Spicy Japanese Tan Tan Ramen

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We partnered with Myojo U.S.A. to bring you this Tan Tan Ramen recipe. As always on The Woks of Life, all opinions are our own. Enjoy!

Tan Tan Ramen is a spicy, incredibly tasty Japanese ramen noodle soup. It also happens to be based on a Chinese recipe. 

Yep, Japanese “tantanmen” is actually based on Chinese “Dan Dan Mian,” or Dan Dan Noodles, a spicy Sichuan dish of noodles, stir-fried ground pork, and blanched greens.

We’ll get into the similarities and differences between these two delicious bowls of noodles below, but suffice it to say, this tantan ramen recipe is extremely tasty while also being surprisingly easy to make. 

I blogged this warming bowl of noodles a couple weeks ago. Kaitlin came over for a bowl, and as she pulled out a stool at my kitchen counter and dug in, she remarked that she felt like she was eating a bowl of ramen out at a restaurant! High praise for this delicious recipe. 

Bowl of Tan Tan Ramen

What Is Tan Tan Ramen? 

Tan Tan Ramen is a type of Japanese ramen noodle soup. Rather than a creamy pork-based or chicken-based broth seasoned just with salt (shio ramen), soy sauce (shoyu ramen), or miso, however, Tan Tan Ramen also includes sesame paste. 

You mix together a “tare” (pronounced “tah-reh”), or sauce base, which is then mixed with stock and unsweetened soy milk (I used unsweetened oat milk, which works equally well), to create a creamy soup.

A spicy ground pork mixture gets stir-fried with Sichuan spicy bean sauce, or doubanjiang (sometimes spelled “toban djan”) for topping, along with greens. 

Tan Tan Ramen vs. Dan Dan Noodles

Tan Tan Ramen is quite similar to the original Chinese Dan Dan Noodles in that both dishes are spicy and include toasted sesame paste, ground pork, blanched greens, and noodles. 

The key difference is that Dan Dan Noodles is a drier dish, involving a sauce rather than a soup broth. 

Dan Dan Noodles, by thewoksoflife.com

In our experience, Dan Dan Noodles has a more complex flavor as well, with the addition of Sichuan peppercorns, sui mi ya cai (pickled vegetables), and raw garlic. 

The advantage of making either of these dishes yourself at home is that you can cater the spice level to your liking! 

What Type of Ramen Noodles to Use 

While the broth is key to any bowl of ramen, the type of noodles you use is equally important. 

Featured in this post are the wavy medium-thick noodles from Myojo U.S.A., which are excellent. They had the perfect bouncy chew, and held up in the soup very well—not getting soggy like some noodles do! 

Wavy Thick Ramen Noodles from Myojo USA

Originally founded in Japan in 1950 as Myojo, the company began as an instant noodle company. Myojo USA was then founded in Chino, California in 1991.

The company makes excellent fresh ramen, udon, and yakisoba noodles, selling them wholesale to ramen restaurants. For consumers, they also make premium fresh ramen, udon, and yakisoba kits with soup bases and sauces included.

They were kind enough to send us several of their wholesale products to try, and we have loved cooking with them, including this tan tan ramen recipe. 

Wavy medium thick ramen noodles

I chose the wavy medium-thick noodles, because they’re one of my favorites, and also because I think they can stand up to the thick, rich soup base. 

When making this dish, be sure to get your hands on some high quality fresh ramen noodles like those from Myojo. 

While we were using their wholesale wavy noodles, the closest equivalent available in stores is their Myojo Premium Seafood Tonkotsu Ramen. If you’re looking for this particular wholesale noodle, you can inquire on the Wavy Hiramen page of their website.

Tan Tan Ramen with Myojo Noodles

Tan Tan Ramen: Recipe Instructions

Combine the ground pork with the mirin and minced ginger. Set aside for 15 minutes to marinate.

marinating ground pork

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, sesame paste, rice vinegar, sugar, and chili oil until smooth. Set aside. 

Mixing tare sauce base for tantanmen

Combine the chicken stock and oat milk in a pot, and bring to a simmer. Cover to keep warm. (Also bring a large pot of water to a boil for the leafy greens and the noodles.) 

Stock and oat milk in pot

Heat a wok over medium high heat until it begins to smoke. Add 1 tablespoon of oil and the pork. Brown the pork until the bits of ground meat are crispy.

Browning ground pork in wok

Add the spicy bean sauce and minced garlic

Adding spicy bean sauce and garlic to ground pork

Cook for another minute.

Ground pork mixture for tan tan ramen

Turn off the heat and set aside. 

Ground pork mixture for tan tan ramen

To the pot of boiling water, add the green vegetables and blanch for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Remove from the water, drain, and set aside.

I used spinach here, but baby bok choy is also common. You could also use choy sum/yu choy.

Blanched spinach in colander

Bring the water to a rolling boil again, and add the noodles.

Adding ramen noodles to pot of boiling water

Cook them according to package directions until they’re just cooked through and still chewy. 

Cooked wavy ramen noodles

Add half of the sesame paste mixture to each bowl…

Tan Tan Tare Mixture in Soup Bowl

…followed by the hot simmering stock/milk mixture. Stir to combine.

Soup base for Tan Tan Ramen

Divide the cooked noodles between the two bowls, and top with the cooked pork, blanched veggies, and chopped scallions.

Tan Tan Ramen

If you like yours extra spicy, you can add a bit more chili oil on top. 

Tan Tan Ramen

Tan Tan Ramen

Tan Tan Ramen is a spicy, incredibly tasty Japanese ramen noodle soup, based on Chinese Dan Dan Noodles. It’s also surprisingly easy to make!

Tan Tan Ramen Bowl

serves: 2

Ingredients

For the noodles & toppings:

Instructions

  • Combine the ground pork with the mirin and minced ginger. Set aside for 15 minutes to marinate.

  • Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, make the tare for the soup base. Whisk together the soy sauce, sesame paste, rice vinegar, sugar, and chili oil until smooth. Set aside.

  • Combine the chicken stock and oat milk in a pot, and bring to a simmer. Cover to keep warm. Also bring a large pot of water to a boil for the leafy greens and the noodles.

  • Heat a wok over medium high heat until it begins to smoke. Add 1 tablespoon of oil and the pork. Brown the pork until the bits of ground meat are crispy. Add the spicy bean sauce and minced garlic, and cook for another minute. Turn off the heat and set aside.

  • To the pot of boiling water, add the green vegetables and blanch for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Remove from the water, drain, and set aside. Bring the water to a rolling boil again, and add the noodles, cooking them according to package directions until they’re just cooked through and still chewy.

  • Add half of the sesame paste mixture to each bowl, followed by the hot simmering stock/milk mixture. Stir to combine. Divide the cooked noodles between the two bowls, and top with the cooked pork, blanched veggies, and chopped scallions. If you like yours extra spicy, you can add a bit more chili oil on top.

nutrition facts

Calories: 931kcal (47%) Carbohydrates: 57g (19%) Protein: 43g (86%) Fat: 61g (94%) Saturated Fat: 22g (110%) Cholesterol: 82mg (27%) Sodium: 939mg (39%) Potassium: 1330mg (38%) Fiber: 5g (20%) Sugar: 7g (8%) Vitamin A: 4867IU (97%) Vitamin C: 18mg (22%) Calcium: 426mg (43%) Iron: 8mg (44%)





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