One of my favorite Korean-Chinese dishes is noodles with black bean sauce also known as jja jang myung. The perfect side dish that is mandatory when having jja jang myun is tangsuyuk. Tangsuyuk is a sweet and sour pork dish that consists of crispy fried pork or beef coated in a tart and sweet sauce laced with pineapple, bell peppers, and other vegetables. Serve with black bean noodles or as the main course with a side of rice.
- 2 cup potato starch
- 4 cups water
- 1 lb pork butt, sliced paper thin
- salt and pepper
- 4 cloves, minced
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1/2 onion, thinly sliced
- 2 medium carrots, thinly sliced
- 1 bell pepper, chopped
- 1/2 cup pineapple chunks with juices
- 1 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup vinegar
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp cornstarch mixed with 1/4 cup water
- 1 egg white
- oil for frying
- Combine potato starch and water in a large bowl, stirring to combine. Let sit for 3-4 hours until the starch sinks to the bottom of the bowl.
- Season the pork with salt, pepper, and minced garlic. Cover and chill until ready to use.
- Meanwhile, prepare the sauce. Heat 1 tbsp oil over medium heat in a wok or medium sauce pan. Add the onions, carrots and bell peppers and cook until softened, about 6-7 minutes. Add the pineapple with its juices - soy sauce. Stir to combine and let simmer for 3-4 minutes. Add the cornstarch slurry and cook an additional 2 minutes. The sauce should be slightly thick and shiny. Keep warm.
- Preheat frying oil to 350 degrees F.
- Drain the water from the potato starch and water mixture. Add the egg white and stir with your hands until well combined; the starch will be slightly stiff but will give in to pressure. Add 1/4 of the pork to the starch and mix to coat the pork. Clump each pork slice to form long pieces. Carefully add a small batch of the pork to the heated oil and fry until crispy, about 5 minutes. Remove and drain on a paper-towel lined tray. Repeat with the remaining pork, first coating with the starch mixture than frying in batches.
- Fry the pork once more.
- Reheat the sauce. Transfer fried pork to platter and spoon the sauce on top. Serve immediately.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
The trick to achieving crispy pork in tangsuyuk is all in the potato starch batter. Potato starch is commonly used for tangsuyuk and some packages even come with directions written on them.
Soaking the potato starch in water draws out the excess starch; think of it when you soak your potatoes in water before frying. If you haven’t tried this method before, I encourage you to do so. Soak cut potatoes in water for one hour, drain and pat dry. Fry the potatoes and you end up with crispy french fries! The reason behind why this works gets technical so I won’t bore you with the scientific details, but trust me, it works.
After draining the water from the potato starch, you will be left with a stiff mound of starch. It may look as hard as rock, but once you dig your hand into the mix, you will realize that it can easily be manipulated. The starch “melts” back into the mixture immediately after being handled and returns to the original stiff state, but can easily be disturbed.
As for the meat, I prefer using pork butt but you can also use pork loin or beef. Ask your butcher to slice the pork butt paper thin or if using pork loin, pound until 1/4 inch thick and cut into strips.