Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Zha Jiang Mian (炸酱面)

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VB brings his lunch to work almost everyday. One of his co-workers was curious about my version of Dan Dan Mian, but declared that Zha Jian Mian is better. Specifically that she makes a good Zha Jian Mian. Sounds like a challenge! I love a good challenge.

Unfortunately, I think I may have failed this one. Well, I guess if I had to grade myself, this version of Zha Jiang Mian would be given a C-. Number one reason? Zha Jian Mian should be saucy, as the name implies (it literally means "fried sauce noddles"). Mine is a bit on the dry side. It's one thing to make something like... oh say, Indian pizza. There's no right way; it just has to taste good. But it's much harder to make something that's steeped in tradition and childhood memories. This one just didn't quite measure up.

Sadly, you can tell that it's not saucy enough.
The problem was the vegetarian ham that I used in here. It soaked up all the sauce and became mushy. If there's anything that I hate more than a dry Zha Jian Mian, it's mushy fake meat. So I made the decision to forgo the sauce part and focus on getting a more meaty texture. I think this Zha Jian Mian would be good with a fake meat product like Harmony Valley Vegetarian Hamburger Mix, something that's pre-soaked and unflavored. Otherwise it's also okay just to leave the fake meat out entirely.

I do think the flavors were good. But the end result wasn't good enough to post a recipe for it. Maybe one day, I can make an A+ Zha Jian Mian.

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