Tantanmen (Spicy Sesame Ramen)


When I used to work in a Japanese restaurant, this noodle soup was one of the more popular ones. Apparently, a lot of Japanese love spicy ramen.  I don’t have a high tolerance for spicy food so I never really prepared it. But since my husband loves spicy food, I try to fix something to make him happy. He does go on a diet with me anyway, so it’s just right to let him have something he likes.

TanTanMen is a Japanese version of the Sichuan DanDan Mian. DanDan Mian is served with preserved vegetable but the Japanese version that I have seen is just ground meat.

This dish is one of the simple ones I have fixed.  I have cooked some that are very labor intensive and has a lot of ingredients ( I have built my Japanese pantry so the ingredients are a kitchen staple for me).  Since I am cooking for just two people, sometimes it’s not worth the trouble.

What makes this dish delicious is browning the meat and the addition of ground sesame seeds.

Just a warning though, since this dish is spicy, you might need an extra glass of beverage and tissue.  It will make your nose run (sorry for giving too much information).



1 tsp chili oil

1 large clove of garlic, grated

1 tbsp ginger, grated

1 tbsp chili paste (Korean GoChuJang)

1/2 lb lean ground pork

5 cups unsalted stock

1 tbsp ground sesame seeds

1 tbsp sweet miso (substitute with regular miso plus mirin or sugar)

1 tbsp rice vinegar

1 tbsp sesame oil

chopped green onions for garnish

2 packs fresh egg noodles


In a pot on medium high, heat the chili oil. Add ginger and cook until slightly brown.  Add garlic and chili paste. Cook until fragrant.

Add pork and cook until brown.  Set aside 2 spoonfuls of cooked meat for topping later.

Add the chicken stock, ground sesame seeds and sweet miso paste and vinegar. Bring to a boil then turn down the heat to medium low.

In a separate pot, cook ramen noodles according to the packet instructions. Remember to undercook the noodles since it will continue cooking after it is mixed with the broth.

Transfer noodles to separate bowls.  Pour the broth over the noodles and top it with the reserved browned meat and garnish with chopped green onions. 


4 thoughts on “Tantanmen (Spicy Sesame Ramen)

  1. Ohh, I miss my tantanmen! I have been living in UK for 20 years and never be able to find any fiery ramen like than in London. The Brits are not good at handling spicy food (including my husband). I shall definitely add tantanmen on a ‘must eat list’ for my trip to Japan post Xmas. Thank you for reminding me (^-^)

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