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|Place of origin||China|
|Region or state||Shandong|
|Main ingredients||cumian, ground pork, zhajiang (fermented soybean paste)|
|Cookbook: Zhajiangmian Media: Zhajiangmian|
Zhajiangmian (simplified Chinese: 炸酱面; traditional Chinese: 炸醬麵; literally: "fried sauce noodles"), or "noodles with soybean paste", is a Chinese dish consisting of thick wheat noodles topped with zhajiang sauce. Zhajiang sauce is normally made by simmering stir-fried ground pork or beef with salty fermented soybean paste.
In Beijing cuisine, yellow soybean paste is used, while in Tianjin and other parts of China sweet bean sauce, hoisin sauce, or broad (fava) bean sauce may be used in place of the yellow soybean paste. Soy sauce can also be used instead of the soybean paste. Zhajiang also means "fried sauce" in Chinese. Although the sauce itself is made by stir-frying, this homonym does not carry over into the Classical Chinese term .
A vegetarian version of zhajiang sauce may be made by substituting ground beef or pork with finely diced extra firm smoked tofu (熏豆腐干), edamame (毛豆), eggplant, or extra firm tofu (素鸡). In the Northeast China, using scrambled egg instead of meat to make zhajiang is also quite common, known as jidan jiang.
The vegetarian versions generally call for soybean paste of any sort instead of soy sauce, since the tofu chunks are larger and need more structure. Low-fat dieters often use ground, skinless chicken for the meat portion since ground turkey is not very popular in Asia, and a halal version is often made with ground beef or lamb.
The topping of the noodles usually are sliced fresh or/and pickled vegetables, including cucumber, radish, edamame, depending on regions. Chopped omelette or in lieu of extra firm tofu can also be alongside.
Currently there is no historical research to support and explain the origin of Zhajiangmian, but only few folktales are available.
During Guangxu era of Qing dynasty, after Eight-Nation Alliance invaded China and conquered Beijing, The Empress Dowager Cixi, Emperor Guangxu and their retinues were forced to move from Beijing to south street in Xi'an city. While they were in their trip to Xi'an city, the Imperial Eunuch, Li Lianying sensed a good smell, therefor he looked up and found the smell came from a Zhajiangmian noodle restaurant. He then reported the information of the restaurant to Cixi and Guangxu. Due to the gathered tiredness and sense of hunger after their long trip, Cixi and Guangxu decided to have a dine in that restaurant. After they got into the restaurant and got settled, Li Lianying ordered one bowl of vegetarian Zhajiangmian, And then they found it is a tasty dish, therefore they ordered another one. After the dining time, Cixi asked everyone how they felt the taste of the this dish? They all replied "This is definitely a good noodle, good! Good!" Shortly after the moment, emperor, Guangxu was about to leave and continue their trip, Cixi demanded Li Lianying to bring the chef who made that Zhajiangmian dish to Beijing and palace, so they can eat that Zhajiangmian often once they came back. And this is the story how the vegetarian Zhajiangmian got its way to Beijing.
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