Korean food contains influences from both Japanese and Chinese cooking, due to the intermingling of the nearby cultures over the years. Jjajangmyeon is a Chinese-influenced dish using black bean paste as the flavoring. Once the ingredients for this dish are chopped and measured, this is a quick stir-fry perfect for a weekday evening.
7 oz. noodles (I used Korean wheat noodles, but you could substitute angel hair vermicelli)
1/4 c. olive oil
8 oz. pork loin, cubed
1 onion, cubed
1/2 zucchini, cubed
1/2 c. black bean paste
2 tsp. sugar or Splenda
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 c. water
Bring water to boil for the noodles while you prepare the other ingredients. Have everything ready and measured ahead of time for this stir-fry. Dissolve the sugar and cornstarch in the water, it is added as a thickener at the very end.
Cook noodles until tender (time varies depending on what type of noodle you’re using, check the package). Meanwhile, stir-fry the pork in olive oil over high heat. When the pork is cooked through and lightly browned, add onion, zucchini and black bean paste. Stir-fry until zucchini is tender, about 3-5 minutes. At the very end of cooking, add sugar, cornstarch and water and bring to a boil just until thickened.
Serve noodles topped with black bean sauce. This makes 3 servings.
NOTE: the black bean paste is already quite salty, so you probably don’t need to add additional salt, even in the cooking water for the noodles. When I make this again, I will add some more veggies into the mix – especially sugar snap or snow peas for a little additional sweetness to balance the salty flavor.
There’s also a good video online showing you how to make jjajangmyeon (or called jjajangbap if you serve it with rice instead of noodles). I like the idea of stir-frying the vegetables first for a little bit before adding the black bean paste, and adding a bit of water at that point too, because it spattered a LOT when I added the paste into the mix.
Adapted from: Discovering Korean Cuisine: recipes from the best Korean restaurants in Los Angeles