Zha Jiang Mian 炸醬麵 is fried sauce noodles, I called it Chinese spag bog. These noodles are very popular in most parts of Northern China, especially Beijing.
Koreans are also fan of zha jiang noodles, similar name called jajangmyeon. The sauce Korean used is not the same as Chinese, similar flavour but made with black beans called chungjang.
Chinese zha jiang sauce is dark brown, salty, sweet and very fragrant. The main sauce ingredient for the sauce is sweet bean sauce (sweet flour sauce) 甜麵醬 and/or yellow bean sauce 黃醬. I like the sauce a bit spicy so I always add some chilli bean sauce (douban jiang) 豆瓣醬. The sauce mix is fried till caramelised in plenty of oil till fragrant. If you use only a little oil you won't get the same flavour.
Other than meat, fried or marinated firm tofu can be added. Some people like to add shitake but not common.
I really like Zha Jiang sauce a lot. It keeps really well in the fridge. A convenient sauce for quick noodles anytime of the day or night or when I don't feel like cooking.
Here is the recipe:
For the sauce:
450 - 500g minced (ground) pork (beef works really well too)
3/4 cup sweet bean sauce (another name is sweet flour sauce) 甜麵醬, or yellow bean sauce 黃醬, or 50:50. I used Mong Lee Shang brand sweet bean sauce
1.5 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 heap tbsp chilli bean sauce (douban jiang 豆瓣醬), I used Pixian douban
3 - 4 fat cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 chunk of ginger, finely chopped (qty to your taste, I like more about 3 heap tbsp chopped)
3 - 4 stalks spring onion (scallion) use white part, chopped. Can also use 1 - 2 shallots
2 tsp sugar
2 - 3 tbsp Chinese cooking wine
1/3 - 1/2 cup of cooking oil
** If using yellow bean sauce add more sugar. Some yellow bean sauce can be very salty so use less than 3/4 cup
- Heat oil till quite hot then add ginger, garlic and spring onion (or shallot). Stir for about 1 minutes then add sweet bean sauce, chilli bean sauce and dark soy. Stir fry and simmer the sauce for about 10 minutes or more till the oil has separated to the edge of the wok and the oil has become reddish brown colour. The sauce should now be very fragrant.
- Add meat and break any lumps. Keep stirring for few minutes till bubbly hot then add sugar and wine. Turn heat down and simmer for few more minutes, keep stirring sauce to prevent sticking. Cook sauce till thicken.
For the vegetables:
Finely shredded some cucumber and carrot.
Blanch some fresh soy beans (frozen), I don't have soy beans so used garden peas
Beat 2 eggs and make into very thin omelette, then shredded
Can also use other vegetables like raw or lightly blanched bean sprouts, cabbage (white or red), blanched pak choi etc.
For the noodles:
Use dried or fresh wheat noodles. Cook as per instruction. For fresh homemade noodles try this recipe.
To put the dish together, boil noodles. Put some in bowl, then top with vegetables and meat sauce.
Everything all mixed together