kruizing with kikukat

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Chap Chae in December

 The month of December here in Hilo has been rather cold.  Its not unusual to have nights dipping into the lower 60s.  Although I enjoy having soup, its not something that I'd want every night.  Enter Chap Chae.  Chap Chae is a Korean noodle dish that can be eaten at room temperature.  The December chill is great for cooling down Chap Chae.

Chap Chae can be practically anything you want it to be . . . all depends on what you have in your vegetable bin and what kind of protein you'd like to add.  It can be made in under an hour, but the flavor of the beef (my protein of choice) improves the longer it sits in the marinade, so I would start soaking the meat the night before or earlier in the day.  

Most people think Chap Chae is made with long rice (cellophane noodles, glass noodles, bean threads, etc.), but its actually made with a sweet potato starch noodle, dang myun.  Dang myun can be found at Asian stores.  I don't think all supermarkets have it.  KTA didn't so I got my pkg. from Kilauea Market.  Don't be thrown off by the gray color.  It will become clear after it is cooked.

To begin making Chap Chae, marinate beef in sauce for at least 30 minutes. 

Marinate softened dried shiitake mushrooms in sauce for about 30 minutes.  When done, squeeze mushrooms dry and slice in 1/4" pieces.

While mushrooms are marinating, prepare vegetable ingredients.  Carrots and onion can be julienned.  

If using spinach or other leafy greens (I used bok choy), blanch first, drain well, then cut into 2" pieces.

Cook and drain dang myun.  See, I told you it gets clear when cooked!  For ease in serving, take a kitchen shears and make several cuts through the tangle of dang myun.

This part comes together really quick.  In a wok or large pan, saute beef until cooked.  Remove from wok.

Saute vegetables for a few minutes and remove from wok.  Add noodles and oil to wok and toss lightly.  Add sauce, cooked beef, and cooked vegetables.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds. 
Chap chae is normally served at room temperature, although I have trouble waiting long enough for it to cool.  It makes a great potluck dish, especially in December, where the natural air temperature makes it cool faster.

click on recipe title for printable recipe

Beef & Marinade:    1 tbsp shoyu
                               1 tbsp sugar
                               1 tsp sesame oil
                               1 tsp minced garlic
                               1/4 tsp pepper
                               1/2 tsp sesame seeds
                               1/2-3/4 lb flank steak or other beef, sliced very thin

Combine all ingredients and marinate for at least 30 minutes.
Shiitake & Marinade:  7 shiitake mushrooms, soaked and squeezed dry
                                   1/2 c shoyu
                                   1 tsp sugar
                                   1 tsp sesame oil

Combine all ingredients and marinate for at least 30 minutes.  Squeeze shiitake again and cut into 1/4" slices.

Assorted vegetables:  carrot, julienned
                                   bok choy, blanched, drained & cut into 2" lengths
                                   bell pepper, julienned

Noodles & Sauce:  1 pkg. dang myun
                              2 tbsp oil, divided
                              2 tbsp shoyu
                              1/4 c sugar
                              1 tbsp sesame seeds

Cook noodles as directed on package (about 7 minutes).  Drain and rinse with cold water.  Cut into shorter lengths.  Combine shoyu and sugar.  Set aside.

Heat 1 tbsp oil in wok.  Saute beef until cooked.  Remove.  Saute shiitake and other vegetables.  Remove.  Add 1 tbsp oil and noodles to wok.  Toss together.  Add sauce (shoyu & sugar) and return beef and vegetables.  Toss until heated through and sauce has soaked into noodles.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds.