Friday, June 13, 2008

Chap Chae - Korean-style clear noodles with vegetables

I'd had Chap chae many times at Korean and Japanese restaurants before I tried to make it myself, and I was delighted to discover how easy it is.

The most difficult part (which is barely difficult) is finding the right noodles. This recipe calls for bean thread noodles, also known as cellophane noodles, glass noodles or mung bean noodles. These can be a bit tricky to find, but I've substituted rice vermicelli and it's still very delicious.
Mung bean and sweet potato starch noodles look a little scary in the package. They're stiff and greyish purple, but trust me, they're delicious (and see-through!)

For the Sauce:
1/4 cup low salt soy sauce (or regular soy mixed with a little water)
1 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
2 cloves chopped garlic
For the rest:
1/2 package bean thread noodles
1/2 tbsp sesame or vegetable oil for the pan
1/2 an onion, sliced
1/4 block of medium firm or firm tofu, sliced into strips
And a handful each of thinly sliced zucchini, carrots, pepper, snap peas, mushrooms, or any other vegetable you feel would be delicious in this mix.

Chop the garlic and combine all ingredients in a food processor. Process until blended.
Meanwhile, prepare the noodles according to the package directions. Mine had to sit in boiled water for 10 minutes.

Next, sautee the harder chopped vegetables (onion and carrot) and the tofu in oil until tender. Add the rest of the vegetables and cook for another couple of minutes.

After all of the vegetables are done and the noodles are cooked, drain the noodles and add the noodles and sauce to the pan, stirring.

Stir everything together and continue cooking until it has combined and most of the sauce has been absorbed. I like to eat a bit when it's hot and a little later when it is room temperature. I've usually had it served cool, and the flavours are stronger when it's had a chance to settle.

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