Tantanmen Ramen - Japanese Tantan Noodles
Creamy Tantanmen Ramen is a Japanese take on a classic Sichuan noodle dish. Chewy ramen noodles meet a nutty sesame broth and spicy pork, ready to eat in just 10 minutes. Now there's a quick lunch!
Servings 2 serves
- 1 bok choy small, quartered or chopped
Heat the vegetable oil in a frypan. Add garlic and ginger, fry until fragrant (around 30 secs to 1 minute). Add the pork mince and fry until browned. For crispier pork, keep cooking until darker. Add doubanjiang, soy sauce and sake, and cook on low-medium heat until the liquid has fully absorbed.
Soup Base, Green Veggies & Noodles
Add the chicken stock and soy milk into a medium saucepan, bring to the boil then turn off the heat.
Meanwhile bring a second saucepan of water to the boil. Add bok choy stems and blanch for 10-20 seconds, then add the leafy sections and blanch until wilted. Remove from the water and set aside, then add ramen noodles into the same water and cook according to packet directions. Drain.
Pour the soup broth into each bowl. Top with cooked ramen noodles, fried mince and blanched bok choy. Optional: Garnish with sesame oil, rayu chilli oil and sliced spring onion.
- Ramen Noodles - This recipe traditionally calls for fresh wheat-based ramen noodles which can be sourced from an Asian grocery or market. But to keep things easy you can use either dry ramen noodles or shelf fresh noodles cooked to packet directions. You don’t even have to use ramen - you could use homemade udon noodles if you prefer. The key is to make sure they’re wheat based noodles, which have that deliciously chewy texture and will hold their shape in the broth much better than rice noodles. These can be cooked in the same water as the bok choy to save dishes (and time). Cook them according to packet directions.
- Sesame Paste - Most versions of tantanmen or dan dan noodles will use Chinese toasted sesame paste or peanut butter. We prefer to use tahini, which is made from un-toasted sesame seeds, so it has a less intense roasted flavour. Use any version you can most easily get your hands on.
- Rayu (Sesame Chilli Oil) - This delicious Japanese condiment is the perfect blend of sesame oil and chilli without being over the top spicy. You can find it at Asian groceries or buy online if needed. To substitute, just use regular sesame oil with a sprinkling of chilli powder to taste.
- Soy Milk - If possible, use fresh, unsweetened soy milk. You can find this in small or 2L bottles at Asian markets/grocers or you can make your own homemade soy milk if you have the time.
- Pork - The amount is intentionally small, as it’s more of a garnish than the main star of the show. You can double this amount if you like. For a delicious texture as well as flavour, fry the pork until dark and crispy.
- Doubanjiang - This is the one ingredient we recommend hunting down rather than substituting. This Chinese condiment is made from salty and spicy fermented broad beans, and can sometimes be labelled as douban, toban-djan, broad bean chili sauce, or fermented chili bean paste. For a milder, sweeter flavour you could use sweet fermented bean paste (tian mian jiang) instead. In a pinch, you could substitute with red miso paste or gochujang - the flavour will be different but it will still give you a delicious umami zing. Head to an Asian grocery for these options - if you can’t source them locally, you can also buy them online.
- Can’t Find Doubanjiang? - Make a quick homemade version from 1 tbsp red miso, ½ tsp sugar, ½ tsp soy sauce and ½ tsp sesame oil. This amount is suitable for the recipe below (2 servings) so scale this up if you need to serve more people.
- Cooking Sake - This is a type of Japanese rice wine for cooking. You can substitute with Chinese cooking wine, a regular dry white wine or 1 tsp sugar if you need.
- Greens - We love using blanched boy choy, choy sum, gai lan, or even frozen spinach, as they’re all readily available at our local supermarket. Traditionally this dish is served with pickled mustard greens known as zha cai or sui mi ya cai. Find them at your Asian grocery store, online, or leave it out.
- Blanching - For bok choy, boil the firm stalks first for 10 to 20 seconds and then add the leafy parts.
- Broth - This may separate a bit one you add the hot noodles into the bowl. It’s totally okay. Stir it all through and it will reincorporate.
- Make it More or Less Spicy - Amp up or tone down the heat by using more or less rayu / chilli oil.
- Optional Garnishes - Top with crushed peanuts, spring onion, fried shallots, extra rayu chilli oil, zha cai pickled greens or shichimi togarashi spice blend.
Calories: 613kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 44g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Cholesterol: 76mg | Sodium: 1994mg | Potassium: 1681mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 19011IU | Vitamin C: 195mg | Calcium: 564mg | Iron: 6mg