April 19, 2013

Black Bean Sauce with Noodles "Jajangmyun"

Ja-jang-myun is a Korean noodle dish.
Traditionally, it consists of wheat noodles that are topped with a delicious,
thick, condensed, salty and gratifying sauce.

"Myun" is noodle in Korean and the "jajang" translates to "fried sauce"
This noodle dish originated from the Shandong region in China years beyond years ago.
The dish immigrated to Korea and is an extremely popular dish in Korea-
so popular that it also immigrated to the United States.
You can order Jajangmyun in many Korea-town areas throughout many different cities.

The Chinese and Korean Jajangmyun are very similar but the Korean version uses
a lot more onions and has caramel in the sauce.
These days, the black bean sauce is already made and in jars where you can simply
scoop out the black bean paste rather than pressing and fermenting the beans yourself.

Jajangmyun is always accompanied with pickled radish (yellow-it is dyed) and often with
a little bowl of largely diced raw onions and a scoop of raw black bean paste.

I made a really quick version of Jajangmyun the other night.
The sauce is always made from pork which gives the sauce that heavy but flavorful taste.
The other veggies in the sauce are :

~1 potato (I substituted 2 small sweet potatoes)
~1 large diced onion
~pork chunk  (I substituted beef)
~2 carrots diced
~1 zucchini diced
~2-3 fresh cloves of garlic minced or 1 teas of garlic powder
~potato or corn starch (1 teas) - to thicken the sauce (mix equal parts of luke warm water)
~3 heaping TBSP of black bean paste
~pack of dried or fresh wheat or flour noodles (can use whole grain to make super healthy)
~ cucumber- julienne or matchstick cuts for garnish

I decided to cut some carrots like a flower for a garnish.

I started with sauteing the onions first --
(cooking them for a while starts to caramelize them making them sweeter)
I then added the beef cubes and once the beef was cooked-
I added the potatoes, carrots and lastly the zucchini.
(You don't need to add any oil because the fat from the meat is more than enough oil)

When everyone in the hot tub(saute or frying pan) has cooked down...
you can spoon in your black bean paste.
Lastly, you can add in your 1:1 ratio of warm water and corn starch.
You want to make the thickener in a separate little bowl rather than just tossing it in the pan
simply because otherwise- it will clump in your sauce and not do its job.

It's a shame the plated image came out blurry. By using beef instead of pork made the sauce
a lot lighter in taste which was nice because often after eating Jajangmyun- you feel very heavy
from the pork fat.  It was a good, tasty and yummy bowl of Jajangmyun!

Zestfully, Let's Cultivate Food