Jja jang myeon is a Chinese Korean noodle dish with thick black bean paste sauce, diced pork, and vegetables.
Jja jang myeon is a Chinese Korean noodle dish with thick black bean paste sauce, diced pork, and vegetables. Although this dish has a Chinese origin and derived from Chinese zha jiang mian, overtime, jja jang myeon has become uniquely Korean and is probably the most ubiquitous noodle dish in Korea.
Chunjang (black bean paste)
The most important ingredient to make jja jang myeon is chunjang, or black bean paste. To make jja jang sauce, we fry chunjang in oil with a little bit of sugar, then scoop out the cooked paste. Once fried, chunjang is now called jja jang, and is the main ingredient to make jja jang myeon sauce. So yeah, although it seems like an extra step, you do need to fry your store bought black bean paste first. If you don’t do this step, your sauce will probably be still okay, but you may detect bitterness which the frying step will get rid off.
Jjajang guksu (Jjajang noodles)
If it is possible, try to get jjajang guksu, which is the correct noodles to use. For those without easy access to Korean market, the dried version is probably easier since you can probably order them online. If you definitely cannot find jjajang guksu, your next best bet is other Asian thick wheat noodles such as Japanese udon. If all else fails, even a batch of spaghetti is quite okay as last resort.
Toppings or no toppings
If I just want a quick batch of jja jang noodles, I don’t usually make toppings, just some thinly sliced scallions since that’s the quickest and easiest for me. But if you want to, you can add one fried egg, or one hard boiled egg, some thinly sliced cucumbers, some pickled daikon slices, and some thinly sliced onions for an even more complete version of jja jang myeon. Either way, don’t forget to slurp when enjoying your jja jang myeon!
Korean Jja Jang Myeon
- 4 tablespoon oil
- 4 tablespoon chunjang (black bean paste)
- 1/2 tablespoon sugar
- 250 gram (~ 1/2 lb.) pork shoulder/pork belly, cute into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1/4 cabbage, thinly sliced
- 1 zucchini, cute into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 1 1/2 cup water
- soy sauce/salt, to taste
- corn starch slurry (mix together 2 tablespoon corn starch + 3 tablespoon water)
- 4 servings of jja jang guksu (jja jang noodles)
- 1-2 scallions, thinly sliced
- Heat oil in a wok/deep skillet over medium heat, add chunjang and sugar, fry for 3 minutes. Scoop out the fried paste (this is now called jjajang instead of chunjang).
- Discard almost all of the oil and leave only about 1 tablespoon in the wok/skillet, add pork and sauté until no longer pink.
- Add cabbage, zucchini, and onion. Sauté until cabbage is wilted.
- Add the fried black bean paste, oyster sauce, and water. Mix well, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until zucchini is tender but still crispy and retains its shape, about 3 minutes.
- Add salt/soy sauce to suit your taste, if needed. Then stir in the corn starch slurry, and continue stirring until the sauce is thick, about 2 minutes. Remove sauce from heat.
- Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to boil. Cook the jja jang noodles according to the package direction. Mine needs about 5-6 minutes. Drain the noodles and rinse in hot water to remove excess starch.
- Arrange noodles into 4 individual serving plates/bowls, top each with a quarter of the sauce. Garnish with scallions.