Does the summer heat have you dreaming of taking a dip? Then cook up a bowl of Tsukemen – cold ramen dipped into a bowl of flavorful soup!
Have you heard of Japanese Dipping Noodles? The dish is called Tsukemen, but I’m sure you will remember it by the action – Dipping! Tsukemen is either cold noodles served with a side of toppings and a bowl of hot dipping soup (or Hiyashi Tsukemen, which is cold noodles and cold dipping soup).
What Is The Difference Between Ramen And Tsukemen?
While ramen is served with noodles and everything else in one large bowl and enjoyed hot, Tsukemen is served with cold noodles separately from the sauce. This way the noodles stays cool without losing its firmness, and the soup stays hot enough for you to flavor and moisten the noodles. What a simple yet thoughtful idea! With the perfect balance of temperature and texture, it is no wonder tsukemen is a summer favorite noodle dish.
Dipping Ramen for the Summer
Just like ramen noodles, there are all sorts of tsukemen soup types and flavors. Today I’m going to share one that my family really enjoys – a soy sauce-vinegar based tsukemen that has a tangy kick. If you enjoy spicy food, this dish has a spicy chili bean paste (la doubanjiang) that you can freely add in as you like.
For a very flavorful tsukemen soup base, I used fatty pork belly, but you can substitute with ground pork or another meat/seafood. It’s tempting to drink the soup, but it is intentionally made to be too salty to drink. That’s because when you dip the cold ramen into the hot soup, the salty flavor is well balanced with the cold noodles and other toppings.
For toppings, I served Tsukemen with shrimp, eggs, narutomaki (fish cake), and nori. Feel free to add other ingredients too. Whatever you like to dip in the soup!
We use chukamen (fresh ramen noodles) that are springy and chewy for this Tsukemen dish. The cold noodles go well with hot soup and a variety of toppings. You simply pick up a few strands of ramen with your chopsticks, dip them into the soup, then slurp them up. Affectionally called the dipping ramen, tsukemen is a fun Japanese noodle dish for the summer!
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- 2 packages Chukamen (fresh ramen noodles, see Notes)
- ½ lb sliced pork belly
- ½ inch ginger
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 shiitake mushrooms
- ½ shimeji mushrooms
- 2 green onions/scallions
- 1 Tbsp sesame oil (roasted)
- 1 Tbsp Doubanjiang (spicy chili bean sauce/broad bean paste)
- 1 package katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes)
Gather all the ingredients.
- Cut the meat into 1 inch pieces. Mince the ginger and garlic. Discard the bottom of shimeji and shiitake mushrooms and slice shiitake mushrooms. Finely chop scallions. Remove the shell and devein shrimps.
- In a medium saucepan, heat sesame oil over medium high heat and add ginger and garlic when oil is hot.
- When fragrant, add (spicy) chili bean paste (Doubanjiang or La Doubanjiang) and stir constantly so it won’t burn.
- Add the meat and cook until no longer pink.
- Add the shiitake and shimeji mushrooms and cook until wilted.
- Add Menetsuyu and water and bring to a boil.
- Using fine seive, skim off the fat and scum if necessary.
- Lower the heat to medium low and add miso and soy sauce in the soup and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add the chopped green onions and rice vinegar. Turn off the heat and set aside.
- Prepare toppings. In a small saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add 1 Tbsp. sake and shrimp. Once the shrimp starts changing color, turn off the heat and cover to let the remaining heat cook the shrimp (so you won’t overcook the shrimp). Drain and set aside.
- When all the toppings are ready, bring a big pot of water to a boil and cook the noodles. Make sure to separate each noodles when you drop them into the boiling water. Cook according to the package instructions, but keep the noodles al dente. Drain the water and rinse the noodles to remove starch. Soak the noodles into a bowl of ice water to cool. Drain completely and divide the noodles on plates/bowls. Serve all the toppings on the noodles or on a separate plate.
- Pour the hot soup in a bowl. Serve the cold noodles, toppings, and soup and sprinkle katsuobushi in the soup right before eating. Enjoy!
Chukamen: If you cannot find fresh ramen noodles, use udon noodles instead. They go well with this tsukemen soup as well!
Mentsuyu (noodle soup base): Homemade recipe, click here.
Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe in your own words and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.