The Korean girl inside me was begging to crawl out this week. I had such a hankering for one of my favorite childhood meals, ja jang myun.
Ja jang myun is basically noodles (myun) with black bean sauce (I'm guessing that's the ja jang?) - a fairly simple meal, but OH SO VERY DELISH!
It's hard to get my mom to write all of her wonderful Korean recipes down (if you're a fellow Kimchi Mama, you'll know what I mean). Each time I ask, she gives me guesstimates of what she throws in and of course, each time I try to duplicate, it's never as good as my umma's (mom's).
Except for this time.
This week I attempted and totally rocked this dish! And because I try to share, I will.
Kim's Yummy Ja Jang Myun
You'll need the following ingredients:
Ja jang noodles. Just go to your local Korean market and ask for ja jang noodles. (You can also use spaghettti noodles, if you must, but it is just not the same).
A tub (or jar) of Black Bean Paste. You'll find plenty of this at your local Korean market.
2 medium sized potatoes
2 medium sized green peppers
1 large onion (yellow or white)
1 pound of beef (or any other kind of meat that you'd like), ground or cubed
Clean & cube your veggies.
Scoop the paste onto a side dish and set aside.
Drain any excess oil into a bowl (a little of this will be used later).
Clean the pan.
Heat up 2 TBSP of dark sesame oil.
Saute the cubed potatoes for 2 minutes.
Set aside (I dumped mine on top of the browned beef).
Saute the cubed onions and green peppers for 2 minutes.
Wait! I found shredded carrots in the fridge that need to be eaten... I'll just throw those in, too.
Add 3 cups of water.
Mix in the sauteed Black Bean Paste.
Bring to a boil and let boil uncovered for approximately 10-15 minutes, until liquid is reduced to about 1 cup (and potatoes should be tender).
ALSO?! This is where I mixed in 1/2 cup of frozen peas that I had in the freezer - they'll defrost and warm up in the steaming hot sauce - no need to put back on fire.
To cook the myun (noodles), follow the directions on the package.
Basically it's just like cooking spaghetti: boil water, add noodles; HOWEVER these noodles should NEVER EVER BE AL DENTE and they shouldn't be over-cooked (I believe the package says just 3 minutes). The noodle should be soft and elastic.
Rinse with cold water.
De-tangle with a little bit of that left-over oil that we saved (remember? the flavor of that dark sesame oil combined with the flavor of the sauteed black bean paste will totally rock those noodles)
Plate some noodles. Spoon over some sauce. Garnish with julienned cucumber and a sprinkling of some roasted sesame seeds (available at your local Korean market).
(The amount of sauce that I made could serve approximately 8, and the amount of noodles that I made could serve approximately 3-4).