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Tan Tan Noodles

This dish works perfectly on a cold winter's day. It does a great job warming up from the inside. Spicy, rich, sweet and salty, the many layers of flavors goes perfectly with a simple boiled egg and some blanched greens. This recipe yields about 6 bowls of noodle soup. If time is a limiting factor, feel free to substitute with dry garlic, onion and ginger powders.  I recently updated this recipe using soybean paste instead of hot bean paste, since it would be easier to adjust the heat according to taste.  I use homemade Sichuan Chili Oil to add heat, both while cooking and in the bowl.



  • 1 inch ginger - chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic - chopped
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 hot chilli (chopped, optional)
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 tbsp sesame seed oil
  • 3 tbsp Asian soy bean paste
  • 1 tbsp Asian sesame paste
  • 1/2-2 tbsp Hot Chili Paste (adjust according to taste, I used Sichuan Hot Chili Oil)
  • 1 ½ to 2 lbs ground pork
  • 1 tsp brown sugar

Other Ingredients

  • 4 boiled egg
  • 3 stalks green onion, finely chopped
  • 1-2 tofu squares(medium firmness, diced)
  • 1 cucumber (cut into thin long strips)
  • ½ cup Cilantro - chopped
  • 2lbs (wet weight) ramen noodles (or any of your favorite noodles)


  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • ¼ medium onion, chopped
  • 4 tbsp Asian sesame paste
  • 5 tbsp soy bean paste
  • 1/2-3 tbsp Hot Chili Paste (adjust according to taste, I used Sichuan Hot Chili Oil)
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 4 tbsp Low sodium soy sauce (adjust according to taste)



  1. Using a pot that can be used for the soup, stir fry chopped onions, garlic, ginger and hot chilli pepper in cooking and sesame oil until fragrant.
  2. Add ground meat and stir fry until cooked through and lightly browned. May need to add some water to the meat to prevent burning.
  3. Turning heat down, add chili paste, soybean and sesame pastes.
  4. Fry until all liquid evaporates and all pastes well mixed with meat and fragrant.
  5. Add 1 tsp brown sugar and allow any water added to evaporate. Add some green onions to stir if preferred
  6. Remove meat from heat and set aside, leaving about 1-2 tablespoonfuls in the pot for the soup.


  1. Add chopped onion and garlic set aside for the soup, to the cooked ground meat. You may need to add some oil to prevent burning.
  2. Add Asian sesame paste, soybean paste and chili paste/chili oil to pan. Add brown sugar.
  3. Add about a cup of chicken broth to pan to remove any browned bits stuck to bottom of the pan.
  4. Add the remainder of chicken broth and beef broth.
  5. Feel free to add diced tofu here if using tofu.
  6. Once soup is boiled, add soy sauce to taste.
  7. Taste soup at this point, feel free to adjust with sugar, salt, garlic or onion powders here if preferred.
  8. Serve with any of your favorite noodles cooked according to package.
  9. Garnish with boiled eggs, prepared ground meat, green onions, cilantro or your favorite green veggies.


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