Today I’m going to introduce you to anther one bowl meal, a noodle dish called jaengban-jjajangmyeon. A jaengban is a platter, and jjajangmyeon is noodles in black sauce. If you’ve followed me for years or have watched Korean dramas you have already heard of jjajangmyeon, and maybe you made it already from my recipe.
But today I’m going to show you an upgraded, deluxe version. It’s a party-sized platter meant to be served and shared with a group of people. My earlier recipe was for the classic, simple, delivery-style jjajangmyeon, but this one uses not only meat but various seafood like squid (or cuttlefish), shrimp, or even sea cucumber. And unlike regular jjajangmyeon it’s served on a large platter with the sauce and noodles already mixed together, ready for sharing.
Jjajangmyeon has a very simple taste and is not spicy at all. It’s a bit bland but savory, with lots of meat, seafood, and crunchy pork, with just a bit of sweetness. The sauce should be smooth and creamy and the noodles should be chewy and plump. Not a big fan of seafood? Leave it out and double the amount of meat to 1 pound (16oz). Whichever you use, just be sure to serve it hot and steamy, right after you make it.
Overall jjajangmyeon has a really nice texture and it’s fun to eat and share with friends and family. When you eat this you always need some Kleenex or napkins nearby to wipe off your face. If you’re not careful the sauce will go everywhere!
Serves 2 to 4
For the sauce:
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil (or any cooking oil)
- 3 green onions, cut into 1 inch pieces
- ⅓ cup plus 1 tablespoon black bean paste (chunjang)
- 8 ounces pork shoulder (or pork belly), cut into ¼ to ½ inch cubes
- 6 ounces cabbage, cut into bite-size pieces
- 1 medium (about 4 ounces) potato, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes
- 1 large onion (8 to 10 ounces), cut into bite-size pieces
- 1 small zucchini, cut into ½ inch cubes
- 4 ounces squid (or cuttlefish), cleaned and cut into bite-size pieces
- 4 large headless shrimp (about 4 ounces), peeled, deveined, and chopped
- sugar to taste (optional, but I recommend 1 tablespoon)
- 2 tablespoons potato starch
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 2 bunches (18 ounces) jjajangmyeon noodles
Make green onion infused oil:
- Heat the vegetable oil in a small pan over medium high heat for about 1 minute.
- Lower the heat to medium and add the green onion. Fry until brown, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and strain the oil into a small bowl. Discard the fried green onion. You will get about 5 tablespoons oil.
Stir-fry the black bean paste:
- Combine 3 tablespoons infused oil and black bean paste in a small pan.
- Fry for 1 to 2 minutes until bubbling and fragrant, stirring with a wooden spoon.
- Remove from the heat.
Make the sauce:
- Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of infused oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add the pork and stir occasionally until crunchy, 5 to 6 minutes.
- Turn up the heat to high and stir in the cabbage, onion, potato, and zucchini. Cook, stirring for 5 minutes until the vegetables look a little soft.
- Push the vegetables and pork to the edges of the skillet and add the fried black bean paste, squid, and shrimp to the center. Stir and mix all together for 3 to 4 minutes, until the squid and shrimp are cooked.
- Reduce the heat to medium-high. Add 3 cups of water and stir. Cover and cook for 7 to 8 minutes, until the seafood and potato are fully cooked.
- Combine the potato starch and ¼ cup water in a bowl and mix well with a spoon. Slowly add it to the sauce in the skillet, stirring it in with a wooden spoon until the sauce thickens and become shiny.
- Stir in sugar (if you use) and sesame oil.
- Remove from the heat. Cover and set aside.
Cook the noodles:
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Uncoil the noodles and add them to the boiling water and stir with a wooden spoon.
- Cover and cook for 5 to 6 minutes until the noodles are cooked through but are still a little bit chewy. If the water starts to boil over when cooking, uncover the pot. Stir with the wooden spoon occasionally.
- Take a noodle to check if it’s done. Remove one with your chopsticks or tongs, dip into a bowl of cold water to cool it down, and then try it. It should be chewy but cooked through.
- Drain the noodles. Rinse them under cold running water, rubbing them with both hands to remove the excess starch. Drain again.
- Reheat the sauce over high heat until its bubbling.
- Add the noodles and stir with the wooden spoon for about 1 minute.
- Transfer the noodles and the sauce to a large platter and serve right away. Give everybody a bowl or plate and let them serve themselves using tongs or chopsticks. Serve with danmuji (yellow pickled radish) or kimchi on the side.