Zha Jiang Mian (炸酱面) | Chinese "Fried Sauce" Noodles
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Zha Jiang Mian (炸酱面 or zhá jiàng miàn) is one of our favourite meals, and the rich and savoury pork sauce keeps us coming back for more. It is as comforting as it is flavourful and will certainly satisfy your noodle cravings.
Zha Jiang Mian originates from Shandong province in north east China, but it has become a very popular dish throughout the country and beyond. Although it literally translates into "fried sauce noodles," the sauce is actually achieved primarily through simmering and reduction. The end result is then served with plain noodles, which always makes me think of the dish as a sort of 'Chinese Bolognese.'
Yellow bean sauce has an intense flavour, so if you are making this recipe for the first time, you may want to start with less sauce (about 3 Tbsp) until you are sure you like the flavour! You can increase the amount up to 5 Tbsp for a deeper flavour.
Yellow Bean Sauce
Sweet Bean Paste
Traditionally, Zha Jiang Mian is made with pork, using a fattier cut, such as pork belly or pork shoulder, for richness. If you are using pork mince, choose some with a higher fat content. Of course, you could use leaner meat, but then your sauce will not be as thick or rich.
I have also added shiitake mushrooms in the recipe below, for that extra hit of umami flavour. If you don't eat pork, try using another type of meat or even firm tofu, for a meat free option.
Pork Sauce with Pork Belly
Pork Sauce with Pork Mince
Raw or blanched vegetables are typically served with Zha Jiang Mian to complement the saltiness of the sauce. Popular options include cucumber, carrot, radish, bean sprouts or edamame, amongst others. If using bean sprouts or edamame, they should be blanched first.
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