The products we used:
The Rise of Ramen
When I was a kid, the only ramen that was available were the Maruchan instant noodles. My favorites were the chicken flavored ones.
These days, with authentic Japanese food and culture rising in popularity in the West, many young people want to experience Japan through food. While sushi is a delicious Japanese food, ramen is far more accessible to the young ones. As we grow older, we learn that there is more to ramen than just the little packets of cheap carbs we slurped up in college. The possibilities with ramen are endless.
While exploring the possibilities, you may come across ramen noodle strainers, like the Three Snow ramen noodle strainer from Shinetsu Works. Then you, like me, might ask yourself: Why use a special strainer, and how do you use it? Let me answer those questions for you.
When we received the Three Snow strainer, it wasn't obvious to me how to use it. Wouldn't it be difficult to scoop the ramen out?
Give Your Strainer Some Lip
But, ramen strainers, like the Three Snow, have a cool trick. They have the ability to hang off the lip of your pot, allowing your ramen noodles to boil while sitting in the strainer the entire time.
When I watched my wife get to work on cooking some ramen, I noticed something worrisome. The strainer is fairly shallow. If you hang it on the edge of your pot, the food won't be completely submerged in the water. Would noodles cook properly if they weren't completely submerged?
As it turns out, the shallow nature of the strainer is a feature, not a bug. It's designed to fit into even small pots. Perfect for individual meals. And when the water boils, the food gets plenty of exposure to heat and moisture. Our ramen cooked perfectly.
No Waste, Easy Serving
The nice thing about boiling the ramen directly in the strainer was that there was no waste, and it was very fast and easy to transfer from the pot to a bowl. The Three Snow strainer we cooked ramen with is light and compact, so my wife had no trouble pouring the ramen into a bowl.
One downside of the design is that it's a little too wide to fit more than one in even a large pot. Ramen, especially raw noodles, cooks very quickly (usually only two or three minutes), so it might not be such a big deal, but it's something to keep in mind when you are considering your ramen strainer options.
More Than Just a Ramen Strainer
Of course, since it's still just a strainer, you can use it for more than just ramen. You can boil udon, soba, or vegetables using the Three Snow strainer. You can even put a little less water in your pot, put the lid on, and steam your vegetables if you want.
After cleaning up, you can hang the strainer like any of your other kitchen utensils.
To Buy or Not to Buy?
If you cook a lot of authentic Japanese noodle dishes like ramen, you can't go wrong by using a Three Snow ramen strainer. That's especially true if you're cooking individual meals. You can make ramen, udon, soba, or cook vegetables with the Three Snow.
However, if you already have a strainer (for straining pasta, for example), or you're not convinced that the Three Snow strainer will improve your ramen-eating experience, then it's probably best to save your money and stock up on more of your favorite ramen.