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Tahini Tantanmen Ramen with Crispy Shiitake

            Tahini Tantanmen Ramen with Crispy Shiitake - Clearspring

"This recipe is inspired by tantanmen ramen – a Japanese take on Sichuan dan dan noodles, with a broth made from soya milk and sesame – but it is by no means authentic. Typically this would have a proper stock as the base and be topped with minced (ground) pork, but I got attached to the idea of a ramen that could be knocked up quickly and that remained vegetarian/vegan. I also wanted to use udon noodles (again, untraditional), because I love their texture: big, fat, slippery, chewy – is there anything more satisfying?

This is a perfect lunch or dinner for two, in part because the mushrooms and leeks benefit from not being overcrowded when you cook them. It is best to use a Middle Eastern brand of tahini for this recipe."

Serves: 2 | Prep Time: 30 mins


For the broth:

To assemble:


  1. Cook the Udon noodles following the instructions on the pack.
  2. For the broth, bring the stock to the boil, add the shiitakes, ginger and kombu and simmer for 5 minutes, then turn off the heat and leave to steep.
  3. Meanwhile, set a large heavy-based frying pan (skillet) over a medium–high heat and allow to get hot – around 5 minutes. Remove the rehydrated shiitake mushrooms from the broth, remove the stems and thinly slice.
  4. Coat the pan with oil, increase the heat to high, then add the leek and all the mushrooms (including the rehydrated shiitake). Do not move them around much – they will take around 10 minutes to get golden and crispy in places. Add a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper about 5–10 minutes into cooking.
  5. Remove the ginger from the broth and discard, then add the soya milk, tamari, tahini and sesame oil. Bring to a simmer and allow to bubble for 3 minutes, then check the seasoning and add more tamari if desired. Add the udon noodles and take the pan off the heat, allowing them to warm through in the broth.
  6. To plate, use tongs to divide the noodles between two bowls, then ladle over the broth. Top each bowl with half of the crispy mushroom and leek mixture. Drizzle each bowl with half a tablespoon of the peanut chilli rayu and garnish with the spring onions.

Tip: When cooking mushrooms, there are three rules: 1. high heat; 2. refrain from moving them around too much; 3. only salt them in the last couple of minutes of cooking. This helps to ensure that they properly caramelise.


Alexina Anatole Profile Photo

Alexina Anatole

Alexina Anatole started her career on a trading floor in the City of London, but an obsession with food was always present. In the last year of her twenties, she decided - after years of watching the show - that she was finally ready to enter MasterChef. Weeks of competing resulted in her reaching the final of the 2021 season, coming runner-up to champion Thomas Rhodes. The competition led her to realise that she might actually have a talent for cooking but, more importantly, it helped her to better understand her philosophy around food and flavour. Having read English at Cambridge, she now finds herself becoming a food writer - and thus coming full circle.

Bitter by Alexina Anatole

Bitter by Alexina Anatole

Her much anticipated new cookbook, Bitter, is out now and available to order here: bit.ly/BitterCookbook

Twitter: twitter.com/anatolealexina
Instagram: instagram.com/alexinaanatole
Website: www.alexinaanatole.com

Photography by: Yuki Sugiura (recipe photo) and Danika Magdalena (Alexina's profile photo)