Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Korean Chap Chae (Noodles w/ Beef Bulgogi)
I must apologize for my anemic-looking noodle dish. The noodles and the beef pieces are supposed to be darker brown. I was supposed to use dark soy sauce, but ran out, so I used the light one instead; resulting in such light colored noodles and meat. Even if they do not look as appetizing as they should be, the taste of this dish is actually wonderful. This is one of Hubby's favorite noodle dish.
Chap Chae is a Korean stir fry noodles dish. It is very popular here, as the Filipinos generally love noodles. More plus factors of this yummy dish are the salty-sweet taste of the sauce and the delicious fragrance of the sesame oil.
The good news is, it is so easy to cook. The trick to get the authenticity of this dish is to get hold of the original Korean glass noodles. The noodles look like thick mung bean vermicelli (sotanghon) the size of spaghetti pasta. But the taste and texture is entirely its own. It is chewy to the bite and yet firm at the same time.
This is the pack that I was able to buy from a big supermarket here in Manila. The noodles are quite a lot. I cooked only half the pack, and it was more than what five people can consume. The noodles does not look thick yet. You have to boil them in water (just like the spaghetti pasta) according to package directions. Then drain and wash in cold bath to stop the cooking process. Make sure to cook the noodles only until al-dente. It would not be nice to eat soggy noodles. When cooked, the noodles will swell and look shiny like this:
1/2 pack of the Korean glass noodles, cooked according to package directions
1 C soy sauce (use good quality)
1/2 C sesame oil
4 T sugar (or more, if you prefer it sweeter)
1 large knob ginger, grated (or julienned, if you're lazy like me :)
5 T garlic, minced
200 gms snow peas
1 small carrot, peeled, julienned
dashes of Japanese sesame oil with chili, optional
Korean Bulgogi, recipe here.
1. In a small amount of sesame oil, saute ginger until fragrant. Add in garlic and saute until fragrant but not burnt.
2. Add in the carrots and snow peas. Stir fry for a minute. Then add in the soy sauce, sugar and the remaining sesame oil.
3. When the mixture boils, add in the cooked glass noodles. Mix very well, letting the noodles absorb all the sauce. Adjust the amount of soy sauce, if needed.
4. Turn off heat. Serve on individual plates topped with Korean Bulgogi. Add dashes of the Japanese spicy sesame oil if preferred. (Hubby loves this spicy version!)
Bulgogi literally means "fire meat." Thus, we can use any meat like pork or chicken to substitute for beef. But beef is most often used, specially thinly sliced sirloin because it provides the flavor and soft textue that bulgogi lovers are looking for. Bulgogi is traditionally associated with barbeques and grilling. But broiling and pan frying are also accepted. Using the bulgogi to top the chap chae provides the meat flavor that enhances the noodle dish.
The Chap Chae noodle dish is also very flexible. This can be adapted to vegetarian if so preferred. Just omit the bulgogi part. You can also add in a variety of vegetables like napa cabbage, mung bean sprouts, spinach, and other vegetables that you prefer.
Serving this dish to the Presto Pasta Nights community, created and hosted this week by Ruth of Once Upon a Feast. To see last week's delicious round-ups, please check out Abby of Eat the Right Stuff.