Recipe of my Childhood

Za Jiang Mian (杂酱面)
- from Joey Gu’s maternal grandmother, who was primarily responsible for his daily upbringing and (relative) good care. Since about the age of one, Joey has been enjoying his maternal grandmother’s cooking (if not from directly ingesting, then from merely smelling), through childhood and a troubling and often absent adolescence to biweekly weekend visits during college, even the occasional trip home during his time in China, up until her passing in April 2012. Her usual dine-at-home Dongbei dishes, including homemade dumplings with self-made dough, and mouthwatering steak fried rice were only rivaled by her multiple-course Spring Festival preparations, usually for 20 people or more. But her coveted Za Jiang Mian was always Joey’s favorite.

1) Apparatus required
1 x flat pan or any proper cooking vessel
1 x pot or any proper boiling vessel, preferably with greater depth than a flat pan
2 x wooden instruments or any suitable objects or appendages used for stirring
5 x bowls or vessels used to hold perishables (such as bean paste or raw egg)

2) Ingredients needed
Some x soy sauce
Some x cucumber
Some x green onion
Some x non-green red onion
Some x vegetable cooking oil
More than some x noodles (preferably flat and wide, e.g. Fettucini)
More than some x spoonfuls of bean paste (豆瓣酱), preferably designed to be used in Chinese cuisine (not to be mistaken with Korean)
2 x three-finger pinches of flour
3 x two-finger pinches of salt
3 x fistfuls of ground beef
3 x raw eggs

3) Preparation of ingredients
a) chop green onions into little pieces, like Hai Di Lao-hotpot-sized
b) chop non-green red onions into little pieces, (refer to 3a)
c) chop cucumber into long strips , like Noodle Bull-sized
d) remove more-than-some spoonfuls of bean paste from container into bowl or vessel used to hold perishables
e) add 2 three-finger pinches of flour and 3 two-finger pinches of salt to 3 fistfuls of ground beef
f) remove 3 raw eggs from eggshells into bowl or vessel (refer to 3d) and stir with 1 wooden instrument or any suitable object or appendage used for stirring until satisfied

4) Begin multi-tasked act of cooking
a) insert some vegetable cooking oil into flat pan or any proper cooking vessel and heat until satisfied
b) insert newly prepared ground beef into heated flat pan or any proper cooking vessel and stir with 1 other wooden instrument or any suitable object or appendage used for stirring until satisfied
c) remove newly and satisfactorily cooked ground beef from flat pan or any proper cooking vessel into bowl or vessel
d) insert newly-removed 3 raw eggs from eggshells into used heated flat pan or any proper cooking vessel and stir with same 1 wooden instrument or any suitable object or appendage used for stirring until satisfied
e) remove newly and satisfactorily cooked raw eggs from used heated flat pan or any proper cooking vessel into bowl or vessel
f) insert more-than-some spoonfuls of bean paste into used heated flat pan or any proper cooking vessel and stir with same 1 wooden instrument or any suitable object or appendage used for stirring until satisfied
g) insert prepared ground beef and cooked raw eggs into used heated flat pan or any proper cooking vessel which still contains newly and satisfactorily cooked spoonfuls of bean paste and stir until satisfied
h) continue stirring and add some soy sauce
i) continue stirring and add chopped green onions
j) continue stirring and add chopped non-green red onions
k) continue stirring until newly created/appeared sauce begins to simmer, avoid overcooking
l) insert non-boiled water into pot or any proper boiling vessel (preferably with greater depth than a flat pan) and boil until satisfied
m) insert more than some noodles (preferably flat and wide, e.g. Fettucini) into used heated pot or any proper boiling vessel (preferably with greater depth than a flat pan) which contains boiling water and boil until satisfied

5) Begin act of serving and eating
a) remove newly and satisfactorily cooked Za Jiang (杂酱) from used heated flat pan or any proper cooking vessel into bowl or vessel
b) remove newly and satisfactorily boiled Mian (面) from used heated pot or any proper boiling vessel (preferably with greater depth than a flat pan) into bowl or vessel
c) insert Za Jiang (杂酱) into bowl or vessel which contains Mian (面) and stir until satisfied
d) insert chopped cucumber into used bowl or vessel which contains Za Jiang Mian (杂酱面)
e) serve and eat

*Originally a part of a recipe collection prepared by Dirk B. as a birthday gift for Matt M.

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