(photo updated April 2014)
As mentioned in my last post on jjambbong (spicy noodle soup), this sweet and savory noodle dish, jajangmyeon (or jjajangmyeon), is another popular Korean-Chinese noodle dish. It's a huge part of Korean food culture. Everyone loves it. Deeply embedded in the childhood memories of most Koreans, it is a well-loved dish that parents often treat their children to on special occasions, such as graduation, exam days, birthdays, etc. In recent years, jajangmyeon has become a symbolic dish that single people eat with their friends on Black Day to commiserate with each other over black noodles.
(photo updated April 2014)
12 - 14 ounces fresh jajangmyeon/udon noodles (See jjambbong recipe.)
5 tablespoons Korean black bean paste (chunjang or jjajang)
2 tablespoons oil (canola or vegetable oil)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon oyster sauce (optional)
4 ounces pork loin
1 tablespoon rice wine (or mirin)
1/2 teaspoon grated ginger (optional)
salt and pepper
1 large onion
4 ounces cabbage
1/2 zucchini (about 4 ounces)
1 tablespoon oil (canola or vegetable oil)
cucumber matchsticks for garnish (optional)
1 cup chicken stock (or water)
1 tablespoon potato or corn starch*, dissolved in 1/4 cup of water
Have a pot of water ready to cook the noodles. Turn the heat on when you start cooking the meat. This way you will have the boiling water ready, for cooking the noodles, by the time the sauce is done.
Prepare the pork and vegetables by cutting them into 1/2 - 3/4 inch cubes. Marinate the pork with a tablespoon of rice wine (or mirin), ginger, salt and pepper while preparing the vegetables.
Add the black bean paste to a small saucepan with the oil, sugar, and the optional oyster sauce. Fry it over medium heat for 2 - 3 minutes, stirring constantly. (If using pre-fried/roasted black bean paste, you can skip this process. Just add the sugar and the optional oyster sauce when stirring in the bean paste.)
Heat a large pan with a tablespoon of oil over medium high heat. Add the pork and stir fry until no longer pink. Add the vegetables and cook until soft, stirring occasionally.
Stir in the black bean paste and mix everything together until all the meat and vegetables are coated well with the paste.
Pour in the stock (or water) and bring it to a boil. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes.
Stir in the dissolved starch and cook briefly until the sauce is thickened. Add more sugar to taste.
Add the noodles in the boiling water. Cook according to the package instructions and drain. Do not overcook. The noodles should have a firm bite to them. Place a serving size of noodles in each bowl. Spoon the sauce over the noodles and garnish with the optional cucumber matchsticks.