Zha Jiang Mian (Zhajiang noodles)  is a specialty of northern China. It is a dish consisting of thick wheat noodles topped with a mixture of ground pork stir-fried with fermented soybean paste.  This dish is also popular in Korea, where it is known as Ja Jiang Mein or Ja Jang Myun.

Zhajiang Mian has been compared to the Italian spaghetti bolognese. It is sometimes referred to by the nickname “Chinese spaghetti” in the West, which is symmetrical to Chinese calling spaghetti bolognese “Western zhajiang mian.” 

 Zhajiang Mian  is tasty, cheap, and easy to prepare. I like it with oodles of cucumber shreds for the nice crunchy feel.

Recipe: Zhajiang Mian (Zhajiang noodles)

Zhajiang Mian

Ingredients for Zhajiang Mian (Zhajiang noodles): 2 to 3 servings

* Chinese egg noodles — 1 pound
* Stock or water — 3/4 cup
* Hoisin sauce — 2-3 tablespoons
* Brown bean sauce — 2-3 tablespoons
* Sugar — 1 teaspoon
* Oil — 2-3 tablespoons
* Salt 1 teaspoon or to taste
* Scallions, minced — 4
* Garlic, minced — 1 tablespoons
* Pork, chopped, minced or ground — 1/2 pound

Directions to cook Zhajiang Mian (Zhajiang noodles)

1, Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain, rinse under cold water and set aside.

2, In a small bowl, Combine together the stock or water, brown bean sauce, hoisin sauce, sugar and salt, mix well. Adjust seasoning and set aside.

3, Heat the oil over high flame in a wok or large pot. Add the garlic and scallions and stir fry for about 30 seconds. Add the pork and stir fry just until pink disappears.

4,  Reduce heat to medium-low, pour in the sauce and simmer for 2-3 minutes.

5, Add the cooked noodles to the wok and mix with sauce to heat through. Serve hot in bowls.

Variations of  Zhajiang Mian:

1, You may substitute ground chicken or beef for the pork.

2, Zhajiang mian is often served with a garnish of thinly sliced cucumbers, mung bean sprouts or shredded carrots for the nice crunchy feel.

3, Instead of stirring the noodles into the sauce, place them in bowls and pour the sauce over the top.

4, Brown bean sauce is found in jars at most Asian markets. Names of other sauces often used in this dish include yellow bean paste, broad bean sauce, sweet noodle sauce and hot bean paste. There is no hard and fast rule. Use whatever sauce you like and can find.

5, Feel free to add other vegetables if you like: shiitake mushrooms, chopped spinach, shredded Chinese cabbage, julienned carrots, peas. Add the vegetables after you have cooked the pork and before you add the sauce. Simmer the sauce long enough to just cook the vegetables through.

{September 9, 2010} {Tags: , }