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Give Jjajangmyun the Crunch Factor with Kale

Give Jjajangmyun the Crunch Factor with Kale

Give Jjajangmyun the Crunch Factor with Kale

The Joys of Jjajangmyun

When it comes to Korean cuisine, there are certain staples that bring a smile to my face like no other. Topping that list is the humble yet heavenly jjajangmyun. This noodle dish, made with a savory black bean sauce, is the ultimate in Korean comfort food. The chewy wheat noodles, the rich umami punch of the sauce, and those little nuggets of pork – it’s a symphony of flavors and textures that I could happily eat day in and day out.

But you know what? I think we can take this Korean classic to the next level. How, you ask? By adding a crunchy kale topping, of course! Now before you start eyeing me skeptically, hear me out. Kale might not be the first ingredient that springs to mind when you think of jjajangmyun, but its ability to add a delightful textural contrast is undeniable. [1] Plus, the nutritional benefits of kale make this dish even more of a win-win.

Mastering the Jjajangmyun Base

Let’s start with the foundation – the jjajangmyun itself. The key to nailing this dish is getting the sauce just right. And let me tell you, this is no simple task. The perfect jjajangmyun sauce is a carefully balanced blend of savory, slightly sweet, and just a touch of bitterness. Too much of any one element and the whole thing falls out of whack.

Now, I know what you’re thinking – “Can’t I just buy a premade sauce and call it a day?” Well, you certainly could, but where’s the fun in that? Making the sauce from scratch allows you to really dial in the flavors to your personal taste. Plus, it’s not as difficult as you might think. [2]

The base of the sauce is a combination of Korean black bean paste (chunjang), soy sauce, and a bit of sugar. From there, you can add in diced onions, garlic, and pork for that signature savory punch. The secret to taking this sauce to the next level? A splash of Worcestershire sauce. Trust me on this one – it adds a subtle depth of flavor that really makes the whole thing sing.

Introducing the Kale Crunch Factor

Okay, now for the real star of the show – the kale topping. I know, I know, kale might seem like an odd choice, but hear me out. Its sturdy texture is the perfect foil to the soft, slippery noodles. And when you dress it up with a little seasoning and a quick pan-fry, it transforms into a delightfully crunchy, flavor-packed topping that takes this dish to new heights.

The key is to massage the kale leaves with a bit of olive oil and salt before cooking. This helps to tenderize the leaves and make them more palatable. Then, you simply sauté the kale in a hot pan until it’s crispy and a little charred around the edges. A sprinkle of sesame seeds and a drizzle of toasted sesame oil, and you’ve got a topping that’s going to have everyone coming back for more.

Putting It All Together

Now that you’ve got the jjajangmyun base and the kale topping dialed in, it’s time to bring this whole thing together. Start by cooking your noodles according to the package instructions. Drain them well and toss them with a bit of the jjajangmyun sauce to coat.

Next, ladle the saucy noodles into your serving bowls. Top them generously with the crispy kale, making sure to get those crunchy bits in every bite. If you want to get really fancy, you can even add a soft-boiled egg or some thinly sliced cucumber for an extra pop of flavor and texture.

The end result is a jjajangmyun that’s taken to new heights. The soft, slippery noodles are perfectly coated in that umami-rich sauce, while the kale topping adds a delightful crunch that will have you coming back for bite after satisfying bite. It’s the perfect fusion of classic Korean comfort and modern culinary flair.

So what are you waiting for? Give your jjajangmyun the kale crunch factor and enjoy a newfound appreciation for this beloved Korean dish. Trust me, your taste buds will thank you.