Beijing meat sauce with noodles

Beijing meat sauce with noodles

The Real Food of China
Leanne Kitchen

Here’s the spaghetti bolognese of China — called za jiang mein, which literally means ‘fried sauce noodles’. The crucial ingredient here is thick, sweet soybean sauce. In Beijing they use yellow soybean sauce (although confusingly it’s not actually yellow but dark brown), while in Tianjin, just down the road, they favour hoisin sauce, which you can substitute here. Some versions top the noodles with scrambled eggs, or coriander or mung bean sprouts, so feel free to experiment.


Quantity Ingredient
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons ginger, finely chopped
4 large spring onions, finely chopped, white part only
500g minced pork
150ml sweet bean sauce
60ml shaoxing rice wine
1 1/2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
250ml Chicken stock
500g fresh, thick wheat noodles
2 lebanese cucumbers, halved lengthwise, then cut into long pieces
1 small handful coriander sprigs


  1. Heat the oil in a large wok over a medium heat. Add the garlic, ginger and spring onions and cook, stirring, for 2–3 minutes, or until softened. Add the pork and cook, stirring to break up the meat, for 5–6 minutes, or until it changes colour. Add the sweet bean sauce, rice wine, soy sauce and stock, stir to combine well, then bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and cook for about 20 minutes, or until the pork is cooked and the sauce has reduced and thickened.
  2. Cook the noodles in a saucepan of boiling water for 3–4 minutes (or according to the packet instructions), or until softened, then drain well. Divide the noodles among four large bowls, then spoon over the sauce. Top each bowl with some of the cucumber, scatter over the coriander and serve.
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