Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Japchae!

So, Korean food is probably one of my favorite ethnic types of food (along with all my other favorite types of ethnic food, that is). I love how it's spicy, full of vegetables, and not afraid of the tofu. I think I've even mentioned on this blog before that I'm having a secret affair with kimchi (shh! the hot sauce doesn't know!).

I love the practice of Korean food. They'll have a main dish, then usually some steamed short-grain rice, and then numerous banchan (side dishes) that accompany the meal. Banchan include such foods as pickled vegetables, savory pancakes, boiled dumplings, grilled mushrooms, etc. Kimchi is a condiment that is served with every meal. Luckily, Walmart has a spicy jarred kimchi (that's actually fermented and not pickled) in the produce section that is 100% whole foods ingredients and completely fish/shellfish free. 

Know what else is awesome about kimchi? It tingles your tongue.

Common ingredients in Korean recipes include sesame oil, sesame seeds, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, chili flakes, and gochujang. Gochujang is a fermented red chili paste that I can't find around here so I usually sub out for sriracha. Of course, I'm pretty much convinced that I would love the flavor of the gochujang since I seem to have a penchant for all that is fermented and/or spicy.

As for this recipe, it's super easy to make, you probably have almost all the ingredients on hand, and it's quick. Also, my boyfriend liked it and that's always a bonus (he hadn't ate spinach in years!). This recipe is traditionally made using dangmyeon, which is a lot like those mung bean cellophane noodles (or glass noodles). I opted for thin maifun noodles instead which are made of rice flour. I don't really care for the texture of cellophane noodles, but you can use what ever kind you like best. I used fresh shiitake mushrooms, but you can use rehydrated mushrooms if you have those on hand.

This recipe has been adapted and veganized from Maangchi.

Japchae:
2 servings rice noodles
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 carrots, cut into matchsticks
6-7 green onions, chopped, the white and (a couple inches of the) green parts
1 c. shiitake mushrooms, sliced
2 c. crimini mushrooms, sliced
8 oz. baked Asian tofu, store-bought or leftover homemade, cut into cubes
3 cups baby spinach, packed
3 Tb. tamari, divided
1 Tb. minced garlic, divided
1 Tb. raw sugar
1/2 Tb. sesame oil (NOT toasted)
Toasted sesame seeds
Kimchi

You'll also need a large bowl.

1. Boil a pot of water. Once the water is boiling, add the spinach, and allow it to cook for one minute. Remove it from the pot, rinse it in cold water a few times, squeeze it gently to get out any excess water, then add it to the large bowl. You can use this water for the noodles or you can boil yourself some new. Up to you.

2. Spray a large skillet with nonstick. Over medium-high heat, cook the carrot strips for 30 seconds. Add them to the bowl and respray the skillet with some nonstick.

3. Saute the yellow onion untill softened, about 3-5 minutes, then add it to the bowl and respray the skillet with nonstick.

4. Add the green onions and saute them for 1 minute, then add them to the bowl. You should start boiling the noodles now, since they take three minutes. Respray the skillet with some nonstick.

5. Add the sliced mushrooms and tofu and saute them until they're softened. Add 1 Tb. soy sauce, the sugar, and the garlic. Cook until nice and fragrant, another minute or so.

6. Drain the noodles and add them to the bowl. Add the tofu-mushroom mixture to the bowl as well, then add the remaining soy sauce and the sesame oil. Toss everything together until completely mixed.

 Behold! My lap of noodles.

Serve with kimchi, sriracha, and a hefty dose of toasted sesame seeds!

Oh, and I was totally going to geek out for a minute and put up a graphic of a fermentation pathway, but I got distracted by a crazy ass website.
 
Now, I think I'm going to wind down for the night by making one of Katie's Healthy Cake Batter Milkshakes...

2 comments:

vegansunshine said...

Yikes, no hot food for me! Very pretty though.

Whitney

Jess of Midwest Vegan said...

The actual dish itself isn't spicy at all, but the kimchi and sriracha are. I usually leave those separate and let other people add them at will.

I like my food to be pretty hot most of the time. If I ain't sweating, it ain't hot enough!