Jap-Chae

I made jap-chae the other day because I was jones-ing for it. I have a korean friend at the office, and her mum makes her the most scrumptious looking korean meals, and I had food envy. So in the absence of a generous korean mum, I made my own jap-chae.

You can get your sweet potato noodles from your friendly neighbourhood asian grocer. All the other ingredients are easily sourced from Coles or Woolies.

I thought it would be really easy, but it really wasn’t. You have to completely focused on the order of things, and making sure you follow the recipe, it was kind of stressful. Delicious, but stressful.

One thing I realised as I made my massive serving of jap-chae for one, is that this dish does not taste healthy. After having healthy salad lunches for 2 months, I really struggled to eat this dish for my lunches. Oh well, back to salads next week.

Serves: 8-10 people

Prep-time: 1 hour

Cooking time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

MAIN

400g  Korean sweet potato starch noodles (dangmyeon)
300g rib eye fillet
2 medium carrots – rinsed, peeled & julienned
100g baby corn – rinsed, halved length-wise

200g baby spinach – rinsed and drained
1 large yellow onion – peeled, rinsed, thinly sliced
200g fresh shiitake mushroom – cleaned, thinly sliced

SPINACH SEASONING

1/2 tsp fine salt
1 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp sesame oil

BEEF MARINADE

3 Tbsp soy sauce
3 tsp rice wine (mirin)
2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
3 tsp sesame oil

NOODLES & MUSHROOM MARINADE – MIX THESE IN A SMALL BOWL

8 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp sesame oil
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

FINISHING TOUCH

1 Tbsp sesame seeds
1 Tbsp sesame oil
(Optional) 1 extra large egg

OTHER

Cooking oil
Fine sea salt
Water to boil the spinach and the noodles

Instructions

  1. Prepare the rib eye fillet by gently wiping/soaking off the blood with kitchen paper. Thinly slice it and put the strips into a medium bowl. Add the “beef marinade” and gently mix the sauce into the meat. Cover the bowl with food wrap  and leave it on the bench for about 30 mins (until you get the rest of the ingredients ready).
  2. Prepare the vegetables (carrots, baby corn, onion, shiitake mushrooms) as instructed in the “main ingredients” section.
  3. Put the sliced mushroom into a medium bowl and add 1 Tbsp of “noodles & mushroom marinade” mixture. Mix them well. Leave it on the bench until you cook it (in about 20 mins).
  4. Boil some water in a medium pot. Once the water starts to boil (5-6 mins later), dip the spinach in for 5 to 10 seconds and scoop it out with strainer  (or you can drain the water out). Quickly cool down the spinach by running it under cold tap water. Squeeze the spinach to remove any excess water and put it into a mixing bowl.  Add the “spinach seasoning” and mix them evenly and lightly. Put it into a large mixing bowl where we will be adding all the other ingredients in later.
  5. Boil some water in a large pot. Once the water starts to boil (6 to 8 mins later), add the noodles and boil them for 7 mins. Drain the water. Rinse in cold water to cool down the noodles and let the water drain for 1 to 2 mins. Cut the noodles with a pair of kitchen scissors a couple of times. (between 15 to 20 cm (6 to 8 inches) length is good). Move the noodles into a mixing bowl and pour in the rest of the “noodles & mushroom marinade” mixture. Mix them well. Leave it on the bench until you cook it (in about 10 mins).
  6. Start cooking the vegetables. We are cooking lighter colour to darker colour and will be using only one non-stick pan/skillet. Once each step is completed, move them into the large mixing bowl, where we will be mixing all ingredients in before serving.
  7. Beat the egg with a fork. Add some cooking oil (1 tsp) and spread it well. Pour the egg mixture and cook both sides on low heat (1-2 mins). Move it onto a plate or clean cutting board.
  8. Add some cooking oil (1 to 2 tsp, if necessary), the onion and pinch of salt and stir fry it until it is cooked (1-2 mins) on low to medium heat. Move into the large mixing bowl.
  9. Add some cooking oil (1 to 2 tsp, if necessary), the baby corn and pinch of salt and stir fry it until it is cooked (1-2 mins) on low to medium heat. Move into the large mixing bowl.
  10. Add some cooking oil (1 to 2 tsp, if necessary), the carrots and pinch of salt and stir fry until it is cooked (1-2 mins) on medium heat. Move into the large mixing bowl.
  11. Add some cooking oil (1 to 2 tsp, if necessary), pour in the marinated mushroom (incl. the residue sauce from the bowl) and stir fry until it is cooked (1-2 mins) on low to medium heat. Move into the large mixing bowl.
  12. Add some cooking oil (1 to 2 tsp, if necessary), pour in the marinated meat  and stir fry until it is cooked (2-3 mins) on medium heat. Move into the large mixing bowl.
  13. Add some cooking oil (1 to 2 tsp, if necessary), marinated noodles and stir fry until it is cooked (2-3 mins) on low to medium heat. Move into the large mixing bowl.
  14. Thinly slice the egg like match sticks. Add them into the large mixing bowl.
  15. Add the rest of the “finishing touch” ingredients – sesame oil and sesame seeds in the large mixing bowl and mix them gently and evenly with your hands. (Watch your hands as the ingredients, particularly the noodles might be still hot. You can also use a salad server to mix initially then mix with your hands once it cools down enough). Serve and enjoy!

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