Recipes

Jjajangmyeon: Korean Black Bean Noodles Recipe

Note: This is not your classic jjajangmyeon (짜장면).  A typical bowl of Korean black bean noodles contains pork belly, onion, white wheat flour noodles, potato starch, and sugar. Some people also add rice wine, boiled egg as a topping, and the fat from the pork belly for extra flavor. My version is low fat and low sugar. I’ve substituted the flour noodles with a wheat-free variation and traded in fatty cuts of meat for a leaner option. 

When filming mukbang videos, I showcase cuisines from around the world. Normally I buy the food. This week I challenged myself to cook. The following recipe is the exact dish I ate during my mukbang video.

At the time I write this, I’m no Jacques Pepin or Alice Waters. Whoever you think is an amazing cook, that’s not me. At least not on April 29, 2017. I am, however, a dreamer: maybe one day I’ll wake up wanting to master a particular cuisine. Julia Child, be my guardian angel! I’d like to think I’m not a complete noob. There are some dishes I’m decent at preparing. When I say “some,” I mean I can count the number of dishes using one hand. Anyhow, enjoy my culinary experiment. Whether it’s a hit or a miss, I shall learn a thing or two for next time I cook! 🙂

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 zucchini (aka: Italian squash)
  • 6 ounces pork strips
  • 8.6 ounces Vietnamese brown rice noodles
  • 24 ounces Korean radish
  • 1/2 cup fermented chungjang (Korean black bean paste)
  • 8 cloves of garlic (or more, depending on how much you love it)
  • 1 bouquet of kale
  • 1 cucumber for garnish
  • coconut oil for cooking

The total cost? $20 US and makes up to four servings. One serving if you’re an original Korean mukbang star.

There was a variety of chunjang at the Korean market, all of them at different prices and in container sizes. I chose the small jar of fermented chunjang, which is than enough for this recipe.

Step 1
Cut your veggies. Sizes and the level of neatness vary with each cook. Most jjajangmyeon I’ve eaten had small pieces of vegetables. Later when the sauce covers them, these ingredients will camouflage. I like to tell my veggies apart, therefore my pieces are bigger. Keep in mind that thicker cubes of radish take longer to cook. If you’re hangry, small cubes are your best friend.

Peel and cut zucchinis. Not a fan? Some Koreans use mushroom and cabbage as well.

In the case I end up with extra sauce and my noodles are drowning in it, I will add steamed kale instead of additional noodles. Koreans also eat their jjajangmyeon sauce with white rice. Brown rice and quinoa can be used as substitutes. I choose kale to squeeze fiber into my diet.

Step 2
Heat your pan and add oil. Some use canola or vegetable oil for their jjajangmyeon, but this is my kitchen. I use coconut oil. Or olive oil. However I ran out of olive oil, so coconut oil it is.

Stir-fry your protein. I added a handful of garlic into the pan.

Step 3
After about five minutes, pour the vegetables into the pan. If you’d like to sweeten your dish, add onions.

Step 4
Add a cup of water and 1/2 cup of chunjang (black bean paste) into the pan. Stir so the paste coats the ingredients.

Let that H2O work its magic. Give it about 15 minutes. It will come to a boil. You can gently poke a piece of radish with a fork to confirm its softness.

Witness the ingredients absorb the paste!

Step 5
Fill a pot with water and let it boil over high heat. Cook your noodles. In my case, I use Vietnamese Brown Rice Noodles by StarAniseFoods (no, this is not a sponsored post. I’m just letting you know the brand I used). These noodles takes about a minute to cook. Drain the noodles and pour on sesame or olive oil to keep them separated.

Step 6
Set your noodles in a bowl, pour in the sauce and vegetables, and cut fresh cucumber for garnish. I used a shorter plate for filming purposes; if the dish is too deep, then the viewers cannot see the food. In terms of functionality, a deeper bowl may be easier to mix the noodles in.

Watch me eat this plate of jjajangmyeon in my mukbang video!

Lessons learned from this week’s cooking session:
+ add more oil to the noodles to prevent them from sticking
+ make more sauce by adding additional water and paste

Stay tuned for the next recipe! Whether I’m sharing a family dish or experimenting on my own, I’ll share it here on my site. Writing blog posts is a way of helping me remember as my memory is fleeting. I suppose you can call this a food diary 🙂

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7 Comments

  • Reply
    CARLY
    May 2, 2017 at 9:02 pm

    Mina!! I’m so glad you shared this recipe. I also live in San Jose and seeing your videos always inspire me to try new food in the area 😍 Hopefully, I will be going to Hmart or Super Kyo-po soon.

    • Reply
      Mina Oh
      May 7, 2017 at 8:26 pm

      Hello neighbor! In fact, the chungjang sauce was bought from Hmart on De Anza Blvd. Can be a challenge to find parking, but there should be plenty in the back and side street 🙂

  • Reply
    heather (delicious not gorgeous)
    May 2, 2017 at 9:26 pm

    i feel like there’s so many ways to make zha jiang mien! my (very unauthentic) version uses chinese black bean sauce, ground beef, pasta (last time i used fusili, aka not asian noodles at all), and cucumbers. i like the sound of using tons of veggies though!

    • Reply
      Mina Oh
      May 7, 2017 at 8:29 pm

      Hello Heather! Delicious not gorgeous lol. Your version is Chinese Korean Italian!

  • Reply
    Gabriel "Gabe" Santiago
    May 2, 2017 at 11:40 pm

    Back in March, you said that I was “generous”, calling you a cook. I was not being so generous as much as I was being honest. Your latest mukbang vlog only reinforces my initial claim. You are a very good cook! Watching you “chow-down”, as they say in the military, was a vicarious experience. Next time I would love to see your next mukbang on an Puerto Rican or Cuban meal that you make from scratch, or at least from a local eatery that prepares such meals. Thanks for another delicious experience; nicely done! 👍

    • Reply
      Mina Oh
      May 7, 2017 at 8:30 pm

      I’m an experimental cook haha. The ingredients are like paint supplies and the pan/plate a canvas 🙂

  • Reply
    Thea Pham
    May 31, 2017 at 8:00 am

    I’m thinking about this recipe then I found yours 😀 I will try it tomorrow when I buy enough ingredients. Thank you!! Waiting for your new videos every week!

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