The ingredients for the noodles and pasta in this guide are all given in percentages (%). This way, it is easier to adjust the amount required according to one’s needs and preferences. The amount or the kind of flour used also determines the corresponding amount of increase in the ingredients.
Below is a table indicating the specific ingredients and their corresponding percentages.
Percent(%) – Ingredients:
- 100 – all purpose flour
- 32 – water
- 3 – iodized salt
- 5 – kansui
- 2 – powdered flavor (optional)
- depend on individual taste – food color (optional)
The example below illustrates how the information in the table works:
For 250 (100%) grams of flour, use 80 (32%) grams of water, 7.5-8 (3%) grams of iodized salt and 12.5 (5%) grams of kansui. When using egg, remove 50 grams of water for each egg added to the recipe
Kansui helps maintain texture and taste in noodles. The main components of this liquid were sodium and potassium carbonate and phosphate. Modern Kansui is made directly from one or a combination of these elements. In its absense however, lye may be used but this gives the product a soapy after-taste.
The Different Kinds of Noodles and Pasta
The so-called Chinese noodles include bihon, canton, sotanghon, miki and misua. Molo, siomai and wanton wrappers also fall under this caregory. Pancit bihon made of rice flour is often cooked along with sauteed and fried viands. Canton has yellowish color. It is made from all-purpose flour and is suitable for sauteed pork, shrimp and vegetables. Sotanghon is good for soup and is usually sauteed. Misua, fine noodles made of rice flour are available in two shapes; flat and circular. Miki, made of all-purpose flour, may be flat or round, and wet (basang miki) or dry (tuyong miki). Steamed noodles or ramen is often used by the Chinese in instant noodle soups. Molo wrappers, which come in square, triangle or circular shapes are used for siomai, vinsec and wanton.
Spaghetti, macaroni, lasagna, fettuccini, and alphabets belong to the pasta category.
Pasta is a dough made from flour, water and/or eggs. The flour used for commercial pasta is made from milled durum wheat purified into semolina, a coursely ground meal.
Sources describe this ingredient as: “Durum wheat semolina absorbs less water and will dry easily; it holds together well during kneading, drying and cooking; it has a better texture and ‘bite’ and re reheats successfully”
Eggs are sometimes added to give extra body and flavor. If a different kind of flavor is used, the result is not as good as semolina wheat.
Pasta has been closely associated with Italy. Today, it has become popular in many parts of the world because of its versatility, variability and ease in cooking. Moreover, it is a “gustatory delight”. It is also healthy (contrary to myths, it doesn’t make you fat) inexpensive and available.
To Filipinos, spaghetti usually adorns a party or fiesta table. Spaghetti, “little string” in Italian, ranges from very thin to thick; it works best with cream sauces and smooth tomato sauces.
- Macaroni – bigger, hallower and tubular in form – now comes in varied shapes: circular, elbow, shell, bow-ties, etc. Thus, you have the penne (pointed quills), gnocchi (snail-like), rotelli (small spiked wheels), orec-chiette (and conchiglie (little cars or giant ones that have troughs), radiators (thick, rippled radiators), spirelli (spiral), rotini (long or short twist also called fusilli), anelli (rings), farfalls (bow-ties) and what-home-you. Macaroni is popular for salads, soups or casserole dishes.
- Lasagna – either comes in square shape or in longish, thick strips that my be curled along the edges. It is good for vegetable casserole, meat pie.
- Fettuccini – is a long and flat; it is white, egg-based pasta ribbons and is best with butter-and-cream-based sauces.
- Alphabet – are pastas in the shape of English (or Italian) alphabet. Often used in soups, it comes pie-mixed with animals, spaceships and other figures children adore.
Equipment for Making Noodles and Pasta
It only takes a weighing scale and pasta maker to make the desired pasta or noodle. The weighing scale – used to measure and sift the correct amount of needed ingredients.
The Pasta maker – made up of two primary parts; the roller and the cutter.
The roller has generally seven settings. The lowest (no. 1) corresponds to the biggest aperture or opening, which produces the thickest dough sheets. The highest (No. 7) settings correspond to the smallest aperture which produces the thinnest sheets. In between, would be a gradation of desired thickness or thinness.
The cutter is where the dough passes from the roller. It also has settings: broad (for fettuccini) and thin or narrow (spaghetti and canton).
Tips for Processing and Cooking Noodles and Pasta
- Keep noodles in a tightly sealed container or package to prevent mold or insect infestation.
- Cook miki and other wet noodles within 24 hours after preparation. Leaving these noodles uncooked gives them a soapy after-taste.
- Soak Chinese noodles such as pancit bihon, canton and sotanghon in water to make them flexible. Do not soap longer than necessary as the noodles will get soggy.
- The proportion of water to pasta is important. Use a generous amount of water (one gallon to every 450 grams of pasta or more) if cooking dried pasta as it absorbs a lot of water. (Too little water results in gluey pasta as the small amount of water becomes starch-laden).
- Use a very large pot. Bring the water to a rolling boil. Although some would recommend adding a dash of oil (to prevent pasta from sticking), others do not see the need. Add a large pinch of salt to help bring out the flavor.
- Once the pasta is in, stir occasionally to move it off the bottom of the pot. (don’t stir too often as this tends to release excess starch.)
- Pasta should be cooked (in slow rolling boil) for 8-10 minutes only; more time is required if cooking dried pasta as it absorbs more water.
- The pasta is done when it is al dente (tender), but with some resistance to the bite. Press a piece between your finger. You should also feel the texture and from in the mouth.
- Take pasta out of the pit and wash with cold water. Drain extra water out of the bowl. (Rinse only if pasta is to be used in a cold dish).