I love Korean food. When I lived in San Francisco, I went out for Korean food at least once a week. Here in Chicago, I have only been out for Korean twice (I have more time than money these days) but regularly shop at H-Mart in Niles for my Asian groceries. At Korean restaurants, one of my favorite things is Jap Chae, stir-fried Korean glass noodles with vegetables and a sweet soy sauce marinade. I’ve made this once before (to test the mandoline I took from my mom’s kitchen):
I’m trying to clear out our food stock and we had the perfect storm of ingredients at home yesterday for a final batch of jap chae: onions, carrots, spinach, shitake mushrooms, and glass noodles. We had some daeji bulgogi in the freezer (leftovers from Korean taco night) and defrosted that for the jap chae too. The first time I made this, I had marinated bulgogi from the Korean market but you could easily throw in whatever meat you may have on hand: chicken, pork, or no meat at all would still be delicious!
I love this recipe because its so easy to put together yet it is so tasty: sweet soy sauce, crunchy vegetables, chewy noodles, and nutty sesame.
JAP CHAE (adapted from Steamy Kitchen)
- 1/2 pound dried Korean sweet potato noodles
- 2 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3/4 cup thinly sliced onions
- 1 shredded or julienned carrot
- 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1/2 cup shitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 3-4 handfuls of baby spinach
- 4 tablespoons soy sauce
- 4 teaspoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- handful of meat (chicken, beef or pork…better yet, pick up some marinated meat from the Korean market)
- Boil water, put noodles in, and remove from heat. After 10 minutes, drain noodles and toss with 1 tsp sesame oil.
- In a separate bowl, mix soy sauce & sugar together.
- Heat oil and sautee garlic, onions and carrots. When the onions and carrots have softened, throw in the meat & mushrooms. Once the meat is browned, add the spinach, soy sauce & sugar and the noodles. Fry 2-3 minutes, giving the sauce a little time to caramelize.
- Turn off heat, toss with sesame seeds and the remaining 1 1/2 tsp of sesame oil.
- The great thing about this recipe is that its so flexible. You can throw in whatever vegetables you like and omit others. I don’t like bell peppers but had some leftover from a vegetable platter. I threw those into the 2nd batch for color and picked them out when I was eating (and threw them in Joel’s bowl).
- A double batch of this recipe perfectly fills a 12×10 aluminum chafing dish steam pan.