Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Korean Jja Jang Myun

Jja jang myun

I just realized I'm posting two Korean recipes in a row. Everytime I watch Korean dramas, I want to eat kim chi, seaweed soup and samgyubsal. And by the 20th episode, I find myself talking in a higher pitch, getting more animated than usual. I even have thoughts of being grabbed by my wrist suddenly by Hub who is saving me from someone, and we start running. Or if I'm particularly difficult, he grabs my legs and slings me over his strong shoulders and strides off, me pounding his back. If I've been bullied and offended, I say something like "Buoya!" and slap the offender on the face. If I'm really mad, I throw a glass of water into her face. If I was the offender, I would kneel and grab the legs of the person I want forgiveness from, walking on my knees after him/her. If you watch Korean dramas with me, and you enjoy these scenes, you'd hate having me around because I usually watch them on the floor. There's more space to roll.

Jja jang myun is the Korean version of the northern Chinese jja jiang mein, meaning deep-fried sauce noodles. The biggest difference between the two versions is that the Korean jang is black in color (because of the black bean and soy sauce) while the Chinese jiang is brown in color because brown bean paste is used. If you ask my (un)biased opinion, Chinese ja jiang mein tastes better because brown bean sauce is more fragrant and it is less threatening-looking than the tar-colored Korean jang which has a slight caramelized flavor. Although Chinese jang is the authentic version, like the Japanese gyoza which is really Chinese jiaozi or potstickers, Korean ja jang myun is more well-known. The irony is that jja jang myun was adapted for Korean taste by Chinese restauranteurs.

Korean-style Chinese black bean sauce is 'chunjang' (not doejang) and is very black and thick.

This is a super easy and inexpensive dish to prepare. You can do the sauce days earlier. There's meat, veggies and starch so it's a complete meal. I don't like potatoes in my ja jang sauce but it's up to you. Add enough veg so that the sauce is not too salty. Great dish for students who are sick of pizzas.

Korean Ja Jang Myun (serves 5-6)
500 g pork or chicken*, in cubes or minced
1 cup each of zucchini, carrots, potatoes, bell pepper, peas 
1 large brown or red onion, in small cubes
200 g Korean black bean sauce
1 T sugar (or to taste)
1 heaped T corn starch or potato starch
3 T water
1 1/2 cup water or chicken stock
drizzle of sesame oil
cucumber strips for garnish
2 T veg oil

500 g fresh or 350 g dried wheat noodles

* Pork is the traditional meat for this dish and is usually cut into cubes. I've used coarsely ground minced pork since I'm cooking extra for my in-laws and my mom.

1. Cut the veggies into small cubes. Put the oil into a heated pot and fry the onions until they become transparent. Add the meat and stir-fry until it has turned white.

2. Add the black bean sauce, stirring well. Add the harder -o-cook veg such as carrots and potatoes. Stir, add the stock/water and put the lid on.

3. Add the veggies according to their cooking time, adding the veg that cooks fastest last. I usually under-cook the veg because they continue cooking in the pot after the heat is off. Taste and add more bean sauce if necessary. Add the sugar to taste. Thicken the sauce with the corn starch mixed with the water.

4. Boil the noodles until el dente, drain well and serve the sauce on top with the cuke strips for garnish. Drizzle some sesame oil over if like.


Sonia ~ Nasi Lemak Lover said...

This Korean noodle makes me salivated! Yummy.

ann low said...

Hahaa...what a cute post on the Korean drama.
I love your Korean noodle, looks so delicious.

Jade said...

I know exactly what you mean, terri! I once had kimchi with rice for 2 whole weeks after watching Love at Harvard.. at least i think that's what it's called. Only You's a good one to watch as well. And I tried the namyee pork belly, had it with chicken rice and cucumber..sooo comforting to come home to after a long day in hospital :)

Anonymous said...

Hahaha..I think you must be watching Korean dramas “Couple or Trouble”, where the main cast, rude Anna Jo loves eating Jja Jang Myun all the time after she lost her memory.

Anonymous said...

That's hilarious! You're quite spot on when you point out how OTT (over the top) K-dramas are. But then, the HK dramas are OTT, too. But that's why they're so interesting to watch! :)

the lunch guy said...

if everyone is confessing to following korean tv then i may as well too: http://www.mysoju.com/iljimae/

for me its the ones set in past historical (hysterical) periods. i got the bug watching korean period piece movies (because i ran out of japanese and chinese ones) and discovered the tv dramas as well.

this dish looks great, the color is what i like the most. (I am envious of your photo taking abilities, something i have to work on.) the emporium here in bkk has an entire section of korean food stuffs so i think i will have no problem finding the paste so i can compare it to the chinese one.

i spent 10 days in korea visiting friends a few years back and i have been a fan of their cuisine ever since. extremely varied, not just bbq and kimchi. i highly recommend korea for foodies who like to travel. if possible get your hands on some fermented pumpkin beer which is drunk warm because it is still basically brewing/fermenting.

thanks for the inspiration as always.

javapot said...

ha ha ha, am with u on this though my usual fix would be kim chi. enjoy watching the actress stuffing their face silly and yet remain so slim!

daomingsi said...

Hai Terri,

Is it easy to get Korean food products in the supermarkets around KK or do you go to a Korean specialty shop? Thanks.

Plain Jane said...

:-) You never fail to entertain me! Have a great week & see you Sunday!

NEE said...

i have this in melbourne before. yum! but not in korea...mmmm i wonder why. anyway thanks for recipe. love the galbi gim one too been wanting to do that one also.

solid wood furniture said...

I am really fond with Asian dishes and this one is so delicious! I made some of this and I am glad with the result!

fishm0i said...

Hahaha~ Reading your posts makes me wanna watch Korean Dramas back already! mysoju.com have alot of K-Dramas.... >:))

Hong Ming said...

YUMYUMYUMYUMYUMYUM! When are you flying over to cook for your dear boy who has been eating canned beans and Bov Pasta the past 2 weeks! :D

terri@adailyobsession said...

sonia: noodles make a good change once in a while

anncoo: true isn't it, what i said? but they manage to do it well.

jade: i didn't like the girl in love at harvard. she was very 'jiao':D but have you watched my name is kim sam soon? i enjoyed tt! the girl is fun n silly n down to earth

anon: oh i haven;t watched tt. yet :)

lunch guy: you watch korean dramas ?! haha is it bc of the riots n you can't go out?

i love korean cusine, we all do in the family except my hub. i plan to take him to korea (where i stayed for 3 weeks doing a banking course) one day n i'm confident he'll come away loving korean food. most ppl dismiss korean food as too humble, too spicy, too little meat. they don't get it.

you watch chinese dramas too? i only watch the period dramas, full of beautiful costumes (esp the mainland chinese dramas), traditions n ancient history. i avoid the present day dramas, all rubbish. i totally hate taiwanese dramas. the acting is the most exaggerated, over the top n the actresses all look the same bc they go to the same plastic surgeon.

javapot: did u notice they eat their instant noodles straight from the pot? the japs would roll their eyes..

daomingsi: i go to korean mini markets, many here. lots of koreans live here on the second home program. they found malaysia's best kept secret!

plainjane: you mean i see you bc you're always on stage:DD

nee: bc in korea jja jang myun is found in chinese restaurants??

aggie: u r the second one to mention soju so i must check tt.

ming: u eat canned food? ha. and i can fly.

fresh said...

mostly i watch movies, all kinds except ghost movies, slasher movies and messy alien movies. i particularly like the korean detective stories or romantic comedies. recently i have watched almost everything that Jun Ji-hyun and Min-a shin have been in. good detective/crime style dramas would be Memories of Murder, Chaser and Old Boy. and it all goes good with bbq & kim chi.

and if you go there, rent a car and go to this place: [ http://www.sacred-destinations.com/south-korea/haeinsa.htm ] Haeinsa (해인사, "Reflections on a Smooth Sea") is an important Buddhist temple on Gaya Mountain in Gyeongsang province, South Korea. Founded in the 9th century and rebuilt in the 19th century, it is best known for its complete copy of the Buddhist scriptures, the Tripitaka Koreana.

in that same general area are some hot spring spas. you can sit in the springs outside and look up at the mountains and the snow and simply forget about the rest of the world.

all followed by bbq & kim chi.

javapot said...

this is a late response but my theory on why they eat noodles from the pot is because there would be less utensils to wash up. Also I think their kitchen are generally small (probably like your daughter's (read in one of latest post) and probably not much storage for proper utensil etc.) Btw have u tried eating from the pot together with the lid as plate??? Ha ha ha, just for the fun of it, it was interesting and to some extent glad I didn't need to wash extra at the end but think I was brought up differently so its proper bowl for me.

Glad u are enjoying your trip - i'm enjoying your posts.

sin said...

hi. nice recipe. may i know whre i can buy that black bean paste?been searching for long time. can u kindly email me at okirasan@gmail.com
tq so much

Unknown said...

2 la...kt mna nk cari black bean past ni?,,

Unknown said...

Mana nak dpt black bean paste ni ya?

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