“What is Jjapaguri?” the housekeeper asks, in the internationally recognized film ‘Parasite’.
Jjapaguri combines the delights of two distinct instant noodle companies: Chapagetti (짜파게티) and Neoguri (너구리). Chapagetti serves Jjajangmyeon, a Korean-Chinese noodle dish based on blackbean sauce, while Neoguri serves udon-type noodles based on spicy seafood flavored soup. The final dish–Jjapaguri–has the strong, savory taste of Jjajangmyeon with a spicy complement from the udon.
In ‘Parasite’, a rich mother orders the housekeeper to make this dish in eight minutes, asking her to put Korean Hanwoo, Korea’s finest beef. However, as Hanwoo is not easily purchasable in international neighborhoods, the recipe that follows uses beef steak.
Recipe: (all recipe and photo credits to maangchi.com)
- 1 package of Jjapagetti (짜파게티) instant noodles (labelled “Chapagetti” on the package in English)
- 1 package of Neoguri (너구리) instant noodles
- Beef steak (optional)
- 8 ounces rib eye steak or sirloin, cut into ½ inch cubes
- a pinch of kosher salt
- a pinch of ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1. If you use beef steak, combine the beef, kosher salt, pepper, and the vegetable oil in a small pan and mix it well with a wooden spoon.
2. Cook over high heat for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon until the beef turns light brown. Add the butter, stir and mix well and cook for another minute. Remove from the heat.
3. NOODLES – Open both packages and take out the noodles and all the packets from both.
4. BOIL – Bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a medium-sized pot. Add both kinds of noodles and both packets of vegetable flakes.
5. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring and turning with tongs or long chopsticks to separate the noodles and cook them evenly.
6. Strain the noodles over a medium-sized bowl, and then put the noodles and the cooked flakes back into the pot.
7. SAUCE – Measure 1 cup of the strained hot noodle water and put it back into the pot. Add black bean paste seasoning powder, and ½ of the spicy seasoning powder from the Neoguri package, and the beef (if used). Stir and mix for 1 to 2 minutes until everything is well incorporated.
8. Remove from the heat, add the seasoning oil and stir it in.
9. Transfer the noodles to a large plate and serve right away. You can serve with sliced yellow pickled radish (danmuji) or kimchi.
And that’s it for the recipe! Jjapaguri is a simple and yummy dish–no wonder it was Dasong’s (from Parasite) favorite food.
Cover Image by Jehns Ohling, CC BY 2.0