Saturday, April 11, 2009

Delivery At Home

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It may seem a bit counter-intuitive to make what is typically a delivery dish at home, but then again, I don’t live in South Korea, and so, jajangmyun isn’t delivered here. I’ve often seen jajangmyun featured in countless Korean dramas, and my mother, being curious about the dish herself, ended up bringing home a jar of chunjang (roasted black soybean paste) after a visit to Galleria.

Jajangmyun is the Korean version of zhajiang mian (炸醬麵), a noodle dish that is popular in the northern part of China. Zhajiang mian is typically made with ground pork and fermented soybean paste, making for a “dry” sauce (think à la “bolognese”), and served with julienned cucumbers. The Korean variant has a much “saucier” sauce, with diced pork (some variations contain seafood instead) and vegetables (like zucchini, onions and carrots), and chunjang.

The dish is popular in South Korean because it's cheap and many restaurants provide free delivery. Bowls of jajangmyun are covered with plastic wrap, carried off in portable tin boxes, and then carted across the city on scooters. A side dish of danmuji, yellow pickled radishes, often accompany each bowl of jajangmyun, and is said to help with digestion. When done, the dishes are left aside to be picked up again and brought back to the restaurant.

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It’s an incredibly simple dish to put together, and you can always make extra sauce and store it in the freezer, perfect for those days when I’m too tired to cook. All I have to do is defrost the sauce in the refrigerator the night before (or if you forget, just stick in the microwave for a few minutes to defrost), boil some noodles, and settle down in front of the television to catch up on some Korean dramas!


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