Jjajangmyeon (Noodles with Black Bean Sauce)

This sweet and savory noodle dish is a huge part of Korean food culture. Everyone loves it!

Jjajangmyeon was originally a Chinese dish that has been adopted and adapted by Korea.

The noodles are thick and chewy and delicious. They’re sold frozen in Korean grocery stores (try the Wang “Chinese Style Noodle” in Australia) and are sometimes labeled Korean Fresh Noodle (Udon). Keep them in the freezer and just thaw what you need slightly on the kitchen bench before you use them. Once opened, store in your freezer in a ziplock bag.

Tip: Open the noodles as soon as you get home and pull apart the “bunches”. Wrap each bunch of noodles in some grease proof paper, put them back on the tray that comes in the package and put into a large ziplock bag. This will allow you to take out a bunch at a time if making only 1 or 2 portions of noodles. One bunch of noodles is one serve.

Noodles-for-Jajangmyeon

Ingredients for 2-3 servings
Jjajangmyeon noodles – take the required portions of noodles out of the freezer and place on the bench to thaw while you get your other ingredients ready
3 tbsp rice bran or vegetable oil
250g pork belly, cut into 1 to 1 1/2 cm cubes
1 cup of Korean radish (or any other radish variety), cut into 1 cm cubes
1 cup of zucchini, cut into 1 cm cubes
1 cup of potato, peeled and cut into 1 cm cubes
1 medium onion, diced
3 heaped tbsp of Korean black bean paste (Chunjang 춘장 – the tubs of fermented black bean paste are a good choice – don’t use the Chinese black bean sauce as it is very salty)
2 cups water
1 tsp of sesame oil
1/2 lebanese cucumber, cut into thin matchsticks for garnishing

Starch water
2 tbsp of potato starch
1/4 cup water
2 tsp of sugar

Put a large pot of water on to boil to cook the noodles in.

Place all of the starch water ingredients in a small bowl and mix thoroughly, put to the side.

Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large deep wok over a medium high heat. Add the pork and stir-fry for 4 to 5 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy. Pour out any excess fat.

Add the radish and stir fry for 1 minute. Add the zucchini, potato and onion and keep stirring for about 3 minutes, or until the potato looks a little translucent.

Clear a space in the center of the wok by pushing the ingredients to the edges. Add the remaining oil in the center of the wok, then add the black bean paste and stir-fry it with a wooden spoon for 1 minute. Mix everything in the wok together and keep stirring.

Stir through the water and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat slightly, cover the wok with a lid and simmer for around 10 minutes.

Make sure the water for the noodles is now boiling.

Lift the lid on the wok and test the radish and potato to see if they are cooked through. If they’re fully cooked, add the noodles to the pot of boiling water and use some chopsticks to make sure they have separated in the water. Then start to stir the starch water into the sauce mix little by little. Keep stirring until it’s well mixed and thick, then add the sesame oil and remove from the heat.

Once the noodles are cooked (as per the packaging, usually around 6 minutes), drain, rinse quickly with cold water and strain. Tip the noodles onto a serving platter or portion into individual bowls.

Pour the jjajang sauce over the noodles, garnish with the cucumber strips and serve immediately.

To eat, use chopsticks to stir the sauce through the noodles and enjoy!

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