Saturday, April 4, 2009

Zhajiang Mein/Jajangmyun

Korea has a fun tradition for all those preparing for "April Love". The tradition goes as follows, on Feburary 14th, Koreans celebrate Red day. Although similar to Valentine's Day, there are some specific guidelines one must follow on Red Day, namely, only the women give Valentine's to the men. This is significant, because Korea is a male dominated society and this allows for the women to be assertive in dating and for it to be acceptable. In fact it's quite competitive as to who got what from whom.
The next month on March 14th is White Day, when the men give gifts to women. If the man likes the woman sender, then he must return the favor by giving the woman chocolate, candy, flowers, etc. Girls are very competitve also as to who go what-the bigger, the better follows here.
Finally, just as spring is really in full bloom it's time for Black Day. On Black day, all those men and women who did not receive anything go out and eat Jaja Myun (Black noodles). It is a noodle dish with a tasty dark (black) sauce served on top. The idea is that, all those that didn't receive anything can mingle together and hopefully next year they will be sending gifts on Red and White Day. When it comes to the dating game Korea has many options as to how to go about it. This is only one of them. I hope you all get to experience this and hopefully won't have to eat Jaja Myun, but if you do, it's a really good dish!
This is my version of the Black Noodle which i made a black gravy/sauce like Jajangmyun and the toppings of ground pork, onions, cucumber which is like the chinese - Zhajiang Mein


1 pkt of wheat noodle of choice(follow instruction to cook from the back of pack)

1 lb Gound Pork
2 tsp shaoxing wine
2 tbsp light soya sauce
1/4 cup chopped garlic
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
3 tbsp oil
1 onion - cut into bite-size
1 cucumber - cubed - center removed
1 small carrot - cubed
1 tbsp oil
salt and pepper to taste
Chopped spring onions for garnishing
1/2 cup chopped shallots
1/4 cup chopped garlic
1 tbsp grated ginger
2 tbsp Lee Kum Kee Black bean garlic sauce
2 tbsp Hoisin sauce
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp corn syrup
2 tbsp shaoxing rice wine
2 tbsp Thick Caramerl Sauce - Yuen Chun Longivity Brand
2 tbsp oil
2 cups water
2 tbsp cornstarch mixed with 2 tbsp water

Preheat wok and add in oil.
Add in the ground pork and cook it until it is no more pink, then add in the garlic, soya sauce, wine and pepper. Remove and set aside.
Heat oil and add in onions, saute, then add in salt and pepper. Cook until the onions are sweat through. Add in the carrot and cucumber , stir fry, adding a little more salt and pepper. Remove and set aside.
To make the gravy:
Heat oil and fry the shallots, then add in the ginger and garlic. Add in the remaining ingredients except the cornstarch solution. When the gravy/sauce comes to the boil, then add in the cornstarch solution. Bring the gravy/sauce to the boil and it has thickened. Adjust taste as desired.
To serve:
Put noodles in a bowl, then top with gravy/sauce. Spoon in some ground pork and toppings.
Sprinkle in chopped spring onions and enjoy.


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