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The base of the sauce for zha jiang mian comes from sweet bean sauce, which you can find in Asian or Chinese grocery stores. #chinese #asian #noodles

Zha Jiang Mian

Next pasta night idea: zha jiang mian. Think a heaping bowl of noodles with a rich meaty sauce filled with sauteed onions and a sweet bean sauce, topped with plenty of cucumber and green onions.
Course Dinner
Cuisine Asian, Chinese
Keyword asian, beef, carbs, chinese, cucumber, dairy-free, dinner, egg-free, entree, green onions, main course, noodles, nut-free, onions, pasta, pork, scallions, sweet bean sauce
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 662 kcal


  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 pound lean ground beef, pork or chicken
  • 6 ounces sweet bean sauce
  • sugar, soy sauce and/or rice wine vinegar for seasoning
  • 1 pound pasta cooked
  • 2 green onions minced
  • 1 cucumber julienned


  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat some oil. Add the onion and saute until translucent. Add the meat, breaking it up with a spatula into small bits, until browned completely. If it looks like there's a lot of fat, you can drain it off.
  2. Add the bean sauce, as well as the same volume of water (fill the can with water and add it). Mix until the bean sauce and water are no longer separate. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until thickened.
  3. Season the sauce to taste with sugar, soy sauce and/or rice wine vinegar. You're looking for the sauce to be pretty sweet and salty, since it will get diluted when you add it to the pasta, so keep that in mind. I typically add a touch of vinegar and that's it, but feel free to tinker as you please.

Recipe Notes

When you're looking for the sweet bean sauce at a Chinese grocery store (near the hoisin sauce), look for this can, or search for these characters: 甜面酱.

I usually use spaghetti or fusili, but you can go more traditional and sub in a thick fresh wheat based noodle.