Fried Sauce Noodles（炸酱面 zha jiang mian, pronounced “djah dzyahng myehn”, literally “fried sauce noodles”）is one of the most popular noodle dishes in China, especially in Beijing, where it is a local specialty. It consists of wheat noodles topped with a sauce made from pork and seasoned with sweet flour paste AKA tianmianjiang (甜面酱). It’s also super easy to make at home and makes a great 1 bowl meal. Unlike Italian meat sauce, which takes an afternoon to simmer, the “fried sauce” of this dish takes less than 30 minutes to prepare, making it a great weekday meal too. Enjoy!
(I forgot to take a picture of the noodles this time! Next time I make it, I will update the post with a picture. :))
Ingredients: Serves 2
200 grams dried Chinese wheat flour noodles (such as: Shandong lamian), or 300 grams fresh Chinese wheat flour noodles
2 tbsp cooking oil
1 tsp whole Sichuan peppercorns (optional)
1 star anise (optional)
1 tbsp minced ginger
2 green onions, finely chopped (separate white and green parts)
1/2 lb ground pork
1 tbsp Shaoxing wine
2 tbsp sweet flour paste (甜面酱), or 1.5 tbsp sweet flour paste + 1/2 tbsp chili bean paste (豆瓣酱) if you want it a little spicy
1 stalk celery, finely diced (optional, probably not traditional but I like to add it)
about 1 cup water or broth
1 tsp cornstarch + 1 tbsp water (optional)
1/2 tsp sesame oil (optional)
1 Persian cucumber, julienned (or equal amount of other cucumber) (you can substitute with, or add to it any other crispy vegetable, like lightly blanched mung bean sprouts)
1. Bring a pot of water to a boil for cooking noodles. Meanwhile, prepare the sauce.
2. Add oil, Sichuan pepper and star anise to a wok. Heat over medium-high until hot and fragrant. When the oil is hot and you can smell the fragrance of the spices, remove the spices and leave as much oil as you can in the wok.
(Step 2 is optional. If not using the spices, just heat a wok and add oil.)
(Instead of a wok, you can also use another kind of pan or pot.)
3. Over high heat, add the ginger and white part of the green onions, stir-fry 5 seconds or so.
4. Then add the pork and break up with the spatula.
6. When half cooked, add the Shaoxing wine and continue cooking.
7. Once the pork is fully cooked and there is no juice left in the wok, make a well in the middle of the pork and allow the oil to drain into the well.
8. Add the sweet flour paste and chili bean paste (if using) into the well and stir-fry 15 seconds, so the paste gets fragrant and distributed through the oil.
9. Add the celery if using, then stir-fry everything and combine together for a minute.
10. Then pour in the water or broth, to cover all of the pork well. Bring to a boil. Then lower the heat to medium and simmer for about 10 minutes.
11. Meanwhile, cook the noodles in the boiling water until they are fully cooked. Drain well and rinse under cold running water briefly. Dry well. Divide between 2 serving bowls.
12. If the sauce is thick to your liking, you can turn off the heat. If not thick enough, add the corn starch mixture and stir well until thick. Then turn off the heat. Stir in sesame oil if using.
13. Pour the sauce over the noodles in the bowls. Garnish with julienned cucumber and green onions.