have less direct heat exchange into your seasonings and veg. If you're just hoping to melt some butter and a sprinkle of parsley, that would be fine on the hot noodles. If you're hoping to heat up a heavy tomato and meat sauce, it probably wouldn't work.

I also really enjoy cold soba noodles, if you're just looking for a change from salads!

  • That is exactly what I was looking for. Maybe sometime in the past I have actually seen that exact website, and forgotten about it, and that's what gave me the idea for it. Thanks! – Mike.C.Ford May 7 '15 at 14:29
5

Rice noodles or egg noodles can be prepared in a bowl of hot water.

At home, I usually make 300-400 grams of noodles in about 2 litres of water, and that serves 4 people. It's best to err on the side of more water, though. So 100g of noodles, which is a large portion for one person, in about 750ml of water should be fine. My rice noodles (3mm) take about 10 minutes to be ready, but the time will be longer for thicker noodles.

Seasoning is easy, as you can just mix some spices at home and combine with soy sauce (or anything else) and the noodles once you've drained the water.

If you want vegetables with your noodles, I'm not sure how you would do it. If you pre-cut fresh vegetables (carrots, red peppers, scallions, mushrooms) you could just add them raw to your noodles and mix.

For a real hi-tech solution, you could bring a small steamer and place it on top of the bowl of noodles with the hot water. It won't be enough to cook the vegetables, but it may heat them through a little.

  • 1
    Or pre-cook the veggies and re-heat them in hot water while the noodles are soaking. – Stephie May 7 '15 at 13:35
2

Your best bet is probably to use rice noodles (like Vietnamese bánh phở), since they can rehydrate very quickly in hot water. When they reach the desired tenderness, you can then discard the water and mix in whatever sauce/broth/seasonings you like. Some soy sauce, fish sauce, and/or sugar would work well, since they're all shelf-stable and you can keep them at your office without needing refrigeration.

0

You can parboil @ home as suggested or hydrate in cold water. We used to do this @ the restaurant all the time as it lowers the cook time to that of fresh pasta. IF you continue to let it soak depending on the type of pasta, it will re hydrate itself in cold water. Then you could just add the hot water you have @ work and the seasonings you wish.

0

@Carmi, Thanks for this share. If one has only a kettle: To overcome the limitation of No open flame, I tried simmiar method, taught by a friend.

This method works better in a flat pan / baking flat1, and method works best when intention is not to break apart noodles.

NoodleS:If a metal strainer/collator is available place noodles in mesh over heated container2 till boil.

Kettle:Heat water till vigorously boiled. Apply 1+1/4tsp hot water to CENTER of noodles ('top ramen' will fold out. two weaves if preheated with steam)A

Wait till fluid is absorbed (keep hot water @virgorous boil)B

Apply 2tsp more hot water.

Wait(keep hot water boiling) Add 2tsp hot water.

Wait(keep hot water boiling)

Remove excess water after 2 or so mins and reset noodles very flat (in said pan/pot as possible.)

Continue above steps until noodles are 50% soaked from middle (center) outward. At this point noodles look soft @ center.

Now prepare noodle seasoning: (Any natural spices available + salt + oil based sauce, etc.)

Dispense approx 1-3tsp of hot water in a pot. Apply Your Seasoning to the water.

Continue to add a simmiar portion of fluid until you get NEARLY enough to form the 'soup' of your noodles.

Return to your soaking Noodes and Apply 2tsp hot water along remaining portion of noodles (50%).

When the noodles are roughly 90% as soft as you would like remove all excess water.

Now apply very hot water to your seasoning pot and stir.

Add mixture to your noodles in serving container, Mix and Enjoy.

  • 1
    The question is about not having boiling water available, but your answer uses boiling water. – Jan Doggen Jul 1 at 7:37
  • @JanDoggen The question is about cooking noodles with hot water rather than a stove or microwave, and that's what this answer addresses. The hot water dispenser produces water within a few degrees of boiling, and can substitute for the kettle mentioned in the answer. – Sneftel Jul 2 at 9:31
  • Correct Sneftel. Also. If there is no hot water available. How can one make noodles!? 0_0 ** You can throw me a link to THAT thread whenever. – tyler Johnson Jul 10 at 22:21

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