Minced Pork Noodles—Zha jiang mian 炸酱面 is a famous noodle dish across the country. However, you may see many restaurants offer it as Beijing style Zhajiangmian on their menu. But its territory is far beyond Beijing.
The highlight of this noodle lay in the minced pork sauce or pork gravy. And this pork gravy changes from northern China to Southern China with the most two essential sauces stay the same: sweet bean sauce and soybean paste. We have a very similar soup noodle in Sichuan cuisine "杂酱面". Although they sound similar, but they are two different dishes.
To make authentic zha jiang mian, we need yellow soybean paste(黄豆酱). There are several varieties here. In generally, they are called "黄豆酱". The three ones in the following picture are the most famous and popular ones.
The most famous one used for Beijing Zha Jiang Mian is the dried yellow soybean paste “干黄酱” from a famous brand "六必居". If you are living in China or visiting China, purchasing several packages should be a good option. But it might be quite hard to find outside China. The paste is very thick with strong aroma.
Other types of soybean paste are much thin but much easier to find. Just search your local Asian markets and ask for "黄豆酱".
Another important of this dish is Tian Mian Jiang "甜面酱", a fermented wheat paste. This one is much easier to find in markets. Just show them the characters. No matter which brand you get, it should be 100% ok for this recipe. If you cannot find it in nearby markets, check this one and purchase it directly from China.
The best ratio of the two sauces recommended are 2:1 (yellow bean paste VS sweet wheat paste). Firstly, mix 2-3 tablespoons of yellow bean paste and 1 to 1.5 tablespoons of sweet wheat paste with 300ml warm water. Stir to combine well.
Then prepare your vegetables, cucumber, cabbage, carrots, celery and scallion all works fine.
Add around 1 tablespoon of cooking oil in pan and fry the diced pork until withered and slightly browned. This is the process why we say it is "fried" sauce. Pour in Chinese cooking wine for a more pure taste. Move the pork to the edges of the pan, add garlic and ginger, fry over slow fire until aromatic. Slow down the fire, otherwise the ginger and garlic might be burnt.
Pour in our mixed sauce, dark soy sauce and let it simmer for 15 minutes over slowest fire. Mix in sugar.
If necessary, turn up the fire and thicken the sauce slightly.
Blanch the vegetables and cook the noodles. I highly recommend you using fresh handmade noodles. Top the sauce and serve immediately. Since this is a dry-mixed noodle dish, I high recommend matching it with a warm soup. I cook lotus root soup this time, but egg drop soup, and tofu soup are also great matches.
Zhajiangmian—Minced Pork Noodles
- fresh noodles for serving ,instruction for handmade noodles
Side vegetables, adjust the amount accordingly
- fresh cucumber as needed ,shredded
- carrots as needed ,shredded
- scallion white as needed ,shredded
- 400 g minced pork ,or diced pork belly
- 1 inch root ginger ,finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic ,minced
- 2-3 tbsp. yellow bean paste ,see Note 1
- 1-1.5 tbsp. sweet wheat paste ,tianmianjiang
- 300 ml warm water
- 1 tbsp. cooking wine
- 1 tbsp. dark soy sauce
- ½ tsp. sugar
- Add around 1 tablespoon of cooking oil in pan and fry the diced pork until withered and slightly browned. This is the process why we say it is “fried” sauce. Pour in Chinese cooking wine for a more pure taste. Move the pork to the edges of the pan, add garlic and ginger, fry over slow fire until aromatic. Slow down the fire, otherwise the ginger and garlic might be burnt.
- Pour in our mixed sauce, dark soy sauce and let it simmer for 15 minutes over slowest fire. Mix in sugar. If necessary, turn up the fire and thicken the sauce slightly.
- Blanch shredded carrot for around 30 seconds and cook the noodles according to the instruction. Top the sauce and serve immediately. Since this is a dry-mixed noodle dish, I high recommend matching it with a warm soup.
Hi, Elaine -
Can you give me an idea of how many servings this makes? If you could include this information at the beginning of future recipe postings, it might be very helpful to your followers. Thanks!
Paul, I have been struggling about it when posting the recipe. The meat sauce can serve around 8 to 10 servings of noodles and we usually do not eat it up within one meal. So I did not give the actual serving size. I will add that information for sure. Thanks for your suggestion.
How would you make the Sichuan version of zha jiang mian?
It is on the plan. Will be finished next month.
Great! Looking forward to it
This is an amazing dish. We've substituted with ground beef and also added cubed butternut squash, frying in the rendered pork fat before adding the other ingredients, both to great effect. Your transliterations are really helpful, and the lady in our Asian grocery story seemed thrilled to direct me to her favorite brand of Tian Mian Jiang.
Making handfresh noodles is pretty daunting for an amateur cook such as myself, but is fresh noodles from a Korean or Chinese supermarket okay?
Yes, both types can work fine.
For yellow soy bean paste; if you cannot find any Chinese version will doenjang work?
Doenjang creates great flavors too, although different.
I never really put any effort in searching for the dried soybean paste here in Germany as you wrote it might be hard to find outside China. Recently I discovered that both Chinese grocery stores in my town sell it from 王致和 (Wangzhihe) brand and one sells the 六必居 brand, too. I was however a little bit confused as on the packaging the brand name is written 居必六 (reading from left to right) but it's the same on your photo. So maybe this ingredient is not so hard to find outside China in stores either run by Chinese or catering to a lot of Chinese customers.
If you don't want to make fresh noodles what can you substitute with?
Try this recipe yesterday and was absolutely great. Thanks!
Thanks for the feedback, Juliana.
So good! Prepared following the directions and it came out just as shown in the helpful video. A very fresh and light dish with the cucumbers giving nice crunch and coolness.