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Zhajiangmian - Fried Sauce Noodles

Koreans have adapted this favorite Chinese noodle dish from Beijing to make Jajangmyeon. I haven't had this dish in a really long time and could barely remember what it tasted like so I looked up several recipes to compare and make my own. From my research, the main difference between the Chinese and Korean version is the sauce. Zhajiangmian uses a combo of soybean and sweet flour sauces that are sweet and salty. Jajangmyeon uses a black bean based sauce. Both fry up the sauce with meat and served over thick noodles. Zhajiangmian is simply ground pork and sauce with veggies added on top. Simple and delicious!

When I tasted my trial version my first thought was that this is something that I could see served in the restaurant, Chopsticks, that I used to work in. Definitely. My husband said the same thing. When I thought about it more, I realized that they DO serve it! They call it Fried Sauce Noodles, which is exactly what it is. It is one of my favorite noodle dishes that they serve but the one at work is just a tad too sweet for my personal preference. Try this version and adjust the sweetness to your taste.


I'm going to put in a disclaimer here. The "authentic" Beijing way to make this noodle is with tianmianjang and yellow bean paste. I've seen versions with tianmainjang and soybean paste, ground bean paste and hoisin sauce. Tianmianjang means sweet flour sauce. Soybean paste is like a salty miso. I'm not one for having to go out to get lots of ingredients just for a couple tablespoons unless it's something I use a lot of. So, you can go get tianmainjang and yellow bean paste OR just get a jar of ground bean paste which I think a good replacement and combination of those two.



Zhajiangmian - Fried Sauce Noodles


Ingredients (serves 4)

1 lb fresh wheat noodles

2 Tbs vegetable oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon ginger, finely grated

2 stalks scallions, finely chopped

1/2 lb ground pork (can use ground beef, chicken, turkey or tofu)

1/4 cup ground bean sauce (or 3 Tbs yellow soybean paste + 1 Tbs tianmianjang)

1/2 cup water

1 teaspoon sugar (to taste)

1/2 English cucumber, cut into matchsticks

1 small carrot, cut into matchsticks (optional)


Directions

Bring a medium to large stock pot of water up to a boil and cook noodles according to the package directions. Usually boiling for 3-5 minutes. Drain and set aside.


While the noodle water is coming up to a boil, heat a large skillet or wok over medium high heat. Add vegetable oil. When it is shimmery add the garlic, ginger, and scallions and stir for about 30 seconds until fragrant. Add ground pork and stir to break up and brown, about 5-6 minutes. Add ground bean sauce and stir for 1-2 minutes. Add water, stir then cover and cook for 1 minute. Uncover and taste. If too salty, add some sugar to your taste.


Divide cooked noodles into 4 bowls and add zhajiangmian sauce on top OR add noodles to this sauce, stir to coat evenly and serve with some fresh cucumber and carrot matchsticks on top. Enjoy!



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