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.

 

Sausage, Spinach, + Sundried Tomato Stuffed Mushrooms

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When my family gathers, there are always lots of things to eat and drink–as it’s always a kind of “open-door” scenerio, we never know how many friends or other relations may stop by. One of the standards are my cousin Amy’s stuffed mushrooms. They are super simple and a total guilty pleasure–as the filling consists of sausage and cream cheese. Even though I love her version…I had to do my own version…I just can’t help myself!

For these mushrooms I swapped breakfast sausage for spicy italian (I’ll add heat anywhere I can), reduced the cream cheese by quite a bit, added some parmesan, a bit of wilted spinach for color and science, and some intensely sweet and chewy sun dried tomatoes. I added more parm and a little panko to the top for toast-iness and crunch. I think these stuffed mushrooms are the perfect 2-bite appetizer–they don’t have to be served super hot and you can eat them one handed, freeing your other hand for cocktail wrangling. Which, is totally key for appetizer greatness, amiright?!

Sausage, Spinach, and Sundried Tomato Stuffed Mushrooms

Makes 12 large stuffed mushrooms.

I used neufchatel-style cream cheese (1/3 less fat) instead of cream cheese and I don’t think the results suffered at all…but go ahead and use the regular cream cheese if you like.  I think one could go even further in the flavor department and add capers or briny olives to the filling–I didn’t think of it at the time, but I bet it’d be delish! (PS, my grocery store sells mushroom caps for stuffing, you can use regular button or cremini mushrooms–they will be smaller and will make double the amount in smaller mushrooms). 

12 large mushroom caps

1 spicy italian sausage link

2 cups fresh baby spinach

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 clove garlic, minced

salt

2 ounces neufchatel or cream cheese (cut from an 8 ounce block), softened

4-6 sun dried tomatoes, chopped

4 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese, divided

3 tablespoons panko bread crumbs, divided

olive oil

Preheat the oven to 375˚F and line a baking sheet with parchment. Set aside.

Brush off any soil stuck the the surface of the mushrooms with a pastry brush or dampened towel. Remove the stems and place the caps, well-side down, on the baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool while you prepare the filling.

In a skillet over medium-high heat, remove the sausage from the casing and crumble into the pan. Cook, breaking up the sausage into small crumbles with a wooden spoon, until browned and cooked through. Remove from skillet onto some paper towels to drain the grease and cool completely  Pour the remaining grease out of the pan, return to the heat and add the spinach, red pepper, garlic, and a sprinkle of salt. Cook the spinach over medium until wilted. Remove from the pan and set aside to cool completely.  Once cooled, squeeze the spinach to remove excess liquid. Chop coarsely.

In a small bowl combine 2 tablespoons of the parmesan with 2 tablespoons of the panko, drizzle with olive oil (1 teaspoon or so), and mix together with a fork to combine. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, stir the softened cheese until creamy and slightly loosened. Add the sun dried tomatoes, 2 tablespoons of the parmesan, 1 tablespoon of the panko, the cooked and cooled sausage, and the chopped, wilted spinach, and fold to combine. Spoon the filling into the pre-baked mushroom caps, sprinkle with the parm-panko mixture and bake in the 375˚F oven for another 10-15 minutes or until the tops are lightly browned.

 

 

 

 

Vegetable Spring Rolls

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Guys, these are DANGER and I’m crushin’ hard.

I mean, they’re so savory, so crisp, so irresistible…I can’t stop thinking about them!

For that crisp, shattering exterior, I use the super-thin spring roll wrappers found in the freezer section of an Asian market. I’m a texture girl and those super thin edges are the money bits. For reals. Most of vegetables are quickly stir-fried to retain some texture in the finished roll…except for the mushrooms, which are cooked down to nutty perfection. Ginger, soy, and fish sauce make an appearance, as well. The dipping sauce is an easy mixture of sriracha, maple syrup, and a teeny bit of fish sauce. These would be perfect for the upcoming game-day, but you might want to make a double batch or more as, in my experience, I never seem to make enough when I share these spring rolls with anyone.

Vegetable Spring Rolls

Makes 2 dozen mini spring rolls. 

There is a great Asian market not far from where I live that stocks fresh/frozen/pantry items from all over Asia. It’s pretty much amazing. I urge you to seek out a market in your area if you haven’t already…there are so many fun ingredients to be found! I used a mini wrapper that they stock, but you could use the regular size. Just use 2-3 times more of the filling per roll. These wrappers are not the translucent rice ones, or the thicker, wonton-like ones. You are looking for the ones that are square and look like the thinnest of crepes. They come frozen, so just leave them in the refrigerator for a few hours to overnight to defrost. While the wrappers can be delicate to peel apart, they do have some stretch. 

1 quart of oil (I used canola), for frying, plus 2 teaspoons

8 ounces (about 4 loosely packed cups) shredded cabbage

1 small carrot, peeled and julienned or grated coarsely

4 ounces cleaned mushrooms, stems and caps, diced

1/4 large onion, sliced thin

2 loosely packed cups spinach

1 Tablespoon grated, fresh ginger

2 teaspoons fish sauce

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1 Tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce

24 mini spring roll wrappers (or 12 if using regular sized ones)

water for sealing

Dipping Sauce:

3 Tablespoons Sriracha

2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup

1 teaspoon fish sauce, or to taste

In a small bowl whisk together the ginger, fish sauce, sesame oil, and soy sauce. Set aside.

In a very hot wok or large skillet, stir fry the cabbage, carrots, onion, and spinach with 1 teaspoon of oil until the vegetables are just starting to soften and some of the edges start to brown. Scrape the vegetables into a bowl and set aside to cool. Meanwhile, cook the mushrooms with the remaining 1 teaspoon of oil over medium heat with a pinch of salt to help release the liquid. Continue to cook the mushrooms until they turn golden brown. Scrape into the bowl with the vegetable mixture. Stir the ginger-soy mixture into the filling mixture to combine. Allow the filling to cool to room temperature before beginning the wrapping process. You can do this step the day before and refrigerate, covered, until ready to use. If the filling is wet after refrigerating, just drain the liquid so the spring rolls don’t become soggy. 

Whisk together the dipping sauce ingredients in a small bowl.

Place a spring roll wrapper on a flat surface so that it looks like a diamond, keep the rest of the wrappers covered by a damp tea towel. Place about a tablespoon of filling  on the lower 1/3 of the wrapper, fold the bottom point over the filling and roll 2/3 of the way up. Fold in sides, wet the final point lightly with the water, seal, and place on a plate. Repeat with the remaining filling and wrappers.

Heat 1 quart of oil (4 cups) in a high-sided pan (I like to use a wide saucepan with tallish sides), you will know it’s hot enough when you stick a skewer or chopstick into the oil and bubbles immediately form on the stick. Fry the spring rolls in batches until golden and crisp, anywhere from 3-4 minutes. Drain spring rolls on paper towels and serve hot and crisp with the dipping sauce.