We learned this speedy, simple version of the classic Tantan Men from our friend Yuri Migaki, who makes miso with her husband Earnest under the brand Jorinji Miso. Tantan men, dan dan noodles, all are a variation on a simple and delicious foundation: pork and sesame. Often these dishes are spicy from chile or tingly from Sichuan peppercorn. Somewhere between a soup and a saucy noodle, this version is super easy to whip up and very satisfying, hitting all kinds of rich and deep notes. It feels very much like classic Japanese home cooking. The dried shiitakes are an especially nice addition. We recommend hitting it with a heavy dose of chile oil and green onions, but other herbs would be awesome as well as blanched or sauteed greens like kale and mustards.
Active time: 25 minutes | Easy | 3 servings
2 dried shiitakes
1/3 large leek
1 clove garlic
1" knob ginger
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1/4 pound ground pork
2 cups water (which includes the water used to rehydrate the shiitake)
2 tablespoons toasted tahini
3 tablespoons miso
1 package (12 ounces) Umi Organic ramen noodles
2 tablespoons green onion
Chile oil to taste
Optional: Toasted sesame seeds, blanched or sauteed greens, extra herbs
Pour 1/2 cup boiling water of dried shiitakes. Let sit 2 to 5 minutes. Drain the shiitake, reserving the water for later.
If using a food processor: chop shiitake, leek, garlic, and ginger together until minced. Alternately, you can mince the shiitake, leek, garlic, and ginger by hand and save yourself a few dishes.
In a large fry pan over medium heat, add sesame oil. Stir fry the chopped shiitake, leeks, garlic and ginger until the leeks become semi-translucent. Add the pork and stir fry until it begins to turn golden. Turn off the heat and add the water, tahini and miso.
Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil. Add noodles to water and boil 2 minutes, stirring often. Drain and shake out excess water. Bring the pork-sesame mixture back up to a simmer. Add noodles to pork-sesame mixture and toss well to combine. Divide noodles between bowls. Top with green onion. Let eaters add chile oil to taste.
Photo by Shawn Linehan.