Sunday, December 11, 2011

Japchae (Korean Stir-Fried Sweet Potato Noodles with Vegetables)

This is my first attempt at making this dish, and it turned out pretty close to what I remember Japchae should taste like. Japchae is apparently the Korean version of Chop Suey. Next to kimchee and spicy tofu with pork (great cold weather eats, btw), this is one of my fav Korean dishes. Believe it or not, the first time I had this dish was many years ago at the food court in the West Covina mall. Back in the day when we still lived in La Puente, there was a fast food joint at the mall run by a Korean family that served some pretty awesome food for mall food. Then (ca. 2004-2005), a full-service Korean restaurant opened up next to the Hong Kong Market in W. Covina and we started getting Japchae takeout from them.  What makes Japchae so unique amongst all other Asian stir-fried noodle dishes is not the veggies, meat or seasonings, but rather the noodles themselves, which are made from sweet potatoes that become transparent when cooked (hence the aka 'glass' noodles). They have a unique, kind of slippery but chewy texture that makes them delicious and fun to eat. My version of Japchae is an adaptation of the recipe from Maangchi's Real Korean Cooking. Maangchi rocks! 


This recipe will easily serve a healthy 6-8 portions (maybe even more). Halve the recipe if serving fewer because these noodles will only keep for about 1-2 days (longer than that, the noodles get mushy).


Ingredients:

1 lb. boneless pork country ribs or loin, or beef tenderloin, cut into thin strips
MEAT MARINADE:
2 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. sesame oil
1 clove finely minced garlic
1 green onion, chopped

10 oz. fresh spinach leaves
SPINACH SEASONING:
1 tsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. sesame oil
pinch of black pepper

16 oz. dried Korean sweet potato noodles ('Dang myun')
NOODLE SEASONING:
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. sugar

6 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in hot water for 15-20 minutes, then sliced
1 cup dried shredded wood ear fungus, soaked in hot water 15-20 min. (optional)

1 medium onion, thinly sliced 
4-5 scallions, cut into 1" sections along the bias
4-5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 8-oz. box sliced button mushrooms

1 large red bell pepper, seeded and julienned
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and sliced
1 large carrot, cut into matchsticks (julienned)

4 eggs, lightly beaten

8-oz package of artificial Krab (optional)
1 piece of Kamaboko fish cake, thinly sliced (optional)

SAUCE:
5 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. sesame oil 
1 tbsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper

1 tbsp. toasted white sesame seeds


1. Place the sliced meat in a bowl, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use.

2. Place the dried shiitakes and dried wood ear fungus (if using) in a bowl and cover with very hot water. Let sit for at least 15-20 minutes or until softened. Remove the shiitakes, squeeze dry, and cut into slices. Add the shiitakes and wood ear to the meat, add the marinade, stir well to combine, cover and refrigerate until ready to use. 

3. Chop and julienne all the remaining veggies and set aside.

4. Add a couple teaspoons of oil in a small saute pan over medium high heat. Add half of the beaten egg and swirl to spread the egg evenly into a thin layer. After about 30 seconds, when the bottom just begins to set, lift the egg gently with a spatula to let some of the raw egg run under. Flip the egg, cook for another 5 seconds, then remove to a plate. Repeat with the remaining beaten egg. Once the scrambled eggs are cool enough to handle, stack the egg layers on top of each other, cut in half, the slice into thin strips. Set aside.

5. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the spinach and blanch for 20-30 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon to a colander and immediately run under cold water to stop the cooking. Squeeze dry, then roughly chop on a chopping board. Place the spinach in a small bowl, toss with the spinach seasonings, and set aside.

6. Bring the same pot of water back up to a boil. Add the noodles and cook 5-10 minutes over medium high heat, until just tender. Drain the noodles in a colander and cut a few times with kitchen shears. Pour noodles back into the dry pan, toss with noodle seasoning, and set aside.

7. Heat 2-3 tsp. of oil in a large skillet or wok. Add the sliced onions and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add the scallions and minced garlic and toss for 30 seconds. Pour the mixture over the noodles. 

8. Heat 2-3 tsp. oil over medium high heat in the same pan and add the sliced button mushrooms, season with a pinch of salt, and stir-fry another 2-3 minutes until the mushrooms have softened. Pour the mixture over the noodles. 

9. Place the skillet back on the stove, add 2-3 tsp. oil over medium high heat. Add the julienned carrots and saute for 1-2 minutes (add 1 tbsp. of water if the pan gets too dry). Pour over the noodles.

10. Heat 2-3 tsp. oil in the pan, add the julienned bell pepper, jalapeño, and a pinch of salt and continue stir-frying for 1-2 minutes or until the veggies are just al dente. Add to the noodles. 

9. Place the skillet back on the stove, add 2-3 tsp. oil over medium high heat. Add the meat-shiitake-wood ear mixture and saute 2-3 minutes. Add the Krab and/or sliced fish cakes, if using. Continue stir-frying for several minutes until the meat is just cooked through. Add to the noodle mixture.

10. Add the spinach and egg shreds to the noodles. Add the sauce ingredients and sesame seeds and gently stir everything together until well blended. Taste and re-season, as needed. 

11. Serve warm or at room temperature.  


Cut pork into thin shreds.

Soak the dried shiitake mushrooms (and sliced wood ear fungus, if using) in hot water to rehydrate.

Combine the shiitakes, wood ear fungus, and pork shreds with the marinade. Toss well, cover and refrigerate 20 min to 2 hours.

 Add a couple teaspoons of oil in a small saute pan over medium high heat. Add half of the beaten egg and swirl to spread the egg evenly into a thin layer. After about 30 seconds, when the bottom just begins to set, lift the egg gently with a spatula to let some of the raw egg run under. Flip the egg, cook for another 5 seconds, then remove to a plate. Repeat with the remaining beaten egg. 

Blanch the spinach 20-30 seconds in boiling water.

Immediately strain the spinach in a colander and run under cold water to stop the cooking.  Squeeze dry with hands and place on a chopping board.

Slice the eggs into strips and roughly chop the spinach.

Place the chopped spinach in a bowl and season with soy sauce, sesame oil and black pepper. Set aside. 

Korean Sweet Potato Noodles.

Bring the spinach cooking water back up to boil over medium high heat and cook noodles 5-10 minutes or until just tender. 


Drain noodles in colander and cut into shorter lengths with kitchen shears. 

Pour the noodles into the dry pan that the noodles had been cooking in. Toss with 1 tbsp. sesame oil, 1 tbsp. soy sauce, and 1 tsp. sugar. Set aside. 

Julienned red bell peppers, carrots, sliced onion, scallion, shiitake mushrooms, jalapeno pepper, minced garlic.

Spinach leaves.

Sliced button mushrooms.

 Saute the onion, garlic and scallions.

Pour over the noodles.

In the same pan, add 2-3 tsp. oil and saute the sliced button mushrooms until lightly browned. Add to the noodles.

Saute the carrots and add to the noodles.

Saute the pepper mixture and add to the noodles.

Saute the marinated meat, shiitakes and wood ear until the meat is partially cooked through.

Add the artificial Krab and/or sliced Kamaboko fish cake, if using and continue cooking until the meat is just done.

Add the meat mixture, egg shreds, spinach, sesame seed and sauce to the noodles; stir gently until all the ingredients are combined.

Sauce: 5 tbsp. soy sauce, 1 tbsp. sesame oil, 2 tbsp. sugar, 1 tbsp. kosher salt, 1/2 tsp. black pepper.



No comments:

Post a Comment