Korean Noodles with Black Bean Sauce (Jajangmyun)

Jajangmyeon
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    35 min
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Jajangmyun (Chajangmyun, Jjajang myun) is one of the most popular noodle dishes in Korea, even though it actually originated in China, not Korea. It is the Korean adaptation of a Chinese black bean noodle dish with the same name, and you can find it in every Chinese restaurant in Korea.

Jajangmyun differs from its Chinese counterpart, zhajiangmian, by virtue of its sauce. In China, the sauce for zhajiangmian is made with yellow soybean paste, hoisin sauce or a sauce made from broad beans. However, the Korean version of the dish, jajangmyun, is crafted with a dark sauce made from a paste containing caramel and roasted soybeans. This paste is called chunjang.

To make the sauce for jajangmyun, you stir-fry the vegetables, meat and chunjang with sesame oil, sugar and garlic, add water and carrots, then thicken it with cornstarch. The result is a salty-sweet, thick dark sauce that goes especially well with noodles, pork and vegetables.

Jajangmyun is delicious and satisfying but inexpensive to buy or make, so it's a favorite home-cooked or takeout meal among almost all Koreans. It's most common to use wide, thick noodles made from wheat flour for jajangmyun, but if you can't find any noodles that are intended specifically for this dish, you easily can substitute wide buckwheat noodles or even linguine.

What You'll Need

  • 2 cups black bean paste (chunjang, but it might also say jajang on the package)
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 6 cups water
  • 4 medium potatoes, peeled and diced (I like to use a combination of sweet and white potatoes)
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 2 cups pork loin, diced
  • 4 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 3 lbs flat, thick noodles (dry or fresh). If you can't find these, you can also use buckwheat, udon, or linguine noodles.

How to Make It

  1. In a large oiled skillet or wok, saute pork and potatoes for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add onion and zucchini and continue to saute for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add bean paste, sesame oil, sugar, and garlic to the pan, stirring to combine.
  4. Saute for 3-4 minutes.
  5. Add 6 cups of water and the carrots and bring to a boil.
  6. Reduce to simmer.
  7. Mix cornstarch with 1/2 cup cold water and pour into sauce to thicken.
  8. Cook for 15 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.
  9. Prepare noodles according to package directions.
  10. Place a large helping of noodles in a big soup bowl. Ladle the jajang sauce over the noodles (myun).
  11. Serve with sliced raw onions and white vinegar on the side (to splash onto the noodles).