Zha jiang noodles

Zha jiang noodles

Have You Eaten
Billy Law

This simple noodle dish was a staple during my uni days in Toowoomba, Queensland. I learned how to cook this from a roommate of mine who was originally from Beijing. During exam time, we always cooked a big batch of the zha jiang sauce so it would last us the whole week. So, I would like to dedicate this noodle dish to all the uni students out there — give 2-minute instant noodles the flick and whip these noodles up in no time instead!


Quantity Ingredient
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
5 dried red chillies, seeded and finely chopped
1 large fresh red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
500g minced pork
1 bunch enoki mushrooms, trimmed
50g brown bean paste, (see note)
250ml water
1 tablespoon dark soy caramel
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons shaoxing rice wine
500g packet fresh shanghai noodles, (see note)
1 carrot, shredded
1 large green cucumber, shredded and drained on paper towel
1 spring onion, thinly sliced


  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a wok over medium–high heat and fry the garlic and chillies for 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add the pork mince and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally and breaking up any lumps, until the mince is brown. Add the enoki mushrooms and cook for a further minute.
  2. Add the bean paste and stir until all the mince is nicely coated, then add the water, dark soy caramel, sugar and rice wine, stirring well. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the sauce thickens.
  3. Meanwhile, bring half a pot of water to the boil, then add the noodles and cook for 3–4 minutes. Drain in a colander and shake off the excess water.
  4. Divide the noodles among serving bowls. Pour a ladleful of the mince sauce over the noodles, and serve with a handful each of shredded carrot and cucumber on the side. Garnish with spring onion.


  • Brown bean paste, or dou ban jiang in Chinese, is fermented soy bean paste. It can be very salty, so use it sparingly. The bean paste is also available in a chilli version — for those who like it hot!

    Shanghai noodles are thick round rice noodles popular in northern China. Shanghai noodles are available from major supermarket or Asian grocers. Alternatively, they can be substituted with Japanese udon noodles.
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