Thursday, July 12, 2007

ja ja men

Satoshi and I have been watching a program in the mornings and they often eat this dish...ja ja men or ja jan men.

When the people on this show eat this dish, it looks really delicious, so Satoshi has been saying how he wants to eat ja ja men. (I really think there are more foodies in Japan, they have so many shows which have lots of "food porn"!) Anyway, I looked in my cookbooks and found a recipe in the Szechuan cookbook, "Tenyu", which I've posted about recently.

The recipe is kind of complicated and takes some time to make, but I think if you prep everything ahead of time, you could easily throw the components together for a weeknight dinner.

Ja jan makes about 350g
300g minced pork
30cc laoshu (chinese rice wine)
30cc shoyu (soy sauce)
20g tenmenjan (sweetened miso (bean curd paste))*
Keeps in an airtight container for about 4 or 5 days

*if you cannot find tenmenjan, use the following recipe to make your own.
Tenmenjan (sweetened miso) makes about 500g
300g hacchomiso (dark miso (soy bean paste) that is fermented for 3 years found mostly in Nagoya)
150g sugar
500cc warm water
In a bowl, mix the miso with water a little at a time with a wire wisk, when the mixture gets a bit creamy, mix in the sugar and add more of the water.
Heat mixture over medium heat, when it begins to boil it will look like bubbling lava, turn heat to low and cook for 1 hour. Be careful as the liquid may fly out while simmering and burn you.
When the mixture turns to a consistency of ketchup, turn off the heat and let the mixture cool.
Keeps in an airtight container for about 1 month.

Ja ja men Serves 1
100g ja jan
3 shiitake mushrooms
20g mizuna (spider mustard)
1 packet Chinese noodles
1 tablespoon cornstarch/water (to thicken)

Sauce A: 1 tablespoon tobanjan (chili paste)
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
200cc soup stock or warm water

Sauce B: 1 tablespoon shoyu (soy sauce)
1 tablespoon laoshu (chinese rice wine)
1 teaspoon sugar
2 grinds of pepper
2 tablespoons of minced scallions

Sauce C:pinch of salt
1 teaspoon shoyu (soy sauce)
2 tablespoons of soup stock or warm water

Slice shiitake thinly, and mizuna to 5 cm in length, rinse and set aside.
In a pan, put 1 tablespoon of oil and add ja jan, tobanjan, ginger and garlic. When you can smell the ginger and garlic, add the soup/water. Next add the shiitake and Sauce B ingredients. Then thicken the mixture with the cornstarch/water.

Cook your chinese noodles according to the directions on the package.

Put the ingredients for Sauce C into your bowl/plate and add the noodles. Top with the shiitake mixture and mizuna.


NOTES: I didn't know the romanized way to spell some of the Chinese ingredients so I am posting it phonetically (sorry!). I made half the recipe for the ja jan, and boiled double the amount of noodles. For the shiitake mixture, I used the measurements above and the amount of mixture and spiciness was just right for two people. The shiitake mixture is quite spicy, so if you do not like it too spicy, cut back on the tobanjan (chili paste). If you cannot find mizuna where you are, any type of green leafy veggie would work. Although this dish took some time to prepare, it was definitely worth it!


Anonymous said...

How strange! When I first saw the title of this dish, I thought it might be similar to a noodle dish called 'ja jang myun' in Korean, but its so different! It sounds quite involved but I think it would appeal to my long as I can find all the ingredients!

Anonymous said...

Wow Kat! That does look good! I think I might have to do a little detective work to find the dark miso to make my own Tenmenjan but I'm pretty sure my fav fishmonger has some. Great post...I was wondering what to do with my STASH of shiitake!!!

K and S said...

That does sound similar, Ellie! I hope you can find the ingredients to give this a try.

Thanks Rowena, hope you can find some miso so that you can try this.

Take care you two.

K and S said...

I was surfing around and the dishes are actually similar. Originating in China, it is just that the Korean version uses a black bean sauce.
Take care.

SteamyKitchen said...

I love ja jan mien too!
I agree, I think there is an abundance of foodies in Japan...and China too. Some of the shows are just hilarious!

K and S said...

Yes, some of the shows are hilarious, Steamykitchen!

Take care.

Saburo said...

"Food porn" is almost EXACTLY how my friend described some Japanese food shows. You watch the show and then get sooo hungry for that particular dish. Torture, I tell ya!

K and S said...

It is torture..These shows are sometimes so late in the evening that it is hard to go to bed on an empty stomach and your mind reverting to those delish images, Saburo!

Thanks for stopping by and take care.

Anonymous said...

I love this post. I just made ants on a tree from epicurious and it seems like an easier version! But I love Ja Ja Men!

K and S said...

I will have to check out Epicurious now Anon :)

Take care.

Shimi Rahim said...

Great to find a detailed post and recipe about ja ja men. There doesn't seem to be much info about ja ja men in English. I just had a bowl of noodles topped with ja jan, julienned cucumber and green onions (per friend's suggestion). Simple but excellent. I will try your recipe for ja jan next. Thanks.

K and S said...

I hope you like this Shimi!

Take care.