ramen and pickles

science, technology, and medicine served up with some tasty noodles

GreeNoodle, healthfood ramen?

Today I tried GreeNoodle’s ramen made from Moroheiya. Moroheiya is the Japanese word for Egyptian mulukhiya, a green plant made into soups and other dishes.  It is used in a variety of dishes from North Africa.  It is supposed to have a somewhat slimy and “mucilaginous” consistency when boiled, which did not sound very promising.  That basically means it is sort of gluey, full of polysaccharide and glycoprotein.  This conjurs up thoughts of gooey seaweed mess in my mind.  However, the root of the marshmallow plant is also made of mucilage and can be used to make marshmallows.  Anyway, returning to mulukiya, it is supposed to be something like a cross between spinach and okra, typically used to make a range of green, North African stews.

Apparently, in Japan it is considered a superfood, full of vitamins and fiber.   As an interesting aside, it is fun to see an example of different kinds of pop-alternative health foods from different countries.  In the US we have our açai and goji berries.   In Japan they have their Egyptian greens.  However, each country/culture is able to put their own spin on things, and it has been introduced into a series of different kinds of ramen. Today I tried the version flavored like Thai spicy and sour soup, Tom Yum.  Tom Yum soup is flavored with lemon grass, keffir limes, and red peppers.

How do the green noodles stack up in terms of dietary features? How about taste? Lets go to the ramen lab to see.

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It comes with two flavor packets, one with a dried soup powder including some red pepper flakes and the other a small packet with a red, oily paste.

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I had it today with some salad eggs (aka deviled eggs), of course topped with little gherkin pickles.  The flavor powder took a little while to dissolve into the broth, and looked a little strange at first, but soon looked much like Tom Yum soup I have had before, minus the fresh cilantro.  The red paste dissolved into a nice oily droplets of goodness.  The broth was quite tasty, obviously not traditional ramen, but I enjoyed the change.  It was not too spicy, but still flavorful.  Much better spice level than some of the spicy Korean ramens I have had.

The important part however is the noodles.  They were actually pretty decent, with some good chewiness.  There was a little bit of gluey consistency as I neared the end, but overall they were acceptable for instant ramen.  I’ve had much worse noodles in instant ramen before.

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Healthwise, they stack up pretty well.  Of course, like all ramen, and pretty much all premade soups, it is super high in sodium.  However, it is relatively  quite low in fat (5 gm vs 20 gm).  It also has 8 gm of dietary fiber.  The sodium and still somewhat high carbs do not make this a health food, but it seems like a healthier alternative to many kinds of instant ramen, and I look forward to trying their other flavors.

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