UMAMI MART MATSURI FESTIVAL
Moriheiya

Feeling out of the loop can make you feel old. I was feeling that way on Sunday night when I didn't recognize a third of the bands and artists that took the Grammy's stage. I didn't know when Maroon 5 ended and Foster the People began... it was all just so confusing. By 10 o'clock, I found the show so boring, that I logged onto Netflix for some Breaking Bad.

For a while now, I've felt the same way about new bands as I have about "healthy" food trends. I usually feel unstimulated and decide to stick to ingredients I know or dishes I crave. But I thought I'd dive into something that I've kind of been curious about but afraid to actually purchase (like a Rihanna record)... moroheiya. Jigga-wha?

Moroheiya is probably a bastardized kana pronunciation of the Arabic word malukhiyah, referring to the leaves of a type of jute plant. The leaves have freakish amounts of fiber and a long list of vitamins that puts spinach to shame. Although malukhiyah is most often used to make soups or stews in the middle east and Africa, leave it to the Japanese to make it into a packaged noodle product (dehydrated for your convenience, of course).

During my last year or two in Japan, information about moroheiya would seep into my life in little ways. It was kind of like how I hear Rihanna on the periphery -- on skincare commercials and in a store somewhere. I'd see something about moroheiya on TV or hear some girls talking about it over coffee, but I never actually got around to pursuing it during my stay in Japan.

So I decided now was time, since it's noodle month on Umamimart.

Check out the packaging for the moroheiya noodles available at my local Japanese market.

Moriheiya

It has this cute story to go along with some other "facts" that seem a little outrageous.

Moriheiya

Moriheiya

Moriheiya

I've also aligned it side-by-side with a regular (unhealthy) instant ramen noodle product.

Moriheiya

Moroheiya (GreeNoodle)
260 calories
1 gram fat
8 grams protein
54 grams carbohydrates

Miso Ramen (Charumera)
452 calories
18.8 grams fat
9.6 grams protein
61.1 grams carbohydrates

Like any instant noodle package, you just boil some water and flavor it with the powder inside. I added some veggies to make it even more healthy. I was excited by the deep green color of the noodles and was also attracted by the copy "Deliciously Chewy!"

Moriheiya dried noodles

I should have known that the more text there is on a package trying to convince you that it's delicious, the less delicious it will be. That's not to say that it was gross, but it was quite boring. If it weren't for the wild yellowfoot mushrooms I threw in, this bowl of noodles would have been very bland.

Moriheiya noodle bowl

The upside is that unlike after eating instant Sapporo Ichiban which is so good while slurping, but not so great after slurping, the moroheiya noodles had an opposite effect. It wasn't that great while eating it, but it didn't make you feel gross like a conventional instant meal. Because the noodles don't have any umami and lack chewiness, it's important to add those elements into your bowl. So if I happen to make this again, I'll throw in double the mushrooms.

Moriheiya

I can see bringing these moroheiya noodles along on a camping trip. It would be a simple-to-prepare, healthy option that has a lot of vitamins. And everything tastes good when you are outside, even an energy bar... so I'm sure moroheiya would taste like shrimp bucatini out in the wild.

But for noodles under normal circumstances, I'll stick to my curry udon and De Cecco pasta doused in Trader Joe's tomato sauce. And I think I'll pass on the Rihanna album and fish out some Pavement instead.
Column: Great UM Noodletown
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5 comments

  • Add some ajinomoto. That should do the trick.

    Kayoko on

  • After some thought, I think adding some butter would up the umami quotient on moroheiya noodles. Also, adding some more types of mushrooms and maybe some shrimp would help. I am open to give these noodles another chance.

    yoko on

  • @Aya That’s great to know. Next time I see GreeNoodle, I’ll reach for the Tom Yum. I’ll admit I haven’t eaten any more moriheiya since this post (over 3 years ago!) but with your comment, I may dabble again.

    yoko on

  • So, this is old, but I was googling moroheiya and this blog came up. The best tasting GreeNoodle is Tom Yum. I also think the shiitake and soy is quite bland.

    Aya on

  • Yep, the shiitaki is bland. The Tom Yum, however is amazing.

    Randy on

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