JJa jang myeon – a Korean noodle dish

There was a period in my life (back in university) when I was completely and utterly addicted to Korean pop music (Kpop) and Korean dramas. I was so engrossed in the whole ordeal that I taught myself how to read the Korean alphabet so I could surf Korean sites easily. I even frequented a Kpop forum so much that I was offered to be a moderator. I took pride in my moderator status as I was able to kick people out if they did anything wrong and I felt like I was super important.

As the forum was based in America, my sleep patterns also changed. I would stay awake throughout the night, chatting to my co-moderators and go to sleep when the birds started chirping and my parents got up to go to work. Luckily, I only had 10 hours of contact time at university which meant I had many days off a week. It didn’t make it better that we also had 3 months off during Christmas where my addictions just got worse.

I knew all the popular Kpop songs and all the famous celebrities of the time. I even met up with a co-moderator who lived in Sydney, during one of my trips there. I call those days my ‘obsessive’ days where really nothing else mattered to me.

Such a lifestyle didn’t last very long as you can imagine. Once second year uni started, I moved away from the forum. I spent less and less time there and eventually, when I went back again, most of the moderators have changed. I knew no one and no one knew me. I lost my high status and my contacts, but I also gained back my life.

I still listen to the Kpop music I downloaded from then but the playlist was from almost 10 years ago. Some of them have become classics. I still think back to those days every so often, how did I get myself so wound up in such a hobby? One thing I did get out of it though, I still hadn’t forgotten the Korean alphabet, so if I ever visit Korea, I can at least pronounce the street names and places I wanted to go. :D

One of my favourite Korean dishes and one that is very easy to prepare is the jja jang myeon (a dry noodle dish made with Korean black soybean paste). This dish originated in China (it is pronounced in a very similar way in Chinese – Zha Jiang Mian – which my mum makes at home all the time). However, the Korean version has evolved significantly since its first introduction. For one, it looks very different with its significantly darker appearance. This dish has now become a household staple and can be ordered at most Korean restaurants throughout the world.

This recipe was made by Yuye some time ago for our recipe app. It might be a bit harder for people who have never tried this dish before as it doesn’t have the prettiest appearance. It’s quite tasty though!

Jja Jang Myeon
Time to prepare: 10 minutes
Time to cook: 15 minutes
Serves 2

Ingredients

• 300g fresh wheat noodle
• 150g pork loin
• 100g daikon radish
• 1/2 zucchini
• 1 small potato
• 1/2 medium onion
• 1/2 cup korean black soybean paste
• 2 tbsp water
• 1 tbsp sugar
• 1 tbsp vegetable oil
• 50g cucumber

Instructions

1. Dice pork loin, daikon, zucchini, onion and potato into 1cm cubes. Thinly slice cucumber.
2. Heat vegetable oil in a pan at medium-high heat and fry pork until cooked.


3. Add in potato and daikon and cook for 3 minutes.
4. Add in zucchini and onion and cook for 2 minutes.


5. Stir in korean black bean paste, ensuring all meat and vegetables are evenly coated. Reduce to medium heat and cook for 1 more minute.


6. Stir in sugar and water and simmer for 2 minutes.*


7. Cook and drain noodles according to instructions. Top with jja jang myun sauce and cucumber strips and serve.

Note: Dried noodles can be used instead of fresh if unavailable. Choose a thick, white wheat-based type noodle. Vegetables used in jja jang myeon can be freely varied. Try variants with carrot, peas, brocolli etc. Beef or chicken can be used instead of pork and meat can even be omitted for a vegetarian option.

* If sauce is too thick, add some additional water to thin it out. Conversely, if sauce is too thin, add some cornflour (mixed with cold water) to thicken it up.

Question time: Have you ever had an obsession where you felt nothing else mattered in the world? Do you still have that obsession and did you get anything out of it?

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20 comments… add one

  • yummychunklet August 9, 2012, 3:05 am

    What a great looking dish!

    Reply
  • kitchenriffs August 9, 2012, 11:16 am

    This is a new dish to me – I’ve never had it. It actually looks rather intriguing. Thanks for this.

    Reply
    • Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake August 14, 2012, 11:59 pm

      I doubt a lot of people have tried this dish, unless if you’re quite into Korean food. :)

      Reply
  • Joanne August 9, 2012, 9:05 pm

    One of my coworkers LOVE Korean pop music!!

    This dish looks delicious. So full of flavor!

    Reply
    • Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake August 14, 2012, 11:59 pm

      Haha your colleague probably knows more about kpop than me now. :D This is making me feel like I need to get back into it…

      Reply
  • Agnes August 10, 2012, 8:54 pm

    Looks really good – that black soybean paste is *really* dark. Impressive!

    Reply
    • Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake August 15, 2012, 12:00 am

      I know, how dark is it right? I was a bit apprehensive when I bought the paste but it tastes deceptively good. :D

      Reply
  • Ames August 10, 2012, 10:06 pm

    Love the presentation of this dish! Looks really good, Jenny!

    Reply
  • Marta @ What Should I Eat For Breakfast Today? August 10, 2012, 11:36 pm

    I’ve never heard Korean pop, need to look for it on youtube. Great food.

    Reply
    • Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake August 15, 2012, 12:02 am

      Thanks Marta! Kpop is surprisingly popular, even in western countries…maybe because they try to mimic American pop a lot, and even the rap…you should have a listen. :)

      Reply
  • Jenn and Seth August 11, 2012, 12:01 am

    wow, such a gorgeous and delicious sounding dish!

    Reply
  • Choc Chip Uru August 11, 2012, 5:59 am

    What a stunning dish my friend :D

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

    Reply
  • choux choux August 13, 2012, 9:41 pm

    Man, I love the instant noodle variety of this dish. So yummy! I’m definitely gonna try this! When I was in my teens I was SUPER INTO myspace. Like, I had a friend from sweden and we’d chat about My Chemical Romance etc. It’s so weird how none of that matters now, but back then it was huge! Have you watched Winter Sonata?? That’s my mum’s all time favourite korean drama. We still have a 2008 calender of the main actor in our house.

    Reply
    • Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake August 15, 2012, 12:04 am

      Wow you sound quite addicted back then, but yes I totally understand the feeling…everythign seemed so much more important back in the day…I guess we’re all matured and know what’s more important in life. :P

      I LOVED Winter Sonata! It’s a classic. :) I used to watch every single Korean drama I could get my hands on, mum and I used to watch them together and we’d have boxes of tissues waiting on the table…haha

      Reply
  • KaraChiwie August 23, 2012, 8:14 pm

    I totally understand what you feel. I was in jpop and kpop songs. Not too much in forums stuff, but yeah back in the days those songs made me feel good. I still listen to those outdated songs and it still rings a bell to me. Winter Sonata, My name is Kim Sam-Soon, Coffee Prince and so on, classic dramas… Your post made want to look at dramas again.

    Never thought about doing jajamyung at home though, I’ll definitely try your recipe if I can buy black bean paste where I live!

    Reply
    • Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake August 23, 2012, 9:31 pm

      It’s great to see someone else also interested in kpop and jpop. I’m actually more into jpop these days than kpop and watch more jdramas than kdramas but I still reminisce sometimes about all those dramas I’ve watched. Some, like Winter Sonata, were great classics!

      You should try jja jang myeon at home as it’s really easy to make. Hopefully you can find the bean paste!

      Reply

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