Sunday, January 31, 2021

Instant noodles: Classification and processing

Noodles are long thin piece of food made from a mixture of flour, water and eggs usually cooked in soup or boiling water. An instant noodle is a food item made from unleavened dough that is made from different types of ingredients.

According to Codex definition, instant Noodle is a product prepared from wheat flour and/or rice flour and/or other flours and/or starches as the main ingredient, with or without the addition of other ingredients. It may be treated by alkaline agents. It is characterized by the use of pre-gelatinization process and dehydration either by frying or by other methods.

Instant noodles appeared to have originated in Japan in the 1950s and today, are consumed in more than 80 countries, become internationally recognized food. Noodle industry supplies 95.4 billion servings annually to consumers throughout the world, and the demands are on the rise.

Instant noodles are made from wheat flour, starch, water, salt or kan sui (an alkaline salt mixture of sodium carbonate, potassium carbonate, and sodium phosphate), and other ingredients that improve the texture and flavor of noodles.

The properties of instant noodles like taste, nutrition, convenience, safety, longer shelf-life, and reasonable price have made them popular. Quality factors important for instant noodles are color, flavor, and texture, cooking quality, rehydration rates during final preparation, and the presence or absence of rancid taste after extended storage. Instant noodles can then help in shortening preparation times and produce good quality results, while maintaining nutritional values.

Instant noodles are classified into two types on the basis of methods used for the removal of moisture, i.e., instant dried noodles and instant fried noodles.

Instant dried noodles are produced in a fully automatic production line similar to the type used for steamed and deep-fried noodles, except that a continuous drying chamber replaces the deep fryer, using hot air as the drying medium.

Frying the noodles in oil at 140-160 ºC for 1-2 minutes decreases the moisture content of noodles to about 2–5%, whereas in hot air-dried noodles, it is about 8–12%.

While any edible oil is suitable for frying, palm oil or palm olein is often used in Asia and mixtures of canola, cottonseed, and palm oils are commonly used in North America. The process leads to shrinkage and raises the level of porosity and roughness. The moisture contained in the gelatinized starch granules evaporates due to the high temperature. The empty spaces previously occupied by the moisture are next partially filled with oil

In hot air drying, the noodles are held at 70-90 ºC for 30-40 minutes to achieve an 8-12% moisture content.

The heating during frying or hot air drying further gelatinizes the starch and the noodles attain a porous texture, which facilitates rehydration process while cooking the product.

Instant noodles are commercially available in two packaged forms - in a cup with the seasoning sprinkled over the noodles or in a pouch (or bag) with the seasoning provided in a sachet inside the pouch.
Instant noodles: Classification and processing


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