RECIPE: Korean Japchae (Vegetarian Version)

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Cooking requires tremendous focus and patience; some dishes require more patience than others to prepare and japchae is definitely one of them. The most time-consuming part is the food preparation and final assembly.

Preparing this dish certainly presents a perfect opportunity to work on your own knife skills; all ingredients must be cut finely, cook and seasoned separately, and in the end mix together by hand.

Yes you heard it right, it is by hand and this is exactly what I’ve learnt at the Korean cooking school in Seoul back in 2007. The final assembly requires the cook to mix, taste and adjust seasoning at the same time. The dish is not supposed to be oily, too sweet or heavily “doused” with sesame oil.

Most of the traditional recipes consist of shiitake mushrooms, onions, carrots (cut into matchstick strips), cucumber peel (skin only finely sliced), egg, scallions and sometimes beef, garnish with sesame seeds and slivers of chilli. Seasonal vegetables are added and the colours are chosen very carefully to make the dish pleasing to the eye.

My vegetarian version uses less noodles, three different kinds of mushrooms, red pepper, green pepper (Thanks Sofei for your own organic produce), yellow onion and green scallions.

So what is your combination then?  (OO)

Ingredients: (Serves 2 to 4)

4 ounces of korean sweet potato noodle (dangmyeon), 1 large Portobello mushroom (gills removed, thinly sliced), 1 package of white shimeji mushrooms (ends cut off, separate each stem), 10 dried shiitake mushrooms (rehydrated, thinly sliced), 2 garlic cloves (finely minced), 1/2 red bell pepper (cut into thin strips), 1/2 green bell pepper (cut into thin strips), 1 small yellow onion (thinly sliced), 1 egg (egg yolk only), 1 to 2 green onions (cut crosswise into 1 inch long pieces), grapeseed oil, roasted white sesame seeds, organic Japanese (or Korean) soy sauce, sesame oil, salt, maple syrup, fresh ground black pepper for season to taste.

**Note: quantity of oil used is provided below, keep in mind it’s not supposed to be greasy!  As for the sweetener,  as I do not use refined sugar at home, maple syrup is my preference.  As it has a different flavour, please use sparingly or you can substitute with brown sugar.  You can always adjust the quantity of vegetables used according to your own preference.

Preparation:

– In large bowl filled with hot boiling water, completely submerge sweet potato noodles, cover and soak until they soften; stir a little to keep them from sticking together, drain thoroughly. This process takes less than 10 minutes, do not over soaked the noodles as they must remain firm and chewy. The noodles are quite long; using scissors cut them a few times, set aside.

– In small frying pan, add 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil, swirl it around and wipe off the excess with paper towel (not over the stove!) so you can see a very thin layer of oil on the pan.  Return pan to heat, add beaten egg yolk mixture into the pan.  Tilt it around so it spreads thinly, let it cook using residual heat in the pan for 1 minutes, then flip it over and cook for another minute.  Let it cook and slice into thin strips.

– Using a skillet, heat 1 teaspoon of grapeseed oil over medium high heat, add onions and scallions and pinch of kosher salt. Saute until onions become translucent, it takes approximately 2 to 3 minutes.  Remove from skillet and set aside.

– Using the same skillet, heat another teaspoon of grapeseed oil, add red pepper strips and saute for 30 seconds, then add green pepper strips, mix well and saute for another minute, remove from skillet and set aside.  The pepper strips should remain crunchy.

– Using medium high heat, heat the same skillet with another 1 to 2 teaspoons (mushrooms absorb oil) grapeseed oil, add Portobello, shiitake and shimeji mushroom mixture, add minced garlic, saute for a few minutes until the mushrooms are softened and lightly browned (You will also hear a squeaky sound when cooking the mushroom). Remove from skillet and set aside.

– In a big mixing bowl, prepare the seasoning mix: add 1 to 2 Tablespoon soy sauce, 1 Tablespoon maple syrup, 1 teaspoon of sesame oil, and fresh ground pepper (a couple of grinds). Add all the ingredients to bowl and mix together by hand (please wear disposable gloves). Taste and adjust the seasoning accordingly.

– Add the egg strips and toasted sesame seeds, mix all ingredients thoroughly; garnish with more scallions if desired.  Transfer to plate and serve.

 

 

RECIPE: Wafu Whole Tomato Rice

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Wafu Whole Tomato Rice with Fried Egg

 

As soon as I saw Hong Kong food blogger “Foods Sensei”‘s  (also on Facebook) Wafu Tomato rice posting, I wanted to make it immediately! Apparently the original Japanese Whole Tomato Rice recipe by “Ochikeron” is a huge internet sensation on YouTube (her page also on Facebook).  

It is nutritious and easy to make: using only the rice cooker, this is the Japanese version of rice pilaf. There’s only one catch: you must account for the water content from the tomato and reduce the quantity of cooking liquid (whether you are using water or dashi) by approximately 20% (it all depends on what type of rice or tomato variety you use, there are no set rules).  I have used even less liquid because I added an onion.

My version is a combination of both recipes; I have used a white+brown rice mix and added the onion; my garnishes are green scallions and seaweed. I had the rice for lunch with a sunny side up fried egg, the egg yolk oozed and blended so well with the rice, it was a very satisfying and delicious meal.

Thank you very much to Foods Sensei and Ochikeron for your wonderful original recipes! (OO)

Ingredients: (serves 2)

1 large tomato, 1/2 small yellow onion, 1/2 cup long grain jasmine rice, 1/2 cup long grain brown rice, 1 Tablespoon olive oil, 1 cup Japanese dashi broth, 2 teaspoons organic soy sauce, 2 teaspoons Japanese mirin, 1 fried egg (optional), nori and chopped green scallions for garnish.

*As usual I used my own homemade dashi, you can get dashi powder at Japanese food stores.

Preparation:

– Wash the jasmine rice grains and brown rice grains thoroughly

– Using the pot from your rice cooker, measure the dashi up to the mixed rice setting level (in this case it’s for 1 cup mixed rice); I then poured the dashi broth into a measuring cup and remove approximately 25% (or up to 30%) of the liquid; then pour the rest back into the rice pot.

– Add the rice grains, stir in olive oil, soy sauce, mirin and black pepper, mix very well.

– Wash the tomato and remove the stem; peel and slice the onion, then place them into the pot

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Place the ingredients!

 

 

– Put the pot back into the rice cooker, you must choose the right setting (mixed rice) and start to cook

– When rice is ready, using the rice paddle, “slice” through the tomato and onions, toss and mix the ingredients with the rice lightly.

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Rice is ready!

 

– When rice is almost done, prepared the sunny side up fried egg **this is optional.

– Serve the rice in dish or bowl, garnish with nori and chopped green scallions.

Notes:

Here are the links to the original recipes; Foods Sensei is a Chinese food blog. Enjoy (OO)

http://foods-sensei.com/2014/11/16/

http://createeathappy.blogspot.ca/