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Jap Chae: Korean Glass Noodles “You will become addicted,” one of my Korean friends said while warning me about watching Korean soap operas. Addiction is an understatement. As a result of these soap operas, I find myself immersing in Korean culture to the point where I listen to Korean music (the lyrics of which I don’t completely understand), recognize aspects of Korean culture, and experiment with flavors and textures of Korean cuisine. One of my family’s favorite Korean noodle dishes is Jap Chae; it’s made from gluten-free sweet potato noodles and fresh vegetables. It’s delicious or, as they say in Korea, Mah Sit Sso Yo!

Jap Chae: Korean Glass Noodles
Steamy Kitchen

INGREDIENTS
1/2 pound dried Korean sweet potato noodles
2½ teaspoons sesame oil, divided
1 tablespoon cooking oil
3/4 cup thinly sliced onions
2 carrots, cut into matchsticks
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 stalks green onions, cut into 1″ lengths
1/2 cup mushrooms, thinly sliced (shitake or wood ear)
1/2 lb spinach, washed well and drained
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon sesame seeds

DIRECTIONS
1. Fill a large pot with water and boil. When water is boiling, add the noodles and cook for 5 minutes. Immediately drain and rinse with cold water. Drain again and toss with only 1 tsp of the sesame oil. Use kitchen shears to cut noodles into shorter pieces, about 8 inches in length. Set aside.

2. In bowl, mix soy sauce and sugar together. Set aside.

3. Add the cooking oil in a wok or large saute pan on high heat and swirl to coat. When the cooking oil is hot, but not smoking, fry onions and carrots, until just softened, about 1 minute.

4. Add the garlic, green onions and mushrooms, fry 30 seconds. Then add the spinach, soy sauce, sugar and the noodles. Fry 2-3 minutes until the noodles are cooked through. Turn off heat, toss with sesame seeds and the remaining 1½ tsp of sesame oil.

Serves 4

LINNELL’S NOTES
1. Sweet potato vermicelli (dang myun), dried shitake mushrooms, and dried wood ears can be found in most Asian markets or can be ordered online.

2. If you are using dried shitake mushrooms or dried wood ears instead of fresh, they will need to be soaked in warm water for about 15 minutes to rehydrate them prior to using.

3. Sometimes when I feel lazy, I buy a bag of shredded carrots and a bag of prewashed baby spinach leaves at my local grocery store.

4. If you would like to add some beef to this dish, thin strips of beef can be partially stir fried in step 3 before adding the onions and carrots.

5. Thin slices of red bell peppers can also be added in step 4.

6. This noodle dish can be served at room temperature.

7. Because my family likes this dish, I always double the recipe.

Enjoy!

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Jjim-Dak: Korean Vegetable Chicken Stew Whether it’s a pot-au-feu from France, a goulash from Hungary, or a moqueca from Brazil, stews from around the world warm the tummy and soothe the soul. From a cookbook that contains recipes from the best Korean restaurants in Los Angeles, comes this easy to make Korean stew. This fiery and fragrant stew will definitely spice up your stew repertoire!

Jjim-Dak – Korean Vegetable Chicken Stew
Discovering Korean Cuisine, edited by Allisa Park

INGREDIENTS
1½ pounds chicken, cleaned and chopped into 2-inch pieces
1 potato, cut into 1-inch slices crosswise
3½ cups water
5 scallions, halved lengthwise and then cut into 4-inch pieces
1/2 large onion, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
1/4 carrot, peeled and cut diagonally into 1/4-inch pieces
1 jalapeño chile, cut into 1/4-inch rounds
1/4 red bell pepper, seeded, cut into 1/4-inch strips
5  leaves spinach, cut into 2-inch pieces
3 ounces Korean sweet potato vermicelli (dang myun), soaked in warm water for 1 hour
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon red pepper powder
1 tablespoon Korean hot pepper paste (gochujang)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon mirin
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1/4 pack enoki mushrooms, roots trimmed
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted

DIRECTIONS
1. Soak sweet potato vermicelli in warm water.

2. In a large pot (or wok), combine chicken, potato, water, minced garlic, soy sauce, red pepper powder, hot pepper paste, sugar and mirin.

3. Boil over high heat for about 20 minutes with the lid on (or until chicken is fully cooked).

4. Remove the lid and add corn syrup, scallions, onion, carrot, jalapeño chile, and red bell pepper. Quickly mix together and continue cooking for another 5 minutes.

5. Add spinach and prepared sweet potato vermicelli on top and put the lid on (do not mix in). Heat for an additional 2 minutes and then remove from heat.

6. Open the lid and gently mix, then transfer to a serving plate.

7. Put the enoki mushrooms on top and sprinkle on sesame seeds to garnish.

Serving size: 2

LINNELL’S NOTES
1. Korean Ingredients Sweet potato vermicelli and the Korean hot pepper paste (gochujang) can be purchased at most Asian markets or ordered online. Here’s a link to a listing of online stores that carry Korean ingredients.

2. Because it didn’t make sense to use just a quarter of a carrot and because I like a lot of vegetables in my stews, I used a whole carrot.

3. I had baby spinach leaves on hand, so I didn’t need to cut them into 2-inch pieces. I used a large handful.

4. In step 3 of the directions, I turned the temperature down to medium, because it had reached a rapid boil. I wanted more time for the flavors to mingle and I didn’t want to overcook the chicken.

5. Not having authentic Korean red pepper powder, I substituted ground red pepper (cayenne pepper). 1 tablespoon of cayenne pepper seemed like a lot of heat to me (along with the jalapeño chile and the Korean hot pepper paste), so I cut it back to 1/2 tablespoon. The recipe still had quite a bit of kick. I’m not sure what the heat difference or flavor difference is between cayenne pepper and Korean red pepper powder, but I’ll try it with the authentic red pepper powder the next time I make it. I’d also recommend adding any heat element to taste.

6. I researched enoki mushrooms and found differing opinions on their preparation. Mushroom growers said to just cut off the root end, but some online “experts” said to run it under water and then cut off the root end. The Korean cookbook said, “Sold in plastic bag. Chop off the roots without removing the bag and discard,” so I ultimately followed the cookbook’s instructions.

7. I buy pre-toasted sesame seeds that I keep in my freezer. Before using, I quickly re-toast the needed amount. Toasting sesame seeds brings out their flavor. To toast sesame seeds, put them in a small sauté/frying pan over medium to medium-high heat. Stir constantly until they are a light golden brown. Pour them on a plate to cool.

8. Although this dish contains sweet potato noodles, I served it with rice. I wanted the rice to soak up every last bit of the delicious sauce!

ENJOY!

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