Jap Chae – Korean Glass Noodles with Vegetables

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Guys, I made you something very near and dear to my food-lovin’ heart. It’s a food of my people and of my childhood. I think most people think of kimchi when they think of Korean food, but these noodles are a staple in Korean cuisine as well.

Jap chae!

Jap chae is a traditional Korean dish made with sweet potato starch noodles. I usually don’t make this dish, I often buy it from the Korean market, where they make it fresh, or I just have my mom make it for me. After I made this batch and instagrammed it, my mom called to tell me it looked beautiful. Let me tell you guys, this was a major deal. Korean-mother approval= MAJOR! The noodles are clear, stretchy, and delightfully chewy. The ingredients are super simple and this dish comes together quickly after a little bit of chop-chopping and prep. It’s the dish most of my non-Korean friends fall for first when introducing them to Korean fare. My BFF loves these noodles and affectionately refers to them as “sticky-hand noodles”.

When I was a kid, these noodles were probably one of my favorite foods ever. I mean, they are stretchy…just like those sticky-hands you get out of those toy machines near the front doors of the supermarket…and they’re noodle-y! I have always loved noodles and Jap Chae is definitely one of my favorite noodle dishes of all time…plus, it picnics like a champ since it is just as delish at room temperature as it is warm.

[recipe]

Print Recipe

Jap Chae – Korean Glass Noodle with Vegetables

For this recipe the right kind of noodle is key. Look for Korean glass noodles, a sweet potato starch noodle that can be found at a well-stocked Asian Market or order them online*. They are gray and semi-translucent, dried noodles that become clear and stretchy with cooked.

Sauce:

3-4 tablespoons soy sauce (I use low-sodium)

2-3 tablespoons maple syrup (or sugar)

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Noodles:

8 ounces  dried Korean Glass noodles

8 ounces baby spinach

8 ounces button or cremini mushrooms, sliced

1 large carrot, julienned

5 green onions, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 cloves garlic, minced

canola oil for sautéing

toasted sesame seeds for garnish

In a small dish whisk together the soy, maple, and sesame oil. Set aside.

In a skillet wilt the spinach with a little bit of oil and a pinch of salt. Once just wilted, stir in 1/3 of the minced garlic. Remove from skillet and set aside.

Wipe out the skillet and add a bit more oil. Add the sliced mushrooms and a pinch of salt. Cook the mushrooms until all of the liquid they release evaporates and the mushrooms begin to brown around the edges. Add 1/3 of the minced garlic and stir to combine. Remove from the skillet and set aside.

Wipe out the skillet and cook the carrots with a pinch of salt and the remaining garlic a minute or two until the carrots are just warmed through but still crisp. Add the green onions and cook an additional 60 seconds. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Drop the dried noodles into the boiling water and cook about 8 minutes or until noodles are clear, stretchy and tender. Immediately pour into a colander to drain and rinse  well with cold water. This helps improve the texture of the noodles. In a large bowl toss the sauce and vegetables with the noodles to coat. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve warm or room temperature. [/recipe]

*This post contains links for reference.

 

Lentil-Mushroom Burgers

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If you know me, in real life, it’s no secret that I L-O-V-E a burger. I’m pretty much into them at any time of the day and while beef burgers are queen–I love a veggie/legume burger too. I’m not talking the freezer-section kind (nothing wrong with those), I’m talking about the kind you can whip up at home and load with savory flavors.

In the last year I’ve fallen in love with the humble lentil (I make this Lemon-Lentil soup on the regular). Paired with mushrooms, this burger doesn’t give you the texture of meat (that’s okay though  it’s a veggie burg!) but, what it does have is a ton of fiber that really fills you up. Like, I’m-ready-for-bed-now-full. While talk of filling fiber may not be the sexiest thing ever, these burgers won’t leave you feeling like something is missing.

To ensure maximum flavor, I load these burgers with savory aromatics in the form of lots of sauteed onion and plenty of garlic. The mushrooms are sweated, then cooked to deep brown deliciousness. A few sun-dried tomatoes further punch up the flavor. There are lentils, breadcrumbs, and an egg to keep things together. I like to pan cook these burgers with a little grape seed oil, which has a high smoke point allowing you to get a super crispy crust on the outside of the lentil burger–which is key for texture and maximum deliciousness. I topped the burgers with sweet roasted tomatoes, caramelized onion*, a super easy avocado spread, as well as some spinach, grainy mustard, and a little swiss for good measure.

*Let your onions get some more caramel color–I was impatient and hungry for lunch…don’t be me.

Lentil-Mushroom Burgers

adapted from Cooking Light 

Makes 4 large burgers

I used dried brown lentils for this recipe. I cooked 1 cup dry, which yielded 2 cups cooked. You only need 1 cup for this recipe–but, you can use the remainders dressed with a little vinaigrette and some vegetables, they would make a really nice salad, or make soup, or another batch of burgers!

5 whole wheat hamburger buns

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, diced small

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 package (6ounces) cremini mushrooms, stems and caps chopped

3-4 sun-dried tomatoes

1 cup cooked brown lentils (method below)

1 egg

salt and pepper

grape seed oil, or preferred oil

roasted tomatoes

caramelized onions

avocado yogurt spread

spinach/swiss optional

Process 1 burger bun in a food processor to make crumbs. Set aside.

In a saute pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high and saute onion with a pinch of salt until soft and a few bits turn brown around the edges. Add the garlic, stir, and cook an additional 30-60 seconds. Scrape the onion mix into a bowl. Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the pan, heat it over high and add the mushrooms followed by a pinch of salt–let the mushrooms sweat–they will release a lot of liquid. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook until the liquid evaporates and the mushrooms turn deep golden brown. Scrape the mushroom mixture into the bowl with the onions–set aside to cool to room temp.

In the food processor add the sun dried tomatoes–process to mince, add the onion/mushroom mixture and process until mushrooms are finely diced. Add the lentils, process so that some of the lentils are pasty and some are still whole. Scrape the mixture into a mixing bowl and mix in the breadcrumbs, egg, a pinch of salt and pepper–to combine well. Allow the mixture to rest about 30 minutes in the refrigerator–this makes it easier to form the patties.

Divide the lentil mixture into four portions. Form each portion into a ball and flatten into a patty. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, add about 2 Tablespoons grape seed oil to the pan. Add the lentil patties and cook on each side until crisp and deeply golden–about 3-5 minutes per side depending on the heat of your pan. If using cheese, add the cheese to the patties after the first flip.

Serve on toasted buns with desired condiments.

Lentils 

1 cup dried lentils–rinsed and picked over for rocks and shriveled lentils

2 cups water

In a saucepan add the lentils and water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook covered for about 20 minutes or until lentils are tender. Drain if there is any remaining water.

Roasted Tomatoes

1 pint grape tomatoes

olive oil

salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400*F. Line a baking sheet with parchment and pierce the tomatoes with a knife and spread across the baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for about 15 minutes or until the tomatoes have slumped over and begun to caramelize.

Caramelized Onions

1 large onion, sliced

olive oil

salt

Heat a saute pan over low heat. Add a few teaspoons olive oil, onions, and a pinch of salt. Cook over low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally until deep golden brown and sweet.

Avocado-Yogurt Spread

1 ripe avocado

3 Tablespoons plain greek yogurt

salt

juice of 1/2 lemon

Mash the all of the ingredients together in a bowl to form a smooth spread. Salt to taste.