Everyone knows how to make instant cup noodles, right? You just open the lid, pour in some boiling water, wait three minutes, and bam – you’ve got a quick, tasty meal.
But what if you could have an even tastier meal that doesn’t take any extra time at all to prepare?
Our Japanese-language reporter Seiji is a bit of an instant noodle connoisseur, and he recently discovered a super-easy cooking hack for what’s already one of the simplest meals to make. The secret: use Japanese tea instead of water to make the noodles.
Rather than boiling water, start by boiling tea. You can either make the tea from leaves or a bag or, if you’re lazy like us, just grab a bottle of pre-made store-bought tea, pour it into a pot, and heat it up.
▼ Seiji specifically recommends the roasted green tea called hojicha.
Once you’re brought the tea to a boil, simply pour it into the noodle package…
…wait however long the noodles’ instructions say for them to ordinarily cook, and you’re done.
The finished product may not look very different from normal made-with-water noodles, but it has a fresh, enticing aroma with the astringent tea notes blending with the savory elements of the noodle broth seasonings.
▼ Seiji opted to use a pack of Donbei-brand instant soba noodles, because if you’re trying out an unusual recipe, you might as well choose a brand with some very strange marketing.
But while it smelled nice, would it taste as good? Would the strength of the tea flavor overpower the other components of the broth and the noodles themselves?
Not at all! As Seiji took a bite of noodles and a sip of broth, he found that the tea had produce an enticing new flavor, richer than it would have been with water but still harmoniously balanced. “This is how I’m making instant noodles from now on,” he told us.
In the interest of full disclosure, we should mention the Seiji didn’t come up with this idea entirely on his own. A few days prior, he spotted a tweet from Japanese Twitter user @ore825, who suggested making soba (using non-instant noodles) with a mixture of hojicha, two tablespoons of white bonito fish stock, and a measure of salt to produce 300 milliliters of noodle broth.
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