[Ma Jiang Mian]

Among the many dishes I tasted on my business trip to Taiwan, the one I wanted to try making immediately upon my return to Japan was the "ma jiang mian" I had for the first time at Rong Ji Hakka Tangyuan in Hsinchu City. The store was crowded with locals, and I told them what I wanted to order at the counter at the end of the line and waited inside the store after paying. I was able to successfully place my order.

The ma jiang mian, which arrived shortly after ordering, is a simple dish of freshly boiled straight noodles tossed with sesame sauce. The rich sesame sauce, with a hint of sweetness, is a perfect match for the smooth noodles, and we were almost sad to finish it. On our last day in Taipei, we also enjoyed a ma jiang mian with large wontons, and we left for home with the taste burned in our memories. It was one more dish that I would like to try again when I visit Taiwan.

It will soon be the season of "hiyashi chuka" in Japan. It will be delicious to eat hiyashi chuka in ice water with sesame sauce. At a 7-Eleven store in Taiwan, there was a poster with a picture of a ma jiang mian with cucumber and sesame sauce. Why not enjoy this dish at home, too, with vegetables, meat, wontons, or other ingredients of your choice, arranged in your own way?

Ingredients for 2 servings:
2 balls of straight Chinese noodles
A few green onions

(meat and miso paste)
100 g pork
A pinch of salt
1 tablespoon each of soy sauce, sugar and cooking sake
1 clove garlic
A little water

(Sesame sauce)
4 tablespoons sesame paste
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons black vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons boiling water
A pinch of sesame oil

1. Cut green onion into small pieces. Crush garlic with the back of a knife and mince.
2. Chop the pork finely and sprinkle a little salt. Heat oil in a frying pan and sauté pork over low-medium heat, then add garlic to fragrance.
3. Add soy sauce, sugar, and cooking sake in moderate quantities, and boil down with a little water until the liquid is reduced to a small amount.
4. Boil water in a pot and cook noodles.
5. Put the sesame paste in a bowl and mix the ingredients listed below one by one to blend them and season to taste.
6. Add the boiled water to the bowl and adjust the hardness of the noodles.
7. Add the cooked noodles to the bowl and stir well. Drain the cooked noodles, put them in a bowl, pour sesame oil over the noodles, and pour meat miso and sesame sauce over the noodles.
8. Top with green onions and mix well before eating.

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