Zha Jiang Mian, or Fried Sauce Noodles, is a classic Chinese comfort food made from a luscious dark soybean sauce and ground pork, served over a bowl of thick wheat noodles. This recipe pumps up the meat and veggies per bowl to make a complete main dish serving.
So you know those tubs of black bean paste or sauce you see in Asian grocery stores? Well drop that can and walk away from the bean aisle in your regular supermarket if in a pinch because these are not black turtle beans at all! Nope and hopefully I am not the only one that feel a bit dumb right now. Turns out the main ingredient of these pastes/sauces is fermented black soybeans (douchi in Chinese). They are the base of many Chinese dishes with their sharp, salty and pungent flavors. Black bean sauce is truly the backbone of the Zha Jiang Mian dish.
China here I come
OMG guess what? I have huge exciting news! I am going to Beijing, China in February. Cannot tell you how freaking excited I am, I cannot stop talking about it. It’s a crazy time of the year to go but I found a ticket Montreal to Beijing for 507$ CAD.
Yep, you read that right and yes that is a round trip! And I already have my Chinese Visa in hand!
It will still be winter (infinitely milder than Quebec), polluted, and I arrive just after the first part of the Lunar New Year, days after the most insane time to travel in China. Quieter in the second week of the Spring Festival, the celebrations end with the Lantern Festival.
I will see the Lantern Festival in real life. And I will skip over to the Great Wall of China as well. It is going to be so amazing and this trip will become part of my crazy vacations list which will inspire many future posts I am sure. They eat weird stuff over there ya’know!
Chinese Comfort Food
What better way to celebrate this news with you than with a Beijing dish. And it would be a perfect side dish to these Honey Soy Chicken Thighs with Baby Bok Choi. Well technically it is a common dish found all over China and it slightly varies from one region to another. But it is particularly common in Beijing because the dish is served on wheat noodles rather than rice, a northern Chinese cuisine trait. I slightly modified this recipe on the Chinese Grandma blog so a serving would satisfy as a single main dish. Zha Jiang Mian is the ultimate comfort food in China, it is their Mac and Cheese.
Zha Jiang Mian is luscious, meaty, hearty and salty. But impossible (for me) to eat with chopsticks lol!
Zha Jiang Mian | Chinese Pork Sauce Noodles
- 1 pound ground pork
- Cooking oil
- 1 medium onion
- 4 cups napa cabbage
- 1 medium zucchini
- 1 cup thin sliced mushrooms
- 2 slices ginger
- 1/3 cup black bean sauce ground
- 1/3 cup hoisin sauce
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1/4 cup chicken broth
- 1/2 cup water
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 3 tablespoons water
- 1/2 teaspoon pure sesame oil
- cooked zha jiang noodles or udon noodles
- small cucumber julienned
- Prep your veggies: Chop onions in 1/4" dice. Chop the leafy part of the napa cabbage in large pieces around 2 inches big and chop in 1/4" dice the stalk (white parts). Chop zucchini in 1/4" dice. Slice mushrooms in thin slices.
- Over medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet. Cook onions until softened; remove and set aside in a big bowl. Add a little oil and cook cabbage until almost translucent; remove and add to onions in bowl. Add zucchini and mushrooms, cook briefly until softened, add to the bowl.
- Add a bit more oil to the skillet and cook ground pork until no more pink is visible, remove and set aside in a bowl.
- Add 3 tablespoons of oil and the slices of ginger to the skillet. Mix in the ground bean sauce and hoisin sauce. Stir until the sauces are just bubbling. Mix the pork back into the skillet and cook for another minute. Remove the ginger slices and mix back in all the vegetables. Stir well until everything is coated.
- Stir in the soy sauce, water and chicken broth. Mix cornstarch with water and add it to the skillet. Cook until the sauce begins to thicken. Stir in well the sesame oil at the end.
- Slice cucumber thinly on the diagonal. Then take one little stack of cucumber slices at a time and cut thin matchsticks. Set aside for garnish.
- Serve the sauce over a portion of cooked noddles and top with a small bunch of julienned cucumbers.
Here are a few more authentic Chinese recipes for you to try:
OMG it’s 11am… too early for lunch? This made me so hungry! Def saving this recipe and making it at some point 🙂
is it ever really too early for lunch 😉 So looking forward to trying it there. I was told to go to Old Beijing Zhajiang Noodle King or here 海碗居老北京炸酱面大王总店
This is what an Asian comfort dish looks like! Ohhh I so miss Hong Kong
Did you eat this one in Hong Kong? Got any other dishes to recommend to try that may not be in travel books so much?
China is on my bucket list, too, but Bill does not have any desire to go! Phooey. But I can live vicariously through you! A trip of a lifetime. Your noodles look yummy!
Oh poo on Bill, find a friend to go with and leave him at home lol. I hope you’ll enjoy my posts on it.
No, sweetie. I’m staying in DaLang, Dongguan city. 🙂 It’s a lovely place so you should definitely visit me if you’re around for the next 6 months. x
Ah too bad, I will be strictly in the north and not gone very long. I will not have time. Would have been so fun. have a blast!
How exciting for you! I’m sure it will be an amazing experience in every way, food wise included. This recipe looks really delicious. Keep practicing with those chopsticks, you’re going to need them 🙂
Thank you Colleen and yes will have to practice with the chopsticks even more ahead of time lol.
I’m staying in China right now and I often prepare noodles for my friends. They are so yummy!
Are you serious Agness, where in China? Near Beijing?
Aha Jiang Mian? Wow, I never seen this noodles in this format…I sure must give a try…Evelyne, you will have a blast in Beijing…so much to see…I already look forward to see all the pictures…
Hope you are having a wonderful week 🙂
Thank you Juliana hope you try the dish. Have you been to Beijing? Any insider secret recommendations that are not in the guide books? Have a great week!
Looks like a delicious and easy recipe! Have a fantastic time on your trip…sounds like it will be a trip of a lifetime!
Thank you Jo-Anna! It will be up there with a few trips of a lifetime under my belt already but Asia is a first 🙂
Oh yum!! This sounds amazing. And enjoy your trip!! 🙂
Thank you so much Hilary!
Wow, so happy for you! China?! Definitely a place I want to visit. You’ll have a great time, I’m sure. And we’ll all have a great time if we make this — sounds wonderful. And I love fermented black beans (have you ever tried the dried, salted ones — not the sauce? Truly addictive.) BTW, I’m taking off the rest of the year, so I’d like to wish you happy holidays!
Thank you so much John! I hope you make it too! No I have not tried the snack version of the fermented black beans but you just put it on my list! Hope you give the dish a try I think you will love it.
Thank you and a big Happy Holidays to you and the Misses!
I’m with Tandy’s comment – China is most definitely on my bucket list – dishes like this remind me how much I love the food. Good tip on the Chinese black beans. Have fun my friend.
Thank you so much Anna! Hope you make it some day too!
I just want to play with those noodles. Like braid them… HAHAHAHAHAHHAHA! Would that be acceptable? AND BOOOO YA to your TRIP TO CHINA!! I am actually going to South East Asia in 3 weeks! YEE YEEE!! Travel kicks ass!
I know they are so fun, udon are my fave and yep like a toy. Woohoo going back to Asia after Taiwan! Lucky you too! Too bad not at the same time or place. travel RULES!
I love hoisen sauce, but it is that one ingredient that I never use when making recipes.. I always feel so scared of incorporating its strong flavor without a written recipe to follow! Great post, looks delicious! <3
Thank you so much Gingi and yeah I am intimidated by hoisin too, in this case it actualyl lightens things up with the sweetness compared to the salty bean paste.
Wow, that’s exciting news. My grandfather said China was one place to visit before you die. Given how well travelled he was I trust his opinion. Have a super time.
Thank you so much Tandy, a wise grandfather 🙂
Haha I was the opposite. I thought that black turtle beans were like Chinese black beans. SO different! And how exciting to be visiting China! 😀 Are the visas super expensive for you guys too?
OMG that is too funny you thought the opposite of turles beans, but makes sense both ways lol. Yes the visa was 146$ CAD, how much is it for you in Australia? Have you been to Beijing?
Well I am definitely envious. Lucky you! I’ve always wanted to go to China. And I learned something new today, about the beans, interesting! Have a great fun trip!!!
Thanks Pam I will make the most of it for sure. Yeah I was surprised about the beans too.
It sauce looks very delicious! Have fun in Beijing, Evelyne.
Thank you Angie, I will!