Zhajiang Noodles

Published on November 27, 2013


  1. 2 Tbsp Cooking Oil
  2. 1 Tsp Whole Sichuan Pepper
  3. 2 Star Anise
  4. 125g Finely Chopped Or Coarsely Minces Belly Pork
  5. 2 Tbsp Finely Chopped Ginger
  6. 1 Tbsp Shaoxing Wine
  7. 4 Tbsp Sweet Fermented Sauce
  8. Salt, To Taste
  9. 200g Dried Chinese Wheat Flour Noodles, Or 300g Fresh Noodles

  10. To Serve, Any Or All Of The Following

  11. 1 Celery Stick
  12. 1 Small Carrot
  13. Some Chinese Cabbage
  14. 1 Small Piece Of Purple-hearted Chinese Radish
  15. Good Handful Of Bean-sprouts
  16. Handful Of Cooked Green Soy Beans Or Peas
  17. A Few Slices Of Red Chilli (optional)


2 People


1 – Add the oil to a seasoned wok over a high flame and swirl it around. Immediately add the Sichuan pepper and star anise and stir-fry for a few moments until they smell delicious. Then remove the spices with a slotted spoon, leaving the fragrant oil in the wok.

2 – Add the pork and stir-fry until it has become pale, pressing the mince with the back of your ladle or wok scoop to help separate it out into little morsels. Then add the ginger and stir-fry until you can smell it. Add the Shaoxing wine, stir once or twice, then add the sweet fermented sauce. Stir-fry for a few moments more until it smells rich and delicious, then cover the pork generously with water. Bring to a boil, then simmer over a low heat for about 15 minutes, until the sauce is dark and luxuriantly thick. Season with a scattering of salt (the sauce should be intensely-flavoured and seem on its own a little over-salted, because it will be used to flavour the bland noodles). When you wish to eat, bring a pan of water to a boil. Cut whichever your are using of the cucumber, celery, carrot, cabbage and radish into fine slivers. Blanch the bean-sprouts and all the vegetables except for the cucumber in the boiling water; they should remain a bit crisp. (It is best to blanch each vegetable separately, using a slotted spoon to remove them from the water.) Refresh the blanched vegetables immediately under a cold tap and drain well. Reheat the pork sauce.

3 – Cook the noodles, rinse briefly under the tap, shake dry, then divide between the two serving bowls.

4 – Add some of each of your vegetables to the bowls. Top with the pork sauce. Stir everything together with chopsticks before eating, scattering with chilli slices, if you like.


Final Notes

Taken from Every Grain of Rice Simple Chinese Home Cooking by Fuchsia Dunlop.

Published by Bloomsbury Publishing, priced £25.

Photography: Chris Terry.