To overcome the problems of high oil absorption in instant noodles, the effects were evaluated of drying processes using microwaves, infrared, and hot‐air on the quality of protein‐enriched instant noodle (PEIN) compared to deep frying. The drying time from using frying, microwaves, infrared, and hot‐air were 1, 4, 20, 50, and 80 min, respectively. Although microwave‐dried PEIN had the highest gelatinization enthalpy (0.55 J/g), it could rehydrate in 3 min in 90 °C hot water to the same degree as fried PEIN due to its greater internal porosity from the high drying rates. The microwave‐dried PEIN reduced microorganism levels below the allowable limits and received an acceptable sensory score. Accordingly, microwave drying has advantages in terms of quick dehydration and rehydration over infrared and hot‐air drying. Moreover, it had a greater fat content reduction compared to deep frying and promotes the provision of a healthy and convenient product for consumers.
The rising concern regarding the high residual oil content in deep‐fried products has rapidly increased the demand for low fat, nonfried instant noodles. However, the long operation time and poor rehydration characteristics of these in‐demand products made using hot‐air drying are disadvantages. Thus, infrared drying and microwave drying were employed to dehydrate protein‐enriched instant noodles (PEIN), which were supplemented with chicken meat, egg yolk, and seaweed, and the PEIN quality was compared with that from the deep frying and hot‐air drying processes. The results demonstrated quick dehydration and rehydration, 80% fat content reduction, microbial safety, and sensory acceptability of microwave‐dried PEIN. Our research work presented the benefits of microwave drying in instant noodle manufacture, not only regarding a shorter drying time, but also with diminished oil and raw material costs, and the provision of a healthy, convenient product for consumers.