This bowl of ramen are noodles in a rich and flavourful soup topped with umami minced ‘pork’, bok choy, and green onions! This bowl of Vegan Tantanmen is super comforting and satisfying.
Check out the recipe video below on how to make this tantanmen!
Here’s a bowl of the vegan ramen I recently made! I love to have a bowl of ramen on cold, rainy days. It’s so comforting and satisfying. This recipe is one of my go-to’s and I love making it for those cold, rainy days.
WHAT IS TANTANMEN?
Tantanmen is a Japanese take on Chinese Sichuan Dan Dan Noodles. I can say it’s a ramen version of Dan Dan Noodles or 担担面 (Dan Dan Mian). The name ‘Tantan’ itself is very similar to Sichuan Dan Dan. Like Dan Dan Noodles, Tantan men gets its rich base from the use of Asian sesame paste. Tantanmen also has that nice kick of spice you’d get from Sichuan peppercorns in Dan Dan noodles.
THE RAMEN SOUP BASE
The soup base gets its creaminess and richness from the soy or plant-based milk. I high recommend using a creamy plant-based milk option such as soy or oat milk. I find that almond milk is often a little too watery.
Sesame Paste: ASIAN SESAME PASTE VS. TAHINI
There’s also the sesame paste used for this soup base. I tried this with both tahini and Chinese sesame paste, and both turn out well BUT Chinese or Asian sesame paste is much more fragrant because its made with roasted sesame seeds, unlike tahini that is made with raw sesame seeds.
Chinese sesame paste, as you can see below, also has a rich brown colour.
Overall the soup base is so easy to put together, really silky, and full of flavour from the nut butter, too! This was inspired by my favourite Tantanmen I always have at a local vegan ramen place.
THE RAMEN NOODLES
The best type of noodles to use are fresh ramen noodles or those yellow noodles called chuka noodles (same as what’s used for yakisoba!)
I also like to use instant ramen noodles (that don’t come with sauce packets) for this recipe, but you can of course use fresh ramen noodles or other noodles of choice!
It’s also important to undercook the noodles since they’ll continue to cook when you add in the soup afterwards.
WHAT TO TOP YOUR TANTANMEN WITH
This other bowl of tantanmen I made I topped with some sautéed shimeji mushrooms and more rayu, to finish!
I hope you enjoy your cozy bowl of ramen.
You can find the full recipe for this tantanmen down below!
MORE RAMEN AND NOODLE RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE:
- Mie Goreng (Indonesian Fried Noodles)
- Shoyu Ramen
- One-Pot Spicy Miso Ramen
- Thai Drunken Noodles (Pad Kee Mao)
- Chili Garlic and Black Bean Eggplant Noodles
- Easy Sweet, Spicy, and Saucy Noodles
- Stir-Fried Tofu and Basil Noodles
- Yaki Udon
- Chinese-Style Bolognese
- Ginger and Scallion Noodles
- Chili Garlic Oil Noodles
Are you looking for more delicious, vegan recipes?
You can get a copy of my upcoming cookbook, Vegan Asian!
Vegan Tantanmen (Ramen Recipe)
Noodles and Toppings
- 2 servings bundles dry ramen noodles or instant ramen bricks
- A few pieces of bokchoy or other vegetables
- Sautéed mushrooms optional
- 2 green onions makes 1/2 cup sliced
- 2 cloves cloves garlic minced
- ½ tsp szechuan peppercorns optional but highly recommended
- 2 tbsp Asian sesame paste or tahini (see notes)
- 1 tbsp peanut butter
- 1 tbsp layu (japanese chili oil) or toasted sesame oil japanese chili oil or toasted sesame oil, divided into 2
- 1 tsp sriracha or other chili sauce
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 cups water or vegetable broth* see notes
- 1 cup soy milk or other plant-based milk like oat
- 1 vegetable cube if using water
- 1/4 to 1/2 tsp salt to taste
- See video below for a complete step-by-step.
- Press the block of tofu to drain out excess liquid. I like to do this by wrapping the tofu in a paper towel and placing a heavy plate on top. Leave to sit for at least 10 minutes. Afterwards, crumble the tofu with your hands until it resembles minced meat.
- Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add the sesame oil. Once hot, sauté the garlic and ginger for 3 to 4 minutes or until the garlic is lightly brown. Add in the crumbled tofu. Season with soy sauce and chili sauce. Mix the tofu well and cook over medium high heat.
- Leave the tofu to crisp on one side, for around 3 to 4 minutes, before moving around. Leave the tofu to cook for 5 to 6 minutes, moving them around every 2 minutes, to evenly brown on all sides.
- The tofu will slowly start to resemble minced meat as it cooks and the water evaporates. Add dark soy sauce, if using, to add to the colour.
- Mix well and then leave to cook for another 3 to 4 minutes until golden brown throughout. Set the crumbled tofu aside.
Noodles and Toppings
- Heat a large pot and add in water. Turn up heat to high until the water boils. Once it comes to a boil, lower heat to medium.
- Add in the instant ramen noodles or other noodles of choice. Leave to cook until they’re half-cooked. You’ll want very chewy noodles here since they’ll continue cook once the soup is added.
- Remove the noodles from the water and run through some cold water. Drain well and set aside.
- In the same pot, blanch the bokchoy or other vegetables over medium high heat for 4 minutes or until slightly translucent.
- Turn off the heat and drain the vegetables from any excess water. Set aside. Remove the water fro the pot.
- Heat the same large pot used to cook the noodles to medium high heat. Add in half of the rayu or sesame oil. Once hot, add in the green onions and szechuan pepper corns, if using. Sauté over medium high heat for 3 to 4 minutes until the onions are cooked through.
- Lower the heat to medium. Add in the sesame paste, peanut butter, soy sauce, and sriracha. Mix until they’re well combined.
- While stirring, add in the soy milk and water or vegetable broth (plus the vegetable cube, if using water). Keep stirring over medium heat until the paste and peanut butter are diluted.
- Season with salt, to taste. Cover the pot and leave to cook over medium high heat for 5 to 6 minutes or until it comes to a boil. Add in the remaining rayu and mix well.
- Once it boils, lower the heat to medium. Taste the soup and feel free to adjust the seasonings based on desired taste. Mix well and then turn off heat. Cover the pot to prevent the soup from cooling too fast while you prepare the noodles and toppings.
Assembling the Ramen
- Prepare 2 large ramen bowls. Add in 1 portion of cooked noodles to each bowl.
- Add in half of the minced ‘pork’ over the noodles. Add in the blanched vegetables and mushrooms (if using) to each bowl.
- Pour half of the soup in each serving. Top with the chopped scallions and sesame seeds if using.
- Finish off with a generous drizzle of more rayu and sesame oil. Enjoy immediately while still hot!
- Tahini is made from raw sesame seeds while Chinese sesame paste is made from toasted sesame seeds. If you can find Chinese sesame paste from your local Asian store, that would yield even more fragrant results in your broth!