Zha Jiang Mian Fried Soy Noodles with Pork

1/2 carrot
1/2 cucumber
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp ginger, minced
10.5 oz ground pork, 600g
1 tbsp Shao Hsing rice wine
3 tbsp soybean paste (ground bean or broad bean paste)
1 1/2 tbsp tianmianjiang paste (sweet bean or sweet wheat paste)
1 1/2 cup water
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
3 servings cooked wheat noodles tossed with sesame oil
1 tbsp spring onion, chopped to rounds
3 raw garlic cloves (optional)
3 tbsp roasted peanuts (optional)

Directions:
Wash and slice cucumber into 1/8″ thick matchsticks 2″ long. Wash and peel carrot, then slice into 1/8″ thick matchsticks 2″ long. Boil 3″ water in medium pot. When water boils blanch carrot for 1 min. Remove carrots and let cool. Keep the water in pot for use later to heat up noodles.

Heat wok over medium heat until hot, add 2 tbsp oil. Add in minced garlic and ginger, stir for a few seconds, then add in the pork. Use a spatula to stir, add in rice wine and break up the ground pork as it cooks. After 2 mins or when the pork is completely cooked add in soybean and tianmianjiang pastes, water, sugar, and dark soy sauce. Stir to mix, cover and turn heat to low. Simmer for 10-12 mins or until the sauce thickens and is glossy.

If using fresh noodles warm by heating up the water in the pot again. When water boils add in the noodles for 1- 2 minutes or until warmed and loosened then pour noodles into a strainer. If using dried noodles cook according to the package instructions. Separate cooked noodles equally into noodle bowls. For each bowl of noodles scoop 1/2 cup fried sauce over then add a handful each of cucumber and carrots. Sprinkle spring onion over all. Add raw garlic and peanuts if using. Ready to serve!

Notes: You could add in or substitute the carrots and cucumber with any vegetable you think would tasty good, like mung bean sprouts, soybean sprouts, edamame, radish, or even toss on some thinly sliced dried tofu.

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