jajangmyeon1 So the other day I was making Jajangmyeon and went into my blog archives for the recipe that I posted almost a year ago. To my horror, the instructions were TERRIBLE! I mean so bad that I was embarrassed to keep the recipe up. The image was broken, and the original photo was terrible. I wouldn’t think so much improvement with my posts would happen in such a short amount of time. But Jajangmyeon is one of my favorite dishes, and I just had to keep the world in the loop of this yummy dish. I originally grew up eating this because of my Aunt Hannah. She is Korean immigrant who married into my family. She would bring packages that looked like ramen that she called “Black Spaghetti.” She taught me her special way of cooking them. If I was in an Asian food market I would snatch up as many as I could. When I went to college in Philadelphia I had access to Korean restaurants. I became obsessed with finding one that would serve these black bean noodles. When I finally found one, I became sold on fresh jajangmyeon. They were pricey, so I learned how to make the noodles myself. Since I had it fresh, I found out those dinky ramen packets were pretty terrible. jajangmyeon2

Jajangmyeon is a dish that is deeply embedded into Korean culture. The dish isn’t fully Korean. The dish is started as a dish in Northern China but have adapted for Korean taste-buds. You will probably find this dish at a Chinese take out restaurant in Korea rather than a normal shop. This is sort of like the General Tso’s Chicken of Korea, a unique fusion dish. This dish is the pizza of Korea. How so? Well, if you move to a new place, it is traditional to get some jajangmyeon after moving. What do Americans get? Pizza. In Korea jajangmyeon is a popular food for bachelors to eat, so much so there is a holiday invented for them. What are American bachelors notorious for eating? Pizza. Jajangmyeon is full of yummy carbs and fats. What else does in America? Well, pretty much everything but pizza does too!

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Even though jajangmyeon is pretty cheap it isn’t 100% accessible to most people. The trick is getting your hands on some black bean paste. I wrote a whole page on it, but you can easily buy it online if you don’t have a Korean store nearby. Hmart is a Korean market that has some products available online. You can either buy it online by clicking here or you can try finding the nearest shop by clicking here. If you don’t have a Korean market near you but have an Asian food market there is hope. You can make your own black bean paste. You simply need to buy douchi, a fermented soy bean, and few other ingredients. You can google a recipe, but hopefully a recipe will be posted on here in the future.

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This recipe is made to be a super easy weekday meal. I wanted to keep it in one work, and use as little pots and dishes as possible. It can be made in 30-45 minutes, depending on how leisurely you want for chopping veggies. I also made sure everything is really cheap. Tofu, onions, mushrooms, zucchini, and noodles are really cheap. 

I like buying fresh noodles from the Asian market which is my “big buy” for the recipe. But I encourage everyone to buy dry noodles, it will just make you use up a second pot. You will want big fat noodles, and if you want super cheap buy some linguini when it is on sale. Hey, like I said, I consider this a cheap week night meal and I rather stay that way over “authenticity.”

Jajangmyeon
The traditional Korean dish made lighter.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 lb fresh Chinese noodles *
  2. 1 tbsp olive oil
  3. 1 medium onion diced
  4. 18 mushrooms diced
  5. 3 small zucchini diced
  6. 1/3 cup black bean paste
  7. 2 cup vegetable stock
  8. 1 tbsp arrowroot or cornstarch
  9. 1 lb tofu cubed (pressed if desired)
Instructions
  1. 1 If you are using dried noodles you will want to start a pot of boiling water and cook as instructed on the package. If you are using fresh noodles, inspect them for hardness. You may want to blanch or lightly cook them if they are too dried out**
  2. 2 In a wok heat 1 tbsp of oil, until very hot. Add the diced onion and saute until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and saute until soft and they release their liquids, about 5-7 minutes. Add the zucchini and saute till slightly soft, about 3 minutes.
  3. 3 Mix the tablespoon of arrowroot with 1 cup of stock. Toss the black bean paste, 1 cup stock, and arrowroot mix into the pan with the vegetables. Stir until mixed.
  4. 4 Add the diced tofu, gently stirring making sure they are coated with the black bean mixture. Bring to a boil and reduce heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. 5 To serve you have two options. You can stir the noodles in the wok making sure they are thoroughly coated. I recommend this with a big party. The other option is to place the plain noodles on a plate and add the black bean veggies on top.** This way you can keep the noodles separate from the sauce when storing leftovers.
Notes
  1. * You can't find Chinese noodles at an Asian Food Market. They are usually in the refrigerator section. If you can't find them, I would recommend cooking the noodles separately in a pot of water. And in the spirit of making jajangmyeon a cheap eat, feel free to use any long noodle you can get your hands on. Linguini works the best out of all the western styled pastas. Stay away from really thin noodles.
  2. ** If you plan on serving your noodles dry with the veggies on top, you will want to make sure the noodles are blanched or cooked for minute or so, regardless of how fresh they are. Fresh noodles are still a little undercooked, and need to be either stir-fried or boiled.
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