Based on Chinese zha jiang mian (fried sauce noodles), Korean jajangmyun is so popular among Korean families that, jokingly, Korean inflation is measured by the price of jajangmyun. This noodle dish is the most popular delivery food in Korea, but is equally delicious cooked at home. Jajangmyun was chosen as one of the top 100 "Korean cultural symbols" by the Korean Government in 2006.
- 3 tbsp canola oil
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 cm piece ginger, minced (optional)
- 300 g diced scotch fillet (or pork belly or pork loin)
- 1 potato, diced, 1cm pieces
- 1 onion, diced
- ½ horbark (Korean zucchini), diced, cut into 1 cm pieces
- ½-¾ cup chunjang (black soybean paste)
- 1 tbsp cooking sake
- 1-2 tbsp sugar
- 1-1½ cups water
- starch water (1½ tbsp cornstarch mixed with 2 tbsp water)
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 packet fresh noodles, shanghai or peking
- ½ cucumber, julienne
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Pour 1 tbsp oil into a heated non-stick pan and gently sauté the garlic and ginger. Add the meat and cook until the meat begins to brown. If using pork belly, discard any oil. Set aside.
Pour 1 tbsp oil in the same pan and gently sauté the potato, onion and Korean zucchini. Set aside.
In the same pan, add 1 tbsp oil and gently fry chunjang for about 1 minute, taking care not to burn the paste. Add the reserved meat, potato mixture, cooking sake and sugar. Pour water into the mixture and let it come to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low and simmer until the potatoes soften. Stir in enough starch water to thicken the sauce slightly. Pour in the sesame oil at the end of cooking.
Cook fresh jajangmyeon noodles in boiling water following packet directions. Drain and place each serving in individual bowls. Ladle over the sauce to cover the noodles. Top with the cucumber to serve.
• Chunjang is available in all Korean supermarkets. Fresh noodles are available in all Asian supermarkets.