Intense slow-cooker chicken ramen (tantanmen)

Learn how to make intense flavorful chicken ramen in your crockpot or slow-cooker. Fatty, rich and lip-smacking delicious! The recipe is inspired by the classic Tantanmen ramen.

This soup is extra chickeny with not only shredded chicken but also crispy chicken skin! Every spoonful of soup will taste different thanks to spring onion, shiitake mushrooms, carrot, and corn.

Extra rich taste and lip-smacking luscious

Good ramen should make your lips stick together from the richness of the broth. To make this happen you use the slow cooker to get extra richness and flavor out from the chicken. Charred vegetables and dashi give the soup more depth.

Collagen and gelatin are what makes your lips stick together. The longer you cook chicken skin and bones, the more collagen and gelatin you extract from it. That’s why a slow-cooker is just perfect for making a super-rich and sticky ramen broth.

The soup gets extra richness from charred vegetables. The burnt black bits give the broth more depth and flavor. Usually, we are afraid of things turning black in our pans, but this time it’s exactly what you want. I saw this trick in a ramen restaurant in Japan.

For even more depth I use Dashi no moto (Japanese powdered fish bouillon) and miso paste. You find both in literally every Asian supermarket. Worst case scenario: Use a cube of chicken stock.

Inspired by food smells

The inspiration for this recipe came from the delicious smell of ramen. My girlfriend lives on top of a ramen restaurant in Utrecht. If you look out of the window you see crates of leek and smell ramen. They make their stock from scratch several times a week. The smell made me crave ramen but I wanted to put my own twist on it.

Many people refer to Tantanmen ramen as the Japanse take on the Chinese Dan Dan noodles. It’s all about spicy noodles with a nutty flavor.

Traditionally you would use pork in Tantanmen ramen. Pork can be quite heavy and chicken offers a slightly lighter but equally rich experience. If you feel porky, you can also use pork for the stock as well.

For the nutty flavor in the soup, I use peanut butter because I always have it at home. For a more authentic taste, use Chinese roasted sesame paste. Tahini – raw sesame paste – is not the best substitute.

Photo of the dish slow cooker chicken ramen
Flavorful rich chicken ramen simmered for 8 hours in the slow cooker

Main dish for 4 people

Ingredients for slow-cooker chicken ramen

  • For the slow-cooker stock:
  • 1 leek
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 25g ginger
  • 1 chicken leg quarter, skin on, bone-in (about 375g)
  • 1 tablespoon smooth peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon miso paste (Asian supermarket)
  • 1 tablespoon dashi no moto (Asian supermarket)
  • For the toppings
  • 4 portions ramen noodles
  • 4 spring onions
  • 3 cups of shiitake (about 250g)
  • 2 carrots
  • 4 tablespoons corn
  • 4 teaspoons sesame oil
  • Or everything else you would like to put on ramen… (soft-boiled egg, tofu, …)

How to make slow-cooker chicken stock

Cut the leek into 10cm pieces, slice the carrot, and dice the garlic. Put a skillet on high heat, add the 3 vegetables and slightly char them on all sides. You want them to be slightly burnt.

Slice the ginger -no need to peel it. Put the vegetables, ginger, and chicken into the slow-cooker. Dissolve the peanut butter in 1/2 cup of hot water. Add the dissolved peanut butter, miso and dashi to the slow-cooker. Add 1.2 liters of water, cover, and simmer on low heat for 8 hours.

Strain the soup and discard the vegetables. Take the skin off the chicken and reserve it for later. Shred the chicken with two forks into bite-size pieces.

Finishing up the ramen with toppings

For the crispy chicken skin: Preheat your oven to 200°c. Convection fan setting works best for crispy chicken skin. Place the chicken skin on some baking paper and roast in the oven for 10 minutes.

Cook the ramen noodles: Cook the ramen noodles according to the instructions on the package. Drain afterward.

Meanwhile, slice the spring onions and the shiitake mushrooms. Cut the carrots into thin julienne strips.

Divide the noodles among 4 big bowls. Pour over the hot stock. Garnish with spring onion, shiitake, carrot, corn, and shredded chicken. Drizzle over sesame oil and divide the fried chicken skin amongst the bowls.

Serve immediately and enjoy!

Comments are always welcome! Are you team chicken ramen or team pork ramen? We want to know it all! Leave a comment and make the world a more delicious place

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