Sunday, December 11, 2011

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

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 several recipes, including those from Maangchi's Real Korean Cooking and Judy Joo's Korean Food Made Simple.


This recipe will easily serve a healthy 6-8 portions.






Ingredients:

1 lb. beef tenderloin, flank steak or ribeye, cut into thin 2" strips (ok to substitute with pork country ribs or loin, or even chicken)


MEAT MARINADE:

2 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. sesame oil
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 green onion, chopped

16 oz. dried Korean sweet potato noodles ('Dang myun')

2 tbsp. soy sauce

1 medium onion, thinly sliced
4-5 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated

8 oz. fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced (or substitute with 6 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in hot water for 15-20 minutes, stemmed, then sliced)



8 oz. sliced button or cremini mushrooms

1 large red bell pepper, seeded and julienned

1 large jalapeno pepper, seeded and julienned
1 large carrot, julienned
4-5 scallions, sliced along the bias
5 oz. baby spinach leaves

2 eggs, lightly beaten with a pinch of salt

8-oz package of artificial Krab, broken up into large pieces  or 1 Kamaboko fish cake, thinly sliced (optional)


SAUCE:
4 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. sesame oil 
2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 tbsp. roasted white sesame seeds


1. Place the sliced meat in a bowl with the marinade ingredients. Mix to combine, cover, and refrigerate at least 30 minutes up to 2 hours until ready to use. 

2. Chop and julienne all the veggies and set aside.


3. Add a couple teaspoons of oil in a small saute pan over medium high heat. Add the beaten egg and swirl to spread evenly into a thin layer. After about 15-20 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. Once the scrambled eggs are cool enough to handle, slice into thin strips, cover and set aside.


4. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook about 6 minutes over medium high heat, until just tender. Drain the noodles in a colander and rinse under cool tap water. Use kitchen shears to cut the noodles into more manageable lengths, if desired. Toss well with 2 tbsp. of soy sauce and set aside.


5. Heat 2 tbsp. vegetable oil in a large sauce pan or wok over high heat. Add the marinated beef strips and cook 4-5 minutes, stirring only occasionally, until lightly browned. Remove and set aside. 


6. Heat 2-3 tsp. of oil in the same pan over medium high heat. Add the sliced onions and minced garlic and saute for 3-4 minutes or until they start to soften. 


7. Add the carrots and mushrooms and continue cooking another 4-5 minutes until slightly softened (if too dry, add a little extra oil to the pan). Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.


8. Add the red bell pepper, jalapeno, and Krab to the pan and cook another 3-4 minutes until the peppers are slightly softened. 


9. Add the spinach leaves and stir briefly until wilted. 


10. Add the reserved noodles, scallions and beef and stir briefly to separate the noodle strands. Stir in the sauce and mix gently until combined. 


11. Plate and garnish with chopped cilantro. Serve warm or at room temperature. 



Cut meat into thin shreds.


Marinate the beef slices 30 minutes up to 2 hours covered with plastic wrap in the frig.


Combine the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl; set aside.


Minced garlic, sliced scallions, julienned jalapeño, red bell pepper, carrots, sliced fresh shiitake mushrooms and button mushrooms, thinly sliced onion.

If using dried shiitakes, soak them first in hot water to rehydrate. 


 Add a couple teaspoons of oil in a small saute pan over medium high heat. Add the beaten egg and swirl to spread the egg evenly into a thin layer. After about 15-20 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 to cool before slicing.


Sliced scrambled eggs.

Korean Sweet Potato Noodles.


Bring a large pot of unsalted water to a boil over medium high heat and cook noodles about 6 minutes or until just tender. 

Drain noodles in colander, rinse under cool tap water and cut into shorter 
lengths with kitchen shears. 


Toss the noodles with 2 tbsp. soy sauce; set aside.

Spinach leaves.


You can also used packaged baby spinach.

Saute the marinated beef, remove and set aside. 


In the same pan, saute the garlic and sliced onion until slightly wilted. 


Add the carrots and mushrooms; season lightly with salt and pepper. 


Add the Krab, julienned red bell pepper and jalapeño. 


 Add the noodles, beef, scallions and sauce. Stir gently to combine.
Add the spinach leaves and stir until wilted, then the egg shred and stir gently 
until all the ingredients are combined.

Plate and serve warm or at room temperature.


Garnish with cilantro if desired.

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