Homemade noodles with black beans and tamari

Black bean noodles

There’s a special kind of joy in discovering a movie by accident. A movie you haven’t watched trailers for, or read reviews of, or looked forward to seeing. The other night we watched a Korean film called Castaway on the Moon. Knew nothing about it. What a nice surprise! A delightful mix of very human, and slightly but magically surreal. I’ll try not to give too much of the plot away, but here’s the basic story. A man jumps off of a bridge over a river in the heart of a bustling city (Seoul). He washes up on an island in the middle of the river. He might as well be in the middle of nowhere. He becomes an unlikely Robinson Crusoe. And he becomes obsessed with black bean noodles. To him they represent hope. Of course, after watching the movie, I, too became obsessed with black bean noodles. It turns out real Korean black bean noodles don’t have black beans as I know them, but a paste made of black soy beans. Too late! The idea of black beans and noodles was firmly implanted in my head. It seems they sometimes add meat or seafood to the black bean noodles, so I thought of my black beans in that capacity. Apparently the soy bean paste is mixed with caramel. So I made a sort of caramelized soy sauce with tamari and raw sugar. Malcolm, who is a big fan of noodles with tamari, helped me pick the spicy spices. We decided on garlic, ginger, basil, red pepper flakes and scallions. Delicious! Black beans and tamari are wonderful together. Why didn’t I think of it sooner?

We didn’t go to all the trouble that the man in the movie did, to make the noodles, but we did make them ourselves. It turned out to be very easy and very very fun. Not as easy as opening a cardboard box of dried noodles, but much more delicious. We’ll be making more noodles, soon. And different shapes, too. Watch out!

Castaway on the Moon.

Here’s Culture’s beautiful I’m Alone in the Wilderness.

3/4 cup semolina flour
1 1/4 cup (plus a bit) white flour
1 t salt
2 T olive oil
2 eggs

Combine the flours. Make a well in the center and crack in the eggs and measure in the olive oil. Mix everything together, adding just enough water to make it into a workable dough. (I think I used about 1/4 cup) Knead on a lightly floured surface for about five minutes, till it’s lovely and soft and smooth. Wrap in plastic or cover with a damp cloth and set aside for about 15 minutes. Break into three balls. Roll each piece (one at a time) as thin as you can make it. I think I might have gotten to about 1/16th inch. You want it to be fairly even. It will become almost transparent. At this point you can cut it into whatever shape you like. I used a pizza wheel to cut long noodles that were about 1/8th inch wide. But, to be honest, they were anything but neat and uniform, until I asked David to take over. Set the noodles aside while you roll out and cut the other pieces of dough. I draped mine over a cutting board. They got kind of tangled, and I worried that they’d stick together in a big clump, but it was fine in the end.

1 T olive oil
2 cloves garlic – minced or smashed
1/2 inch piece of ginger, minced or grated
1 t red pepper flakes (or to taste)
1 t basil
1/3 cup scallions, chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
1/4 cup tamari (more to taste)
3 T brown sugar (or raw sugar)
1 T balsamic
1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
black pepper

Cucumber sliced thinly and hard-boiled eggs, chopped for garnish.

Warm the olive oil in a large frying pan or wok over medium heat. Add the garlic, ginger, basil and pepper flakes, and cook until the garlic starts to brown. Add the scallions, tamari, sugar and balsamic, and cook till it reduces quite a bit and becomes syrupy. Add the black beans. Stir to coat and cook for a few minutes. Add about 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer the sauce till it’s just as thick as you like it. If it gets too dry, you can always add more water.

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Drop in the pasta, and cook for a few minutes, till it all rises to the top. I think I cooked mine for about 5 minutes all together. Drain and toss with the tamari sauce.

Top with cucumber and hard-boiled egg, if you like. (My sons used their easter eggs!)


8 thoughts on “Homemade noodles with black beans and tamari

  1. Claire,

    I can’t remember how I stumbled onto your blog, but I have been following you now for a few weeks. I have really enjoyed reading your stories and trying your recipes, and I must admit that the new post notifications are among the emails I most eagerly anticipate.

    I also watched Castaway on the Moon not too long ago on Netflix, and my experience was much like yours. I had never heard of it either, but I loved it! I got so frustrated when he rejected the takeout and moved when he finally got to eat his own. Just a fantastic movie, and I totally get why it would inspire you to make some noodles for yourself.

    Anyway, I felt like I owed you some thanks for sharing your recipes and your life experiences with me, even if you didn’t know that you were. I’m a fan!

    Best regards,


    • Thank you so much! This really meant a lot to me. I always feel like such a pest when I post every day (or more than once a day.) Thank you!

      I felt frustrated when he sent the noodles away, too. But I think she understood why, which was a sweet touch. We found it by chance on netflix, too. I’m glad somebody else saw it and liked it. It’s nice to share a discovery like that.

      Thanks again for taking the time to write. Made my day!

  2. I’ve been following you for a few weeks too (and I made your toad in a hole). I love it that you post everyday. I don’t listen to enough music so I love your music links. And amazingly, we watched Castaway on the Moon two days ago! We loved it.

    • Thank you! I’m glad to know somebody is listening to the music, too.

      What an odd coincidence about Castaway on the Moon!

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  5. Another COTM fan who’s craving , but has never tasted, black bean with noodles!. Thank You for the recipe!, but still I’d gladly settle for a Korean restaurants take out version if I could only find one! I’m a Castaway from Black bean curd! (if there were some beautiful women watching me through a telescope, would she figure it out?)

    • Yes, I can’t pretend this is the real deal, it’s just the thing I though of when I heard the name.

      It was a wonderful movie, though! It’s nice to know so many people have seen it and loved it!

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