Sep 5
Hatch Chili Tantanmen

Hatch chile season (August through September) makes me ridiculously happy, and the Hatch chile recipe that I’m sharing with you today just makes me plain giddy.  (If you’re looking for Hatch chiles, Frieda’s sells them at Ralph’s grocery stores.)  I am a total chile head, and Hatch chiles are one of my all-time favorites because of their incredible flavor and aroma.  They’re a long green pepper grown exclusively in the Mesilla Valley near hatch, New Mexico.  When they are roasted, their aroma will have you hovering over them, waiting until they have cooled off enough to chop them up and add them to whatever you’ve got cooking.

Roasting Hatch Chiles

We love adding the roasted chiles to things like hashbrowns, omelettes, burgers, soups, etc.  I recently roasted a batch of chiles and used them to make tantanmen, a popular Japanese version of a Chinese Sichuan noodle dish.  The dish consists of a spicy sauce, Sichuan peppercorns, minced pork, and scallions which is all served over noodles.  In my version, I substituted roasted Hatch chiles for some of the more traditional ingredients to give them dish a Southwestern twist.

Making Hatch Chile Tantanmen

Although this dish may sound a bit confused (a Japanese version of a traditional Chinese Sichuan noodle dish with a Southwestern twist), the result makes total sense.  The combination of the aromatic Sichuan peppercorns with bright roasted Hatch chiles add a fabulous tingly heat, while the toasted sesame seeds add creamy nuttiness and the red miso paste gives the whole mixture a boost of umami.  In short, its one of those meals that will have you asking for seconds, and then thirds, and then . . . .

Hatch Chili Tantanmen

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Hatch Chile Tantanmen

Makes 6 servings

3 fresh Hatch chiles (extra hot Hatch chiles if you can get them!) (for medium spicy, add additional chiles for a spicier finish!)

Tantan Sauce:
1/2 cup toasted white sesame seeds, ground
1/3 cup oyster sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 soy sauce
3 tablespoons red miso (aka miso) paste
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3.5 cups water

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
2 bunches scallions, thinly sliced
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 inches fresh ginger, minced
12 ounces ground pork
8 ounces bean sprouts
3 tablespoons Szechuan peppercorns, coarsely chopped

14 ounces dried chuka soba noodles, cooked according to package directions and drained
Toasted white sesame seeds and chile, to garnish

1. Roast the Hatch chiles: Turn on the oven broiler to high-heat and put on a pair of plastic gloves (to protect your skin from spicy oils in the chiles). Place the whole Hatch chiles on a baking sheet about 5 inches from the broiler element. The skins of the chiles will begin to blister and turn black. Turn the chiles to char all the sides evenly. Once the skin is evenly charred, place the hot roasted chiles in a paper or plastic bag to steam and “sweat” for 15 minutes. This helps loosen the skins.

2. Peel the skins off of the roasted chiles. Once they are peeled, finely chop the chiles and set them aside.

3. Make the Tantan sauce: Whisk all the sauce ingredients, except the water, together in a large bowl, then slowly whisk in the water. Set the sauce aside.

4. Add the sesame oil to a large saute pan or wok and saute the scallions, garlic, and ginger over low heat until they become fragrant. Add the ground pork, increase the heat to high heat, and continue stir-frying, crumbling the pork as you cook.

5. When the meat is lightly browned, add the bean sprouts and continue to stir fry. When the bean sprouts are tender, add the finely chopped Hatch chiles and szechuan peppercorns and stir-fry until fragrant.

6. Add the Tantan sauce to the meat mixture, and cook until the sauce has heated through. Season with salt and pepper as needed.

7. Divide the cooked chuka soba noodles among 6 bowls and top each serving of noodles with a large ladle full of the tantan meat mixture. Garnish with additional toasted white sesame seeds and chili oil, to taste.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Franko September 5, 2013 at 12:34 pm

Thanks for the amazing recipes!
Can’t wait to try this one!


Melba September 5, 2013 at 10:34 pm

This looks delicious Rachel, we love Hatch Chiles! Going to try this recipe for sure. Hope your doing well with your move.


Jayne September 6, 2013 at 3:39 am

Mmmm… yes, this combo totally makes sense. I took out minced pork from the freezer too for dinner. Except I was going to make a pork mince sauce to go over silken tofu. Now I’m not so sure.


Fuji Papa September 13, 2013 at 7:33 am

I’m not sure I’ve had Hatch chilies. I know I’ve read about them and wanted to try them. This looks very good.


Kenny September 14, 2013 at 10:02 am

I roasted and froze about 20 lbs. of Hatch chiles so I can have them over the winter months! They are addictive!


Sharon September 19, 2013 at 8:02 am

I gave this a try last night. I wasn’t thrilled with the texture of the coarsely chopped Szechuan peppercorns (not to mention that trying to chop them meant that some of them went flying across the kitchen), so next time I will grind them in a mortar/pestle. Also, it was a bit more soupy than I felt it should be so I added some corn starch slurry to thicken it up just a little bit so it would cling to the noodles better. Reducing the water seems like it would make the sauce too strong, so I will probably continue to thicken with starch for future attempts.

Despite the two objections above, it was tasty. My fiance said it reminded him of ja jiang myun at a Korean/Chinese restaurant we frequent. This gave me an idea of what the ja jiang myun recipes I’ve been finding on the web might be missing – vinegar.

Substitutions: I used tahini for the ground sesame seeds, white miso since I hadn’t any red in the fridge, and used only one “bunch” of scallions because they were more like little leeks – one bunch netted nearly 2 cups of sliced scallions.


Fuji Mama (Rachael) October 3, 2013 at 8:48 am

@Sharon — Glad you liked it! I meant the sauce, as more of a brothy consistency, but thickening it with cornstarch is great if you want a thicker sauce! I love my Szechuan peppercorns in bigger pieces, but that’s a personal preference. :-)

Reply November 27, 2014 at 1:30 am

That is a good tip particularly to those
fresh to the blogosphere. Simple but very precise info… Many
thanks for sharing this one. A must read article!


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