Tag Archives: noodles

japchae: yummy korean noodles

13 Apr

Whenever I start a new job, my biggest concern is food. Feeding times. Snacks. Packing lunches. How my hours will affect weeknight dinner plans. What can I say, I’m a primate and I gotta EAT!

As an adieu to the fancy weeknight cooking I’ve become accustomed to working from home for the past year, I whipped up one fabulous weeknight “last supper” — Chinese-style steamed halibut, sauteed pea shoots, sukjunamul, and a Korean-style noodle dish called japchae.

This kind of Chinese-Korean hodgepodge meal is my favorite, probably because I am a hodgepodge of these ethnicities myself. Add a couple sides of kimchi or sashimi, and you’ll find me clapping with excitement.

I had never attempted japchae before, but it seemed pretty straightforward — sweet potato noodles, veggies, and some beef. I happened to have a scattering of leftover veggies and beef from Shabu Sunday (a new tradition), so this recipe also helped clean out the fridge!

japchae: korean noodles
chewy happy food

* 8 ounces sweet potato noodles
* 1/2 bunch spinach (about 4 ounces), rinsed and trimmed
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
* 6 ounces beef rib-eye, cut into 1/4- to 1/2-inch-thick strips
* 1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon soy sauce
* 1/4 medium onion, sliced into thin wedges
* 4 fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced
* 1 carrot, julienned
* 3 green onions, cut into 1-inch lengths, whites halved and separated
* 1/4 cup sugar (I used agave nectar to avoid dissolving issues)
* Toasted sesame seeds for garnish

Cook the sweet potato noodles in a large pot of boiling water for 4 to 5 minutes. Immediately drain and rinse thoroughly under cold water. Be sure not to overcook the noodles, or they will lose their chewy texture. If you like, cut the noodles with scissors into 6- to 7-inch lengths for easier eating.

Blanch the spinach in boiling water. Rinse immediately under cold water, squeeze the water from the leaves and form into a ball, and then cut the ball in half. Combine the spinach, half the garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of the sesame oil, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Set aside to let the flavors soak in.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beef, the remaining garlic, 1 teaspoon of the soy sauce, and 1 teaspoon of the sesame oil. Stir-fry until the beef is cooked, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the onion, mushrooms, and carrot and cook until the onion is translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the green onions and stir-fry for another minute. Remove from the heat.

In a large bowl, thoroughly combine the noodles, beef mixture, spinach, remaining 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1 tablespoon sesame oil, and the sugar. Serve warm, sprinkled with sesame seeds. Serves 4 to 5 as a side dish. Adapted from Quick and Easy Korean Cooking.

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“otsu” ginger sesame soba

30 Jun

Living in San Francisco, it’s easy to forget what it’s like to sweat through a shirt in the stifling summer heat. Thankfully this weekend I traded in the crummy June fog for the blue skies and rolling vined hills of wine country, not to mention 96-degree temps… Pulsing swollen mosquito bites… Hands singed on a hot steering wheel… Fleeting notions of removing one’s sweaty bra…

There are few things that will cool a body’s internal temperature down on stifling days like those. A cold shower, iced tea and “Otsu” Cold Soba Salad.

Grated ginger and Japanese pepper powder add heat to a soy vinaigrette that’s emulsified with sesame oil. Tossed into a chilled bowl of soba noodles, fried tofu, cilantro and scallions, the combo of cool, spicy, crunchy and smooth is enough to trick the body back into perfect equilibrium.

“Otsu” Cold Soba Salad
Adapted from Pomelo restaurant

Serves 4

Ginger-sesame dressing:
* zest of 1 lemon
* 1 1/2 oz. cleaned ginger, thinly sliced
* 1 T. granulated sugar
* 3/4 t. cayenne (I used Nanami Togarashi Japanese Pepper instead)
* 3/4 t. salt (I skipped the salt)
* 1 T. fresh lemon juice
* 1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
* 1/3 cup soy sauce
* 2 T. canola oil (I used olive)
* 2 T. pure sesame oil

Soba Noodle Salad:
* 1 package (9-10 oz.) soba noodles, cooked and rinsed in cold running water
* 1 block firm tofu, cut to 1/2″ cubes
* 2 T. canola oil
* 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
* 3 scallions, green and white part, cleaned and thinly sliced
* 1/2 cucumber, peeled and cut in half lengthwise then cut across into thin half-moons
* Sprinkle sesame seeds + cilantro sprigs for garnish

In a food processor, combine lemon zest, ginger, sugar, cayenne, and salt and process to a smooth puree; add lemon juice, rice vinegar and soy sauce. Blend well. Slowly add canola oil and sesame oil until well combined.

Add tofu to a large non-stick skillet without any oil and toss over high heat until all water has evaporated; add canola oil, reduce heat to medium-high and fry, tossing frequently until tofu is firm and bouncy; beware of possible splattering; drain over paper towels; in a large mixing bowl combine drained soba noodles, cilantro, scallions, cucumber and 2-3 oz dressing, toss well; arrange salad in center of large plate and top with fried tofu. Garnish with sesame seeds and cilantro sprigs.