Easy black sesame tantanmen with scorched garlic oil is the perfect weeknight meal for the colder season. Rich with bold flavours, this vegan ramen is incredibly delicious and satisfying.

Aside from curry, I’ve been craving nothing but noodle soups and ramen. Specifically, tantanmen. I ran out of white sesame paste and decided to swap it out for black sesame since I’ve seen it done at my favourite vegan ramen spot in Japan: T’s tantan!

What is tantanmen?

Tantanmen is the Japanese version of Dan Dan noodles. The main difference is that Dan dan noodles have no broth or soup but tantanmen does, much like ramen.

How to Make Vegan Tantanmen

The Ingredients Explained (+ Substitutions)

Theres a lot that goes into this but thats what makes a really delicious vegan ramen- it’s all about layering flavours. However, there are a couple of key ingredients that I wanted to highlight:

  • Vegan grounds: I used meatless grounds for the mince but you can also use tofu like I did for my white sesame tantanmen.
  • Doubanjiang (chili bean paste): You can find non-spicy ones at asian grocery stores if you prefer it more mild.
  • Miso paste: or Tianmianjiang which is a sweet bean paste to contrast the doubanjiang.
  • Sesame oil: For flavour.
  • Rayu (Japanese chili oil): both in the broth and drizzled as a final touch
  • Mayu (Scorched garlic oil): deepens and gives the broth another layer of flavour
  • Black sesame paste: You can find black sesame paste on amazon or next to asian white sesame paste in grocery stores.
  • Soy milk: be sure to use non-sweetened and fresh if you can get your hands on some!
  • Ramen noodles: I used dry ramen noodles for this recipe but you can also use fresh like I did for my white sesame ramen.

The Directions (Step-by-Step)

Despite the extensive list of ingredients, making the actual tantanmen is super easy! Let’s break it down:

  1. Garnishes: Prepare the garnishes and toppings first so your noodles don’t get soggy later on. Parboil the bokchoy and mung bean sprouts (I do this while the soup is heating to save time but you can do it in advance). Slice the scallions, grind the sesame seeds and peanuts and set aside.
  2. Soup: Dissolve the black sesame paste into the soy milk with a whisk. Then add in the water and bouillon and whisk until dissolved. Once the broth starts to heat up, add in the soy sauce, rice vinegar, ra-yu, sugar, salt and pepper. Leave the broth on very low heat to keep it warm.
  3. Spicy Vegan Mince: Cook the garlic and ginger with the vegan grounds. Add in all the flavourings and cook until you get a bit of browning on the grounds. Then set aside.
  4. Noodles: Boil a pot of water and cook following instructions on the back.
  5. Assemble: Add the noodles to a bowl and pour broth over. Then add the mince, 1-2 segments of bokchoy, mung bean sprouts and scallions. Garnish with sesame seeds, peanuts, ra-yu and ma-yu.

My top 2 tips for making really good ramen:

  1. Perfect ramen noodles: I like to ever so slightly under-cook my ramen (about 20 seconds under) because it continues to cook in the broth and it prevents it from getting soggy too quickly.
  2. Timing: related to the above, the last thing you should cook is the ramen noodles. Have everything prepped and once you get the hang of having two things cooking at once, you can easily make tantanmen in under 15 minutes!

If you recreate this Black Sesame Tantanmen recipe let me know how you liked it by leaving a comment and rating below or by tagging me on Instagram @Okonomikitchen, I love seeing all of your tasty recreations!
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Black Sesame Tantanmen

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5 from 4 reviews

  • Author: Lisa Kitahara
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 2 servings 1x


Easy black sesame tantanmen with scorched garlic oil is the perfect weeknight meal for the colder season. Rich with bold flavours, this vegan ramen is incredibly delicious and satisfying.


Units Scale

Vegan mince:

  • 1 piece garlic (5g)
  • 1 piece ginger (8g)
  • 6 oz vegan grounds (168g)*
  • 1 tbsp sake (15g)
  • 2 tsp soy sauce, optional (10ml)
  • 1 tsp sugar (4g)
  • 1 tsp doubanjiang (5g)
  • 1 tbsp miso paste (17g)
  • 2 tsp sesame oil (10ml)


  • 2/3 cup soy milk (160ml)
  • 2 tbsp black sesame paste (32g)
  • 1 1/2 cup water (360ml)
  • 2 tsp vegan ‘chicken’ bouillon (10g)
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce (15ml)
  • 2 tsp rice vinegar (10ml)
  • 1 tbsp ra-yu (15ml)
  • 1 tsp sugar (5g)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper


  • 2 servings ramen noodles
  • 1/2 cup bean sprouts (80g)
  • 1 bok choy, quartered (90g)
  • 2 scallions, sliced (26g)
  • 2 tbsp black garlic oil (32g)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp black sesame seeds, grinded (12g)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp peanuts, chopped or grinded (10g)


  1. Vegetables & garnishes: Bring a pot of water to a boil for bok choy. Once boiling, add the bok choy and parboil for 1-2 minutes or until vibrant green. Remove the bok choy and rinse with cold water. While the water is still boiling, add the mung bean sprouts and cook for 20-30 seconds. Strain, rinse in cold water and set aside. While this is going, slice the scallions and grind the sesame seeds and peanuts.
  2. Soup: Add soy milk and black sesame paste to a pot. Use a whisk to dissolve the paste. Turn on the heat to medium, then add in the water and bouillon, whisking until dissolved. Once broth starts to bubble, reduce heat to low. Stir in the soy sauce, rice vinegar, ra-yu, sugar, pepper and salt. Taste and adjust seasoning by adding more salt or pepper. Leave on the stove over very low heat to keep it warm. Add water to a pot for the noodles and bring to a boil. 
  3. Vegan mince: Add garlic and ginger to a pan over medium heat and fry for 30-60 seconds. Add in the vegan grounds and use a wooden spoon to break up the grounds. Add sake, soy sauce and sugar and mix. Then add the doubanjiang and miso paste and fry until well combined. Then drizzle in the sesame oil to finish cooking. Set aside.
  4. Noodles: Once water is boiling, cook the noodles following manufacturer’s directions (minus 20 seconds). Strain and add to serving bowl. 
  5. Assemble: Pour soup on top of the noodles. Add the vegan grounds on top along with bok choy and mung bean sprouts. Garnish with sesame seeds, peanuts, scallions, scorched garlic oil and chili oil. Serve immediently and enjoy!


  • Helpful Equipment
  • Nutritional Information Disclaimer: Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated on an online tool (Cronometer). 
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: entree
  • Method: stove top
  • Cuisine: vegan, japanese


  • Serving Size: 1 serving


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About Lisa

I'm Lisa, a home cook, recipe developer and founder of Okonomi Kitchen. Here, you'll find a mix of classic and modernized Japanese recipes, and creative, plant-forward meal inspiration using seasonal ingredients. I hope to share more about Japanese cuisine and culture through food and recipes.

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  1. I had to use vegetable bouillon as can’t find any vegan chicken bouillon in Scotland 🙁 and I had to use a different chilli oil, but this was another tasty dinner. 🙂 x

  2. okay so not gonna lie this was kind of a bit of work! but i was a dummy and didn’t prep the mayu BUT ALL THAT PREP WAS WORTH IT! holy crap this is amazing! i’ve tried a LOT of different ramen recipes and they all didn’t hit as hard but this was out of this world tbh.
    easy to follow and customizable. really delicous!

  3. I once had this dish at a vegetarian restaurant in Tokyo station. I can’t get it off my mind; it was so good! How necessary is the mince though? I remember loving the soup and broth, and I don’t remember much about the mince. I’m a bit lazy you see, and I would like to skip the mince step.

    Can’t wait to try out this recipe! Thank you!

  4. I have been living in Japan as a vegetarian for 4 years now and there are only a few dishes from the cuisine that appeals to me. Ramen is one and I always went to a vegan restaurant to eat it. After 4 years, thanks to Lisa, I made it at home and I am never returning to a restaurant for Ramen. I am looking forward to trying her other recipes like the curry (thanks to Ichibanya for making me crave for it) and melon pan of course which I never got to taste as it has eggs but the smell is always inviting.
    Keep up the good work Lisa and thanks for helping us out 🙂

  5. This was amazing!! If I don’t make the ramen all the time, I will definitely make the mince part for other kinds of meals! Everything was so delicious

  6. This was such an amazing dish! I had to make a few substitutions, but all the tips and tricks and the instructions were easy to follow. I will definitely be making this again and again! 🤩