Jja jang myun is a rib-sticking noodle dish from China that is widely popular among Koreans. Koreans have their own version of the dish with black bean sauce while the Chinese version uses a brown bean sauce. The sauce may differ slightly but both dishes consist of noodles tossed in a bean sauce cooked with meat and garnished with cucumber. I love both versions equally but today I'm dedicating this recipe to the Korean variation. Enjoy with a side of tangsuyuk for the full Korean experience!
Jja Jang Myun
- 1 tablespoon oil
- ½ lb pork belly cut into small chunks
- ½ onion diced
- 1 medium zucchini diced
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 2 cups water
- 5 tablespoons black bean sauce
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with ¼ cup of water
- 1 lb Chinese egg noodles
- 1 small cucumber thinly sliced
- 1 cup bean sprouts
- Heat oil in a large pot over high heat. Add pork and cook until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add onion, zucchini, and garlic and cook until vegetables are softened, about 4-5 minutes. Add water, black bean sauce, sugar, and soy sauce. Bring the sauce to a simmer, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.
- Combine 3 tablespoons cornstarch with ¼ cup water and add the cornstarch slurry to the sauce. Continue to simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes.
- Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain. Portion noodles into bowls and spoon sauce on top. Garnish with sliced cucumbers and fresh bean sprouts. Serve hot.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
Jja jang myun is one of those dishes that everyone loves. I have yet to meet anyone, child or adult, that dislikes these noodles. Yes, they are that tasty. And the plus side? It's easy to make!
To make the sauce, saute the pork until browned. Add the vegetables including the onion, zucchini, and garlic and saute just until they become soft. Add the black bean sauce along with water, soy sauce, and a dash of sugar and let it come to a simmer.
We want the sauce to be slightly thick so that it can coat the noodles. That's where the cornstarch slurry comes in handy. I remember my friend tried making jja jang myun but forgot to add the cornstarch. Let's just say, it ended up being a soup rather than a sauce. Season the sauce with salt and pepper and keep it warm while you prepare the noodles.
There are different variations on even the Korean version of jja jang myun. Some people like to add potatoes or use ground beef. As long as you have the black bean sauce, the vegetables and meat can be easily substituted. Top the noodles with fresh cucumbers and bean sprouts for some crunch and enjoy! Have leftover sauce? Spoon it on some rice and top it with a fried egg.
For more Asian noodle inspiration check out this Korean bibim gook soo recipe!