Zhajiangmian:醡醬麵, fried pork in homemade black bean sauce, Sichuan peppercorn, shaoxing wine, garlic, ginger, vegetarian hoisin. Cook fresh egg noodles, mixed with scallion, top with noodles, julienned cucumber and crushed peanuts. Mix all together. Enjoy.
I add a little black vinegar and Thai chilies to my noodles, too. By the time I’m finished with my bowl, my head is sweating and I’m super happy!
Ingredients (modified from Celia Chang’s recipe in The Seventh Daughter)
peanut oil or canola oil
2.5 cups of chopped pork (I used grilled pork, but fresh, raw minced pork shoulder is normally used.)
2 tbs ginger
4 tbs grated ginger
3 tbs shaoxing wine
3 tbs Hoisin
2 tbs yellow/black bean paste [since most jars of condiments include MSG, I tend to make my own “sauce” which is grated 1tbs of ginger, 2tbs sesame oil, 3tbs fermented black bean that has been rinsed in water for at least 15min, drained, then mashed with a fork.]
(my additions: 2tbs oyster sauce, 2 tbs minced zha cai, 1 tbs chinese chives, 1/2 cup of chicken broth to create more “sauce”)
All the condiments need to be prepped and chopped. Once you finish cooking, these need to be mixed in at a moment’s notice. You can add raw bean sprouts, julienned carrot / cucumber, chopped cilantro, soy beans, or chopped-cooked mushrooms. It’s easy to be simple, however, or embellished. It is really up to you.
Put a large pot of water on boil. Keep a lid on it.
In a large wok, heat and add oil until the bottom is lightly coated. Add garlic for 15seconds and stir in pork. If already cooked, just heat through. If raw, cook until you no longer see pink. Add grated ginger, fry until fragrant (add zha cai here if you wish for a bit of a spicy/sour kick). Add bean paste, shaoxing wine and mix until well incorporated. Add thick sauces (Hoisin and Oyster). Add chicken broth (or veggie if you don’t eat meat) to thin out sauce. It should be “coat the back of a spoon” viscosity and not watery like soup. If it is, turn the heat down and let simmer until it is a bit more reduced. (The concept is you dry fry all the ingredients that need to be cooked. Adding sauces with sugars makes things caramelize, so you need the broth to thin out and reduce so that the sauce coat the noodles later.) You can turn off the wok at this point.
I like using a handheld deep strainer for boiling batches of noodles. This allows you to make smaller portions and control the cooking temperature. I take a handful of soft, fresh shanghai or thick noodles and put in at least 2 cups at a time. Sometimes, the noodles take 7 minutes to cook. I use a pair of long chopsticks to stir the noodles within the ladle while it’s cooking. I have a bowl of cold water ready to chill the noodles when they are done. I like to put my cooked noodles into a cold bath so they do not clump or stick.
Typically, I will heat the wok up once more right before serving. I have bowls ready at the kitchen counter and take the already cooked noodles, put them BACK into the ladle (one serving at a time) and drop into the boiling water to again make the noodles hot. I like putting a little chili oil and raw chopped scallions in each bowl before adding the noodles. If you want to do this at the table, you can turn out the noodles onto a large bowl, pour the sauce on top of the noodles, add condiments in piles around the noodles and toss in front of your amazed and starving guests . . (or in my case, my hungry husband.) Personally, I like heating and mixing in the wok in little batches.