Zha Ziang Mian Recipe | Chinese Recipes | PBS Food

"The first time I had spaghetti bolognese in Rome, prepared the authentic way with very little tomato and mainly meat, I thought, “Just like zha ziang mian!” The two dishes are similar, and legend has it that after spending time in China, Marco Polo took this dish back to Italy. Zha ziang mian, a staple dish in most every home in northern China, can be hard to get right. Each of the ingredients needs to be in perfect proportion to the other." - Cecilia Chiang

Reprinted with permission from The Seventh Daughter, by Cecilia Chiang, copyright 2007, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.


Yield: 4 servings



  • 2 tablespoons bean sauce
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 pound coarsely ground pork shoulder (pork butt)
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
  • 1 teaspoon peeled, minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon minced green onions
  • 1/2 pound fresh
  • 1/8-inch-wide Chinese noodles
  • 1/2 English cucumber, partially peeled, cut into 2-inch-long julienne pieces (about 1/2 cup)


  1. To make the sauce: whisk together the bean, hoisin, and soy sauces in a small bowl.
  2. Just before you cook the pork, bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat (for the noodles).
  3. To cook the pork: heat a large wok over high heat until a bead of water dances on the surface and then evaporates. Add the oil and swirl to coat the pan. Toss the garlic in the hot oil and cook until it’s fragrant and slightly golden, about 10 seconds. Add the pork and, using a wooden spoon or chopsticks, stir constantly to break the meat apart. Cook the pork until just a bit of pink remains and it begins to brown, about 2 minutes. Add the wine and ginger and continue to stir a few seconds more. Pour in the reserved sauce, bring the liquid to a boil, and stir to thoroughly coat the pork. Add the green onions and toss to combine well. Remove the pan from the heat.
  4. To cook the noodles: fluff the strands to separate them. Add them to the boiling water and cook until they are tender, about 2 minutes. Immediately dump them into the colander. Shake the colander to drain the noodles well and then turn them out into a large serving bowl. Pour the sauce over the noodles and garnish with the cucumber and serve immediately, tossing the noodles with the sauce at the table.
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