Jajangmyeon has always been one of my favorite foods since I was a child. Before I even know what umami was I knew there was something special about this dish. The blend of beef or pork with vegetable juices, sugar, and fermented black bean sauce is incredible. As a kid I would look forward to weekend visits to the local Korean Chinese restaurant in Massachusetts to eat this dish with tangsooyook, fried sweet and sour pork.
Recently in New York there have been some interesting versions of this dish, my favorite one is at Hanjan on Monday nights. Some other new entrants to the New York dining scene are at Madame Zhu’s a Shanghainese restaurant and David Chang’s Momofuku Nishi. The one at Hanjan has very high quality ingredients and a spicy kick. The one at Madame Zhu’s has the thinnest noodles with a traditional Chinese taste. The one at Momofuku Nishi tastes more like an Americanized version, it is quite spicy and comes with a fried egg upgrade. If you want to go try this dish at the most traditional Korean Chinese setting I would go to Hyo Dong Gak on 35th street.
Woohoo! Bae brought me home #jajangmyeon from #hanjan tonight! My favorite #짜장면 in the city cuz the ingredients taste so fresh and it's spicy. Added a 🍳fried egg on top. Also available on @doordash #hanjan26 #doordash #jajangmyun #koreanfood #jjajangmyeon #jjajangmyun #한잔 #자장면#ilovekoreanfood#koreanfoods#koreanfoodporn#koreanfoodie#kfood #friedegg #eggstagram #nyceats#nycfoodie#nycfoodies#nyceaaaaats#eatingnewyork #koreannyc @hanjan.nyc @korean_nyc
Although there are many options in NYC, jajangmyeon always ends up tasting very heavy at restaurants. I think this is because more of the oil from the pork makes its way into the sauce. I wanted to try making a lighter version of this staple Chinese Korean dish. The only special ingredient you need to make jajangmyeon is the black bean sauce which you can purchase on Amazon or buy at a local Korean store for $3.99.
Jajngmyeon is traditionally made with pork but I used a mixture of low fat ribeye and baby octopus for this version. I also like to use grass fed 85% lean beef for this dish too sometimes.
Shopping for Jajangmyeon ingredients at HMart
1. Chop your vegetables. The delicious vegetables juices that are released when you sautée the vegetables in the wok are one part of the amazing depth of the sauce.
2. Marinate your beef
3. Stir Fry
Fry the black bean sauce with the olive oil for 1-2min first before adding the vegetables.
In a separate pan stir fry the beef. Make sure not to over fry or the beef will become too chewy.
I don’t have a photo of stir frying the baby octopus but also fry this in a separate pan for 2min.
Combine all the sauteed jajangmyeon sauce elements together
Boil the noodles 4-5min min, top with sauce, and garnish with sliced cucumbers. This dish is usually enjoyed with a side of Korean daikon pickles, danmuji.
Jajangmyeon a staple Korean Chinese fusion dish black bean sauce with noodles. Garnish with sliced cucumbers and serve with danmuji, Korean pickled radish, on the side.
- 5 tbsp black bean sauce
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 small cabbage
- 2 onions
- 1 large or 2 medium zucchini
- 1 medium potato
- 1 lb ribeye steak or flank steak
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 1.5 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp grated ginger
- Salt & pepper
- .5 lb baby octopus cleaned (optional)
- 2 tbsp oyster sauce
- 3/4 tbsp red pepper powder gochugaru
- 1 pack of jajangmyeon noodles (4 portions)
- 1 small cucumber
- 1 package Korean pickled daikon
- Chop the cabbage, onions, zucchini, and potato into small bite size pieces
- Cut the beef into bite size pieces. Marinate the beef with the 2 cloves minced garlic, 1.5 tbsp soy sauce, ½ tbsp grated ginger, 1 tsp salt, and 1 tsp pepper.
- Fry the 2btsp olive oil, 2 tbsp sugar, and 5 tbsp black bean sauce in a wok over medium heat for 2 min. Then add the potato and onion and fry for an additional 2 minutes. Add the cabbage and zucchini and stir fry until ingredients are cooked through and soft.
- Stir fry the marinated beef for 2 minutes until cooked on the outside but rare on the inside.
- Stir fry the baby octopus in another pan with the 2tbsp oyster sauce until cooked through. Don’t overcook this or they will become too chewy. Cut the cooked baby octopus into bite size pieces.
- Combine the stir fried vegetables, beef, octopus together in one large pot. Make sure not to lose any of the juices from the vegetables or meat. Season this sauce with the red pepper powder and additional salt, pepper, and sugar to your taste.
- Boil the noodles for 5 minutes, making sure to stir the pot so the noodles do not stick together.
- Drain the noodles and do not rinse them under cold water so they remain as hot as possible. Top with the sauce and garnish with cucumber matchstick slices and serve with Korean pickled daikon on the side.