At-Home Version of “Zhajiangmian” Beijing Noodles
My first week in Beijing, I walked down the street from university to my first plate of Zhajiangmian, :炸酱面, or Beijing noodles–a steaming bowl of noodles topped with cucumber, soybeans, shredded carrots. But the best part was always the slow-cooked pork, cooked until the sauce permeated every piece. No matter how many noodles I ate, I could never figure out how they made that pork. Using a non-traditional method, I altered a recipe for slow-cooked pork that serves as a good substitute. Served over a bed of noodles with vegetable crudite, this dish gives me a little taste of Beijing at home.
Recipe (Adapted from Skinnytaste.com)
Ingredients for pork:
2-3lb. pork butt
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup Chinese black vinegar
1 tsp hot sesame oil
3 tbsp white sugar
1/2tsp-1tsp Chinese five spice
3-4 cloves crushed garlic
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
Season pork on all sides with salt and pepper. Brown in a skillet on all sides for 7-8 minutes.
In the crock pot, combine all ingredients and add the pork. Set the slow cooker to 7-8 hours on low, 3-4 on high. When the pork is finished, shred it using two forks. I like to do this in the sauce, or at least put the meat back in the sauce after shredding.
Meanwhile, prepare the noodles. Traditionally, Zhajiangmian calls for thick wheat noodles, similar to Japanese udon. This day, I used rice noodles for a gluten free option. Both have a similar tastelessness but chewy texture that allows the pork to shine. I topped the noodles with cucumber, scallions, and cilantro. I also added peanuts, which are not typical in this dish but add a nice crunch.
Have you had Beijing noodles? What do you think of my substitute? I’d love to hear!