Chap Chae

I was introduced to chap chae by a Korean friend who brought it to a dinner party. I kept asking for a recipe, and probably annoyed her to pieces. I received the typical, “just throw a bunch of stuff together” response from those who are so good at cooking… I need more guidance than that. So, I googled for a recipe (how did anyone survive before Google?). This is when I stumbled upon Jaden’s website, Steamy Kitchen. I’ve used it as a resource for asian food ever since.

Chap chae introduced me to sweet potato noodles. As soon as I tried it, I loved it, specifically I loved the different texture.

I’ve finally made chap chae enough times now that I feel comfortable changing it up a little (very little). It is very close to my favorite noodle dish, the noodles and the mushrooms are all I really need in the dish. As I ate this yesterday, I realized that I had made a vegetarian dish. So yummy.

Chap Chae
from Steamy Kitchen
1/2 pound dried Korean sweet potato noodles (I can only find this at an Asian supermarket)
2 1/2 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, wood ear) (I have tried dry & fresh. I’ve decided to buy these mushroom dry then I can make this dish at anytime. If you use dry, be sure to follow the directions on the package to rehydrate it)
1/2 lb spinach, washed well and drained (I’ve also used frozen)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Cook the noodles for about 5 minutes, be sure not to overcook the noodles. 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.

In bowl, mix soy sauce & sugar together. 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 (last time I used onion powder, since I didn’t have onions) and carrots, until just softened, about 1 minute. 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 1 1/2 tsp of sesame oil.

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