Updated: Mar 11
Zhajiang Noodles is the recipe equivalent of Bolognese sauce with spaghetti in Northern
China and one of our staple family meals.
I lived in Northern China for two years where I fell in love with Northern Chinese food which includes a lot of wheat buns and noodles, like these.
“Let’s examine what ingredients you should stock up on if you are novice. Don’t be afraid to bring a list to show to the shop or market assistants.”
2 tbsp peanut oil
300g minced pork
1 tbsp ginger, chopped
1 green onion, sliced
A splash of Shaoxing wine
½ cup sweet fermented sauce (tian mian jiang) or hoisin sauce
400g wheat noodles
Various vegetables: cucumber, cabbage, carrots, peas
Put the oil in a wok and heat up.
Add the pork and sauté.
Add the ginger, green onion and the wine.
Add salt, hoisin sauce and water to cover the meat. Cook for 20 minutes at low heat until the liquid is reduced. Sauce should be seasoned with salt generously.
Julienne the vegetables.
Blanch the carrot, cabbage and peas.
Cook the noodles.
Serve noodles with meat sauce and vegetables on top.
A few shopping tips
Let’s examine what ingredients you should stock up on if you are novice. Don’t be afraid to bring a list to show to the shop or market assistants.
Sesame paste: used in Dan Dan Noodles and in countless other recipes.
Sesame oil: use to finish off fish and stir-fries.
Sweet bean sauce: goes by many names including Hoisin. It is made from soybeans and it is sweetened. For Zhajiang noodles I use tian mian jiang.
Sichuanese chili bean sauce: made from soybeans and chili. Amazing with ground pork and tofu.
Cooking oil: rapeseed, peanut or sunflower
Potato flour: key ingredient to thicken sauces
Dried shiitake mushrooms: umami flavouring in many recipes.
Smoked tofu, silken tofu, firm tofu: versatile and cheap. They absorb all the flavours.
Chili oil: drizzle over dishes
Sichuanese peppers: unexpected numbing and tingly lemony flavour.
Star anise: one of the most used spices in the Chinese kitchen, especially used in braising.
Chinese wind dried sausage: the key to amazing fried rice.
Chinese wheat noodles: different texture (chewy) to other wheat noodles.
Dried shrimp: Used in vegetable stir-fries to provide flavour.
Fermented black beans: earthy and salty ingredient. Provides a lot of flavour.