Since we are having withdrawal from our recent trip to Seoul, what better way to cure that longing feeling than to make some Jjajangmyeon (Korean Black Bean Sauce Noodles) and binge watch on K-dramas? Maybe that was just my perfect excuse to acquaint with the cast of Descendants of the Sun?
If you have not heard of JJM (we like to create acronym in our household), it is a Korean version of the Chinese Zha Jiang Mian (noodles with meat sauce). This inexpensive noodle dish can be found throughout Seoul and it is so popular there is even an unofficial holiday called “Black Day” (14th Apr) for the singles to get together just to eat JJM.
Even though the choices of ingredients largely thread the similar path with items like pork, cucumber, onion, the difference is in the type of black bean sauce used. The Korean version uses Chunjang – a raw dark soybean paste which is made from roasted soy beans and dark caramel.
You could easily find Chunjang in all Korean supermarkets or maybe even Asian grocery stores.
Instead of noodles, you could also pair the lovely dark sauce with Korean rice cake (tteokbokki) or a bowl of steaming hot rice. I did not include any meat in today’s recipe (which tasted great), feel free to add in your favorite choice of protein.
½ head Chinese cabbage – chopped
1 carrot – diced
1 potato – diced
1 medium yellow onion – diced
2 cloves garlic – minced
2 to 3 tbsp Korean black bean paste (adjust with more if needed)
½ tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp soy sauce
Salt & pepper
1 cup (250 ml) water
1 tbsp corn starch + 1 tbsp water (to thicken sauce)
Kalguksu / Wheat noodles (or fresh wheat noodles)
Danmuji (yellow pickled radish)
Japanese cucumber – julienne
Serves 2 – 3
Recipe source: Eugenie Kitchen (with slight modification)
In a large pan, add in 1 tbsp cooking oil follow by carrot and potatoes. Cook for 2 -3 mins under medium heat until soften.
Add in diced onion and garlic and sauté for another min. Follow by the cabbage.
Make a well in the middle of the pan and add in the black bean paste, 1 tbsp oil and sugar.
Sauté the paste until fragrant for 30 secs and mix well with the vegetables.
Add in water, soy sauce, some salt and pepper and bring to boil. Give it a taste and adjust with more seasoning if necessary.
If you are making it ahead of time and not serving immediately, do not add the corn starch mixture.
Before to serve, cook the noodles according to package instruction.
Drain and rinse the noodles with cold water so they’ll remain springy and al dente.
Place adequate amount of noodles in a bowl.
Bring the sauce to boil and add thicken with corn starch mixture.
Turn off heat and pour 1 – 2 ladle of sauce over the noodles.
Garnish with cucumber and drizzle a little rice vinegar if you like. Serve warm.