Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Korean JaJungMyeon

Time really flies and before I know it, it is nearing the end of November...
I had promised to post about my try on Korean Jajungmyeon so here it is.

What is Jajungmyeon?

You will be surprised that this is actually a Korean version of Chinese Zhajiangmian () which originated from Shandong, China~!
It is a common dish that can be found in Korean Chinese restaurants.
My 1st try of Korean Jajungmyeon was actually in Singapore, at Raffles Place Chevron House,
This shop started my liking for Korean food. Jajungmyeon actually reminds me of my mum's cooking, thus the unusual love for this particular Korean dish.

Attempts :
This is not my first time making this simple dish. However, the 1st time was a disaster. I had followed the recipe on Maangchi.com previously but for some reason the meal turn out to be bitter. I was wondering if it could be the zucchini until I researched more and realised this.

Depending on whether the bean paste you bought has been pre-fried or roasted before, you might actually need to fry it with sugar before using it for cooking the Jajungmyeon. This is to take away the bitterness of the sauce. Ta-da~! Mystery solved. It is with anticipation that I attempt this dish again. I smell success...lolx.

This time round, I took reference to 2 recipes.1 from Korean Bapsang and another from kimchi MOM.

My Simplified recipe is as follows :

Ingredients :
(I cut away the pork skin but leave it so that I can have some oil when frying it)
(A small portion of the cucumber sliced thinly for garnishing)

- A slice of pork meat, diced.
(I opt for thigh meat as hubby says pork belly meat is too fattening. You can use pork belly or beef )
- 3 small potatoes, diced.
- 1 carrot, diced.
- 1 large onion, diced.
- 1 cucumber , set aside some cucumber, julienned and diced up the remainder.
(Note that I did not use zucchini this time as I do not want to waste the entire cucumber just for garnishing. If you want, you can add in 1 zucchini instead and have some cucumber, julienned for garnishing)
- 2 tablespoon of ChunJung, heap (Black Bean Paste)
- 1 tablespoon of oil (to fry the bean paste)
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- 1 tablespoon of potato starch
- 1 and 1/4 cup of water (1 cup for the dish and 1/4cup for the potato starch)
- Oriental Style Noodles


1) Add the black bean paste to a small saucepan with the oil, sugar, and the optional oyster sauce. Fry it over medium heat for 2 - 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Scoop the bean paste out and set aside for later use.
(If using pre-fried/roasted black bean paste, you can skip this process. Just add the sugar and the optional oyster sauce when stirring in the bean paste.) 

2)  Heat a large pan with a bit of oil over high heat.
     Add the pork and stir fry until almost cooked.
     Pour the excess oil out and remove the pork skin.

3) Add the vegetables and cook until soft, stirring occasionally.
    ( You can opt to add the carrots and potatoes in 1st before adding in the cucumbers and onions since these take a longer time to soften. For myself, I had cut them up as small as possible to speed up the cooking process.)

4)  Add bean paste to the vegetables and pork. Make sure that all ingredients are evenly coated with the bean paste.

5) Add water and let it simmer over medium high heat for about 5 minutes.

6) Mix the potato starch in 1/4 cup of water and slowly pour into the sauce while stirring.
    The sauce should thicken after some time.

7) Let the sauce simmer and add more sugar if you prefer the sauce to be sweeter.

At this point, you can opt to switch off the fire or let it simmer for a while, while you cook the noodles.

8) Bring a pot of water with some salt to boil.

9) Add in the noodles till cooked. (Careful not to overcook the noodles. It should be springy)

10 ) After draining the noodles from the pot, quickly dip into cold water before transferring to the bowls (Optional step)

11) Scoop the sauce over the noodles and garnish with cucumber.

12) Serve while hot.

I was extremely happy to succeed in getting the taste right. Upon serving to hubby, I asked after a few mouthful into the dish if this taste good. He say "yah", and continue munching.
I then tried to prompt for feedbacks such as, is it too sweet, too much, etc.
Guess what was his answer?

"Dear, really. It is delicious. Look, I am almost done with mine." And he flash me his nearly empty bowl.

At that point, I am only like 1/4 or less done with mine. If you look at the photo above, you will be able to tell that the portion is pretty huge.
Thus, I rest my case from probing for feedbacks and tuck into my humble Korean meal. =)

This post is linked to the event, Aspiring Bakers #37: Korean - Feast of Hansik (November 2013) hosted by Grace of Life can be simple .

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