I’m not really sure what happened. I grew up living, breathing, speaking, and eating Chinese. Now here I am at 25, barely able to string together a sentence in Mandarin. My Chinese cooking is even more pathetic. I’ve tried countless times to watch and learn from my mom. The Wonder Woman who can throw together 6 dishes with ease, and in under an hour, too. It’s impressive (and kind of scary).
Unfortunately for me, she seems to invent most of her recipes or just has them stored in the depths of her brain. I tried to recreate a dish that I grew up with, zha jian mien, a sort of Chinese bolognese. This is my take on the classic Chinese dish. I’m not sure it even tastes close to what it’s supposed to, but Mike and I enjoyed it very much!
Zha Jiang Mein (Chinese Bolognese)
1 pound Chinese noodles (I used Shan Dong noodles)
1 pound ground pork
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon hot soybean paste
2 tablespoons black bean sauce
1 pound extra firm or baked tofu, cubed
1 cup frozen peas
1 medium seedless cucumber, julienned
Black vinegar or rice wine vinegar, optional
- Cook pasta according to package directions.
- While pasta is cooking, heat a large pan over medium-high heat. Add pork and cook for 3 – 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in onions and garlic and cook until onions are translucent and pork is cooked through.
- Reduce heat to medium and add in hoisin sauce, soy sauce, black bean sauce, and soybean paste. Stir until well combined.
- Gently mix in tofu and frozen peas. Cook until heated through, stirring frequently.
- Portion out 1 1/2 cups of noodles into bowls and top with 1/2 cup of meat sauce. Garnish with cucumber and a splash of vinegar, if desired.