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Japanese ramen tantanmen - my easy recipe

Japanese ramen tantanmen – my easy recipe

Japanese ramen tantanmen is an underrated ramen dish you should try at least once. If you are a fan of Japanese ramen, I am sure you’ll adopt it for good. It is both quick and easy to make at home. Before I yield my secrets on how to make Japanese ramen tantanmen at home, let’s first discuss about its origins.

Japanese ramen tantanmen - my easy recipe
Look at this creamy and rich broth!
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The origin of the Japanese ramen tantanmen

This Japanese ramen dish is actually a take on the Chinese noodle dish called dandanmian 担担面. Dandan means carrying pole and mian means noodles which literally translates into pole-carried noodles. It was a common street food sold by Sichuanese walking vendors.

While the original version is soupless so the vendors could carry less weight and has a mala 麻辣 (numbing) flavour, the Japanese version is quite different. It is believed that tantanmen is the outcome from both dandanmian and majiangmian 麻酱面. The latter originates from Shanghai and uses sesame paste.   

Now that you know the little history behind tantanmen, let’s talk about the recipe.

What you will need to make my easy and quick tantanmen

Chicken bouillon cube – If you ever tried an authentic ramen recipe at home, you know that it takes many hours to prepare a ramen that is worthy of the name. The most time consuming is making the broth. Yes, a good bowl of ramen must be earned. For the shortcut, we are going to use ready to use chicken broth instead of the good earthy homemade bone broth.

Ground pork – as you know pork is widely consumed in Asia. But you can totally substitute it by beef or leaner meat like ground chicken or turkey.

Sesame paste – or tahini paste. Yes, you can take out the tahini paste that has been sitting in the fridge after you made that delicious hummus (by the way check my delicious roasted beetroot hummus recipe here).

Miso paste – you can totally substitute with Chinese Doujiangbang or Korean Gojuchang that are also soybean pastes.

Unsweetened soy milk – you can substitute with cashew or almond milk.

Garlic/ginger/scallions – my top trio aromatics as usual.

Seasonings – soy sauce, rice vinegar, sake, chili oil (skip it if you cook for little children as well).

Toppings – the common toppings are nikumiso that is ground pork braised with miso paste, blanched bok choy (or spinach, or swiss chard) and/or mung bean sprouts, soft-boiled egg, and green onion. If you can find Chinese Zhacai 榨菜 that is the pickled mustard stems, mince some for a touch of acidity at every bite.

And ramen noodles of course – the typical ramen noodles used in tantanmen is the yellowish wheat noodles that is made with alkaline water. But if you cannot find it, get the plain wheat noodles. I don’t recommend using soba noodles here as I personally think they don’t go well with our delicious creamy broth.

How to make a vegetarian/plant-based version of tantanmen

It is very easy to make this ramen vegetarian or plant based. You will need to substitute the chicken bouillon cube with vegetable stock cube. As for the pork, substitute it with a bloc of firm tofu and few dried shiitake you’d rehydrate in advance. You can also use some fresh king oyster mushrooms. Squeeze the excess water from the tofu using a clean kitchen cloth and mince the mushrooms. Like with the pork, stir them together with the aromatics in the wok – see the steps below

My step by step to make my delicious tantanmen

My recipe takes less than an hour to make. The cooking process is relatively fast if you follow my step by step for the mise en place:

  1. First bring a large pot of water to a boil as well as a smaller pot with a tablespoon of vinegar – we will be cooking the eggs in the small pan
  2. In the meantime, mince the garlic and the green onions by separating the white from the green part, microplane the ginger, and in a bowl mix the miso paste with the soy sauce/sake/chili oil
  3. Then prepare the tahini sauce (exact quantities in the recipe below) and divide it into four ramen bowls
  4. Dissolve the chicken bouillon cube in the water and the soy milk by bring the pot to a boil. Then turn off the heat
  5. Wash the mung bean sprouts and/or the bok choy, get the ground pork ready next to the wok as well as the vegetable oil

Now that the mise en place is done, add the eggs to the boiling water and cook for 7 minutes. Set the alarm so they don’t overcook. While the eggs are boiling, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat and add the ground pork. Stir until most of the moist evaporates. Then add the garlic, ginger, and white part of the scallions. Stir until fragrant. Finally add the miso mix and stir to coat the pork well. Set aside.

Japanese ramen tantanmen - my easy recipe
The Nikumiso is so flavourful!

When the pork is being cooked, add the ramen noodles into the large pot with the boiling water and cook according to the package instructions. Drain well using a sieve but don’t throw away the cooking water! We will use it to blanche the bok choy for about a minute then the bean sprouts for 30 seconds.

How to dress the tantanmen bowls

Add a quarter of broth in each ramen bowl containing the tahini mixture and gently whisk to dissolve the sesame paste

Add the ramen noodles and use the chopsticks to lightly fluff them up so they are well coated with the broth

Place the toppings of your choice and enjoy immediately

Japanese ramen tantanmen - my easy recipe
You can add any toppings of your choice, so versatile!

Whether you like it with meat or entirely plant-based, this ramen recipe is a must try! Don’t get afraid by the length of my recipe, it is much easier to make than you think! Don’t forget to tag me on my social media to let me know how your attempt turned out!

Tantanmen – my quick and easy ramen recipe

Recipe by LuCourse: MainCuisine: JapaneseDifficulty: Easy
Servings

4

servings
Prep time

30

minutes
Cooking time

15

minutes

Tantanmen is a type of Japanese ramen that originated from China. Don’t get afraid by the length of my recipe, it is much easier to make than you think! Give it a try and a whole new world of ramen will open to you

Ingredients

  • For the sesame sauce
  • 4 TBSP tahini paste

  • 2 TBSP soy sauce or soyu tare

  • 1 TBSP black rice vinegar

  • 1 TBSP chili oil – optional

  • For the broth
  • 500 ml water

  • 500 ml unsweetened soy milk

  • 1 chicken bouillon cube

  • For the pork
  • 250 g ground pork

  • 2 TBSP miso paste

  • 2 TBSP soy sauce

  • 2 TBSP sake

  • 1 TBSP chili oil – optional

  • 2 cloves of garlic

  • 1 thumb of fresh ginger

  • White part of 2 scallions

  • 2 TBSP neutral vegetable oil

  • For the tantanmen bowl
  • 250 g dried ramen noodles – if using fresh count 110 g per serving

  • 2 eggs – or 4 if using an entire egg per bowl

  • 4 bok choy or a bunch of spinach

  • 4 handfuls of mung bean sprouts

  • Chinese pickled mustard leaves Zhacai – optional

  • 1 TBSP white vinegar

  • Green part of 2 scallions

Directions

  • For the sesame sauce
  • Whisk everything together in a bowl
  • Equally divide the mixture into four ramen bowls
  • For the broth
  • Combine the water and the soymilk in the saucepan and add the bouillon cube
  • Bring to a boil then whisk to dissolve the cube
  • Set aside until dividing into the four bowls
  • For the pork
  • Mince the garlic, finely chop the white part of the scallions, and peel and grate the ginger. Set them aside in a small bowl
  • Mix the mis paste with the sake and soy sauce
  • Heat the vegetable oil in a wok and add the pork, constantly stir until the liquid has evaporated
  • Add the aromatics and cook for another few minutes until fragrant
  • Then add the miso mixture and combine well. When the pork is well coated with the sauce, turn off the heat and set aside
  • For the tantanmen bowl
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil to cook the noodles according to the package instructions. Drain well without discarding the water
  • In the meantime, bring a smaller pan of water with the vinegar to a boil. Gently add the eggs and cook for 7 minutes. Take them out and soak into a bowl of iced water to cool before peeling
  • Quarter lengthwise the bok choy stems then peel them upwards then wash under cold water. Wash the bean sprouts as well
  • Blanche the bok choy in the ramen water for a minute and the sprouts for about 30 seconds then drain well
  • If you have Chinese preserved mustard leaves (zhacai), finely chop some to add into the ramen
  • Dress the ramen bowls by first pouring the broth onto the sesame sauce and gently whisk to dissolve the tahini
  • Finally, add the noodles then the pork, the bok choy and sprouts, the soft-boiled egg, and green onion. Serve immediately

Notes

  • The mise en place is key here, prep all the ingredients not to feel overwhelmed by the amount of ingredients
  • Make it vegetarian or plant-based, check the post for substitutions

2 Comments

  1. themorningdew1

    I have to make this ASAP

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