Saturday, March 10, 2007

New Year's Food, Part 2: jap chae

Jap chae is really easy but kind of time consuming. It basically has four steps:
  • Julienne veggies.
  • Sautee veggies.
  • Mix with sweet potato noodles (which you'll have cooked in a step that doesn't exist here).
  • Season with soy sauce and sesame oil.
It's pretty simple, really. The secret to having an authentic tasting jap chae is in what vegetables you use and how carefully you season.

Ingredient #6: Julienned scallions

I used the following:
  • Onion
  • Scallion
  • Shiitake mushroom
  • Carrot
  • Egg (see previous post)
  • Bell pepper (there was a red one in addition to the green one shown, but it was not fit to eat, sadly)
I didn't have spinach on hand because I forgot when I went shopping. My mom usually makes this with little bits of meat (like used in the last post), but I didn't feel like it this time.

Everything except the onion is sauteed. The onion is sweated. Each vegetable is cooked entirely on its own, with a dash of salt and a little bit of corn/canola/soy bean oil. The shiitake mushroom gets a splash of soy sauce while sauteeing. I think I might even have cooked it with an minced garlic clove or two. Each vegetable should come out of the pan tasting delicious and being perfectly cooked, because you won't do any more cooking.

Make sure you take the vegetables out of the pan while the colors are bright and beautiful. It's best to start sauteeing with the lightest colored vegetables first, moving on to the darker ones later. My order was onion, carrot, scallion (this cooks very fast so be careful) bell pepper (I would have done the red first then the green), then the mushrooms. If you had meat, you'd do that last.

You know, maybe it's not really a sautee. You really don't want to get much hotter than medium on your pan, because you definitely don't want to scorch your ingredients. Maybe something between a sweat and a sautee for everything, then.

It's kind of hard to see, but I swear there are noodles in the pot.

Glass noodles

I followed the package directions, which said to bring the water to a boil, drop in the dry noodles, remove from heat, and let sit for 10 minutes. Ideally, you'd time things so that this would come out of the hot water as you are done sauteeing your last vegetable. I have yet to master this.

The noodles don't expand much. I would guess it grows about 15-20% at most, unlike Italian pasta. I think you'd want to make about as much noodle as the sum of your veggies. Maybe slightly less. I like it with lots of veggies. :D

Almost finished

The picture is just the veggies, before I added the noodles. After adding the noodles, you have to sort of wing it with how much soy sauce and sesame oil you put in. Just add like a teaspoon at a time until it seems right. Sadly, you won't know if it's right, unless you've tasted it before. It shouldn't be salty though, just a little savory, letting the flavors of the vegetables carry the dish.

Eat while warm.


Post a Comment

<< Home