Jja jang myun is a guilty rib-sticking noodle dish from China that is widely popular among Koreans as well. Koreans have their own version of the dish with black bean sauce while the Chinese version uses a brown bean sauce. The sauce may differ slightly but both dishes consist of noodles tossed in a bean sauce cooked with meat and often garnished with sliced cucumber. I’ve tried both versions but I noticed how the Chinese eat their dish often depends on the cook; I’ve never tasted two that were exactly alike from different restaurants. The recipe below is my way of combining both the Korean and Chinese versions.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
If you want to try this dish but are hesitant because of the calories I suggest you use different noodles such as Asian style vermicelli flour noodles or even spaghetti.
I have a difficult time finding brown bean sauce so I usually use black bean sauce. Brown bean sauce also goes by other names such as yellow bean paste, broad bean sauce, sweet noodle sauce, and hot bean paste.
If you want to make this more like the Chinese version, omit the onion and substitute 4 scallions, sliced. Omit the zucchini as well. I personally like the addition of more vegetables just to make it lighter.
The first time I approached this recipe I did not add any vegetables except the cucumbers and found it be to just on the border of being salty. This time with the addition of zucchini, onions, and bean sprouts this dish came out nicely. It was a fresher take on the traditional jja jang myun with still a hearty black bean sauce. You can also serve the extra sauce on rice!
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