This Korean noodle dish is incredibly popular in Korea. It’s made with a special fermented black bean paste and lots of vegetables. Don’t be put off by the colour though. Jajangmyeon is a delicious salty, sweet, savoury dish that is easy to make! Full recipe and video after the break.
Jajangmyeon literal translation is “deep fried noodles.” Jajang means deep fry, and myeon is noodles. I’m not exactly sure, but my best guess for the name is that during the cooking process you have to sauté the black bean paste with oil before stirring it into the rest of the ingredients. Of course now the meaning of jajang has changed to the name of the bean paste itself.
The origins of this dish actually came from China. There it’s called jajamien. The look and flavour are very different though, the Chinese one uses minced meat and the paste they use isn’t as sweet.
Jajamien was introduced to Korea during the Joseon Dynasty when Korea opened the Incheon port in the late 1800’s. During that time a lot of Chinese people immigrated from the Shandong province (the origin of jajamien) and settled in the newly opened port. They opened Chinese restaurants to make a living. One of the most popular dishes was the jajamien because of it’s flavour and how cheap it was. It was considered a working class food.
Over time, the dish was altered to fit the taste of the Koreans (similar to how the California roll was created). They used larger pieces of pork, and changed the vegetables to be chunkier. After the Korean wart, the dish was further changed with the inclusion of a special caramel to give the dish a sweeter flavour. It also made the paste thicker.
I came across this dish when I started watching Korean dramas with my brother. A lot of times I would see this cool black noodle dish that came with these yellow daikon pickle things. We wanted to try it so we went to out to a restaurant and ordered it. We were instantly hooked, and wanted to make it back home.
*side note* The cool thing in Korea (and many other Asian countries) is that you can order delivery for this dishes. They will put the food on an actual bowl (mostly plastic), pop it on a moped and deliver it to your place. The interesting thing is that they leave the bowl with you and you suppose to return it to the restaurant on another day. Neat huh?
That’s pretty much it! I really hope you give this a try, and please leave a comment down here or on the YouTube video and I’ll get back to you.
1 medium zucchini
1 medium onion
1 cup diced mushrooms
600g pork loin
4 servings of thick noodles
6 tbsp Korean Black Bean Paste
2 cups water
2 tbsp cornstarch + splash of water
1 tsp sesame oil
pickled daikon (danmuji)
Start by cutting all the vegetables and pork into 1.5cm cubes. Get a large sauté pan on medium heat with a couple tablespoons of vegetable oil. Throw the pork in with some salt and pepper and give them a good browning.
After the pork is nice and caramelized, take them out and throw in the potatoes and onions. Cook them for 5 minutes before tossing in the zucchini and mushrooms. Sauté everything until they’re soften. Make sure to scrap the bottom of the pan to get all the bits of pork.
Once the vegetables are done, add the meat back in and create an opening in the middle of the pan. Turn the heat to a low. Add a little bit of oil, and scoop the black bean paste into it. You want to sauté the paste for a minute or too to release the flavours and give it a little nuttiness to it.
Next, stir all the veggies and pork into the paste until everything is coated. Pour in the water and let it simmer over medium low for 10 minutes. Make sure to put the lid on! If you have frozen peas you can toss them in the last couple minutes
Set another pot on high and boil some water to cook the noodles. After 10 minutes, mix some corn starch with a splash of water and pour it into the sauce to thicken it. Turn off the heat and stir in the sesame oil and green peas. Now would be the best time to season the sauce to your liking.
Place the noodles on a plate, scoop the sauce on top with, garnish with the cucumber and pickled daikon.