Zha Jiang Mian

I’m sure you’ve all heard, but a blizzard is coming! Everyone was out at the grocery store tonight fighting over Lean Cuisines and Prego. Luckily, I didn’t have too much trouble snagging some delicious veggies and goodies for this dish; though they were oddly out of bean sprouts… I guess those are a real hot commodity in storms.

So if it’s going to snow, we might as well curl up with a nice warm bowl of comforting, delicious noodles. Zha Jiang Mian is the Chinese answer to Bolognese, typically made with ground pork and hand pulled wheat noodles. Well, I can tell you, I am not about to start hand pulling noodles in my kitchen (although it does look really cool!) but I was seriously excited to try this dish after hearing about it recently.

As I said, this dish is traditionally made with ground pork, or even better, finely chopped pork belly, but to make this a bit more figure friendly, I went with lean ground turkey. To me, all of the fun is in the assembly of the dish – pass around bowls of noodles and pork to your guests and let them add their own toppings. This gives variety to the meal, so even if you have leftovers, it’s really not the same meal twice. But trust me, there probably won’t be too many leftovers – I guess it’s a good thing I also stocked up on ingredients for chicken tikka masala and a French toast casserole – stay tuned (and stay warm)!

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Zha Jiang Mian

Servings: 6
PointsPlus Value: 8 points

For the Noodles:

  • 8 oz no yolks noodles, uncooked
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 star anise
  • 1 green chili pepper, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb 99% fat free ground turkey
  • 1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 5 tbsp black bean sauce
  • 1 cup water

For the Toppings – Choose 3 or 4:

  • Julienned cucumber
  • Roughly chopped cilantro
  • Diced scallions
  • Shredded carrots
  • Shredded cabbage
  • Bean sprouts
  • Shelled edamame or peas
  • Thinly sliced radishes

Bring a large pot of salty water to a boil and cook the pasta according to package directions.

While waiting for the water to boil, heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the star anise and chili pepper, cooking for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the star anise and add in the garlic, cook for another minute until the garlic is very fragrant.

Add the ground turkey, breaking it up as it browns using the back of a wooden spoon. When the meat is browned, add the ginger, sesame oil, and the black bean sauce. Stir until everything is well combined. Add in the water and bring everything to a bubble. Simmer for about 15 minutes until the sauce thickens. Toss the noodles in the sauce.

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To serve, place noodles in the bottom of a bowl and top with fresh veggies.

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