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Zhajiang Mian (AKA Chinese Spag Bol)

This is one of the dishes I HAVE to order whenever Mr Black and I go for dumplings in Ashfield. The noodles are chewy, the pork mince fragrant and rich, and the cucumber – even though I usually detest it - offers the perfect coolness and crunch in contrast. It’s also dead simple to make at home, bonus! It’s a quick dish to pull together so I’ve written the method in very simple but explicit steps so as to help out those who sometimes struggle with timing (e.g. Mr Black). Basically you pop some water on to boil, make your sauce, chuck the noodles in to cook and prep your cucumber while it boils. As soon as the noodles are done, drain them and throw it all together.

Ingredients

(makes 4 serves)
  • 5 spring onions, finely chopped and separated into white and green parts
  • 2 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • peanut or vegetable oil for frying
  • 2 tbs brown bean sauce (you can substitute brown miso paste if desperate!)
  • 1 tbs hoisin sauce
  • 1 tbs Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 300g pork mince
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 500g fresh Shanghai noodles or udon noodles
  • 1 large (or 2 small) Lebanese cucumbers, seeds removed and finely sliced or julienned*

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Method

  1. Heat a wok and put on a pot of water to boil.
  2. Prepare the spring onion and garlic.
  3. Add a little oil to the wok and briefly stir-fry white part of the spring onion and the garlic.
  4. Add the pork mince and stir-fry until browned.
  5. Add the sugar, sauces, stock and cooking wine (or sherry). Turn heat to low and allow to gently simmer and thicken.
  6. Cook the noodles in the boiling water according to packet directions (about 3 minutes usually).
  7. Prepare the cucumber.
  8. Drain the noodles and divide between bowls.
  9. Top noodles with the mince, cucumber and green part of the spring onion.
  10. Add copious amounts of chilli sauce if you are so inclined.

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*I like to use my shredding gadget thingy which looks like a vegetable peeler with teeth; sadly it was under repair when making this recently, hence the slightly-too-thick pieces of cucumber in the photos .  

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4 thoughts on “Zhajiang Mian (AKA Chinese Spag Bol)

    • Hmmm, not sure Zoie… Worth a try though! I’d probably go for chicken mince, or maybe even try kangaroo for something different. If you try it let me know how you go!

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