How to make the best Chicken Jajangmyeon ever.
Trust me when I say this is the easiest and most flavourful Chicken Jajangmyeon (Jjajangmyeon / Jajangmyun) you will ever make! I went through many – and I mean many – renditions of Jjajangmyeon before finalising on this recipe. The struggle was real with this one. Jjajangmyeon is a Korean dish adapted from the Chinese noodle dish, Zha Jiang Mian. It’s become a dish on its own in Korea, characterised by the glossy, thick black paste.
Jjajangmyeon is usually made with pork belly, but this recipe uses chicken, making it a fully Halal dish!
The Best Meat to Use for Chicken Jjajangmyeon
Jajangmyeon is delicious because it has a fatty, meaty richness to it – this is all rendered from the pork belly. Since I do not consume pork, I alternate this with chicken! I would insist that you use the dark meat of the chicken to make this Jajangmyeon.
Tip #1: Use dark meats of the chicken
Specifically the fattiest dark parts of the chicken, such as the thighs and legs. This part of the chicken is more flavourful and juicy.
When frying off the chicken meat, make sure to cook it thoroughly. Let the chicken get brown and caramelise. This charring will add even more flavour to the Jjajangmyeon, while allowing the fats to fully render.
If you want to be healthy, sure, you can replace this with the white meat of the chicken but trust me, it will not taste as good as when you use the dark meat. The first time I experimented with Chicken Jjajangmyeon I used chicken breasts, and it wasn’t a satisfying enough flavour. Without the punch of chicken flavour, he taste of the black bean paste was overpowering.
Tip #2: Use the chicken skin
Another tip is to use chicken skin. We make full use of the chicken skin as well, and render the fats off it so it adds even more of that fatty flavour to the Jajangmyeon.
To cook the chicken skin, slice or trim it into tiny pieces. You can cut this along with the chicken thighs as you chop it into smaller pieces; it will eventually come off the chicken meat.
Main Ingredient for Jjajangmyeon: Chunjang or Black Bean Paste
The main ingredient in Jajangmyeon is Chunjang, or Korean fermented black bean paste. Korean black bean paste IS NOT the same as Chinese black bean paste – even though Jjajangmyeon is adapted from Chinese cuisine.
The main ingredient in Chunjang is soybeans, making it vegetarian, and technically Halal. However, some chunjangs may include alcohol as part of its ingredients list to help further the fermentation process. Check the ingredients list to be sure. If you’d rather be extra careful, there are certified-Halal chunjangs these days that you can easily purchase online.
Depending on the brand of Chunjang, it needs to be stir fried beforehand to remove any bitterness. This is a crucial step that cannot be skipped. Stir fry the chunjang until fragrant for about 5 minutes, depending on the amount of chunjang you have. Continuously stir so that you do not burn the chunjang.
Some Chunjang is already pre-fried for convenience. Check the packaging to make sure.
Chunjang is a uniquely umami paste – I might even venture to say it’s an acquired taste. I made a Kung Pao Chicken Noodle here which uses Chinese black bean paste right here.
How to Level up Your Jjajangmyeon
This recipe is the best because it’s basic, and uses the most minimal ingredients to get to the final dish!
You can level it up by adding some vegetables to it! The vegetables can bump up the flavours of your Jjajangmyeon while adding some nutrition to it. Some vegetables to use would be potatoes, zucchinis and carrots. I would not recommend adding too much vegetables though, as it will take away from the meaty flavour. If you are adding vegetables, let them simmer and cook till soft – this will guarantee a more delicious sauce. I’ll be honest – my favourite vegetable to use would be just the potato! Not much nutritional value, but it tastes insanely amazing.
Like a bit of spice? Add chilli powder or Gochugaru straight into the sauce for some heat. You can also serve this with some hot green chillies. If you have gochujang, you can also add that in for the spice. Do take note of the salt levels. Chunjang has salt, and so does gochujang.
How to Serve Jjajangmyeon
Jajangmyeon can be served two ways:
- Adding the blanched noodles straight into the sauce and mixing everything together before serving.
- Topping individual plates of noodles with the sauce, and toss it through before eating.
I prefer method 2 since one of the fun parts of Jajangmyeon is mixing the noodles together before digging in!
Jajangmyeon is usually served with some fresh slices of cucumbers on the side. The cucumbers help to cut some of that cloying fatty richness of the sauce. I love the refreshing contrast! Kimchi and pickled radishes are also common side dishes.
At eateries (according to Korean dramas :D) Jajangmyeon is typically ordered with a side dish of Tangsuyuk, or Korean Sweet and Sour Fried meat. I’m still working on a good Tangsuyuk recipe, meanwhile, check out my Three-Flavoured Chicken recipe – my easy sweet and sour Thai-Malaysian chicken stirfry. It’s a similar flavour profile that will go great with Jajangmyeon!
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The BEST Chicken Jajangmyeon | Korean Black Bean NoodlesCourse: Recipes
2-3 Servings of Jajangmyeon noodles, cooked
5 tbsps of chunjang or Korean Black Bean Paste
2-3 tbsps neutral tasting Oil
- Jajangmyeon Sauce:
300g chicken thighs or legs, the fattier the better
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp minced ginger
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp sugar
2 cups water
1/2 chicken stock cube
Cornstarch slurry (1 tsp cornstarch + 1 tbsp water)
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
Cucumber, sliced thinly
- Frying the Chunjang
- Stir fry the black bean paste over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until fragrant. Remove from pan.
- Making the Jajangmyeon Sauce
- In same pan, add some more oil. Once hot, toss in the chicken and the chicken skin. Allow to cook completely.
- Add light soy sauce next, and stir fry to further caramelise the chicken.
- Once fragrant, and you can see some bubbling of the soy sauce, add minced ginger and stir fry till fragrant.
- Add onions and garlic next, and stir fry till fragrant. If adding any vegetables, add them in at this stage too.
- Once fragrant, add back the fried black bean paste and stir to combine.
- Add water in next and crush the chicken stock cubes in. Allow the sauce to come to a boil. If using vegetables, simmer until the vegetables are tender.
- Thicken the sauce with cornstarch slurry next. Gradually add the cornstarch slurry in and stir until the sauce is thickened to the preferred consistency.
- Drizzle in the sesame oil and the sauce is done.
- Blanch or cook noodles according to packet instructions, and then top with the Jjajangmyeon sauce. Garnish with spring onions and cucumbers before serving.