Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Japchae 잡채 - Korean Sweet Potato Starch Noodles Stir Fry

Japchae is a very popular Korean dish and it is the most sought after dish during the Korean festive holidays ( New Year's Day and Harvest Day ) It is also enjoyed on any other common day as well.  As for me, I do make this whenever I feels the craving for it.  It can be served as a side dish or served on a bed of rice known as Japchae bap or as a main dish. The vegetables and meat are individually prepared, to some this might be cumbersome, I assure you it is ,but by preparing and cooking it individually , you can enhance  their dividual flavors , texture and color better as each has their own cooking point.  It is worth all the hardwork it entails.  I discovered recently that the secret in creating the authentic flavor of this dish is to find the right balance between the soy sauce and sugar.

I normally prepares a big portion as it can keep in the fridge for a day or two.  Hubby and I enjoyed this dish and having homegrown spring onions makes it even more special. It adds natural sweetness and fragrance to the dish.

 a bunch of homegrown spring onions 
adds sweetness and fragrance to the dish

cooking the meat and vegetables separately
enhances individual flavours , texture and color better

the secret in creating the authentic flavor of this dish is 
to find the right balance between the soy sauce and sugar.

I can never have enough of this dish and making a 
large portion is a must

Japchae 잡채 - adapted from Maangchi


4 ounces beef, filet mignon (or pork shoulder), cut into ¼ inch wide and 2½ inch long strips

2 large dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in warm water for 2 to 3 hours, cut into thin strips

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons sugar

2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon soy sauce

2 tablespoons sesame oil

1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

1 large egg

4 ounces spinach, washed and drained

4 ounces of dangmyeon (sweet potato starch noodles)

2 to 3 green onions, cut crosswise into 2 inch long pieces

1 medium onion (1 cup), sliced thinly

4 to 5 white mushrooms, sliced thinly

1 medium carrot (¾ cup), cut into matchsticks

½ red bell pepper, cut into thin strips (optional)

ground black pepper


vegetable oil


Marinate the beef and mushrooms

Put the beef and shiitake mushrooms into a bowl and mix with 1 clove of minced garlic, 1 teaspoon sugar, ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper, 2 teaspoons soy sauce, and 1 teaspoon of sesame oil with a wooden spoon or by hand. Cover and keep it in the fridge

Make the egg garnish (jidan):

1. Crack the egg and separate the egg yolk from the egg white. Remove the white stringy stuff (chalaza) from the yolk. Beat in a pinch of salt with a fork.

2. Add 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil to a heated nonstick pan. Swirl the oil around so it covers the pan, and then wipe off the excess heated oil with a kitchen towel so only a thin layer remains on the pan.

3. To keep the jidan as yellow as possible, turn off the heat and pour the egg yolk mixture into the pan. Tilt it around so the mixture spreads thinly. Let it cook using the remaining heat in the pan for about 1 minute. Flip it over and let it sit on the pan for 1 more minute.

4. Let it cool and slice into thin strips

Prepare the noodles and vegetables:

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the spinach and blanch for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then take it out with a slotted spoon or strainer. Let the water keep boiling to cook the noodles.

2. Rinse the spinach in cold water to stop it from cooking. Squeeze it with your hands to remove any excess water. Cut it a few times and put it into a bowl. Mix with 1 teaspoon soy sauce and 1 teaspoon sesame oil. Put it into a large mixing bowl.

3. Put the noodles into the boiling water, cover and cook for 1 minute. Stir them with a wooden spoon so they don’t stick together. Cover and keep cooking for another 7 minutes until the noodles are soft and chewy.

4. Strain and cut them a few times with kitchen scissors. Put the noodles into the large bowl next to the spinach. Add 2 teaspoons sesame oil, 1 teaspoon soy sauce, and 1 teaspoon sugar. Mix well by hand or a wooden spoon. This process will season the noodles and also keep the noodles from sticking to each other.

5. Heat up a skillet over medium high heat. Add 2 teaspoons vegetable oil with the onion, the green onion, and a pinch of salt. Stir-fry about 2 minutes until the onion looks a little translucent. Transfer to the noodle bowl.

6. Heat up the skillet again and add 2 teaspoons vegetable oil. Add the white mushrooms and a pinch of salt. Stir-fry for 2 minutes until softened and a little juicy. Transfer to the noodle bowl.

7. Heat up the skillet and add 1 teaspoon vegetable oil. Add the carrot and stir-fry for 20 seconds. Add the red bell pepper strips and stir-fry another 20 seconds. Transfer to the noodle bowl.

8. Heat up the skillet and add 2 teaspoons vegetable oil. Add the beef and mushroom mixture and stir fry for a few minutes until the beef is no longer pink and the mushrooms are softened and shiny. Transfer to the noodle bowl.

Mix and serve:

  1. Add 1 minced garlic clove, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon sugar, ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, and 2 teaspoons of sesame oil to the mixing bowl full of ingredients. Mix all together by hand.
  2. Add the egg garnish and 1 tablespoon sesame seeds. Mix it and transfer it to a large plate and serve. 
  • The best way to save time in preparing and cooking for Japchae is to familiarise yourself with the instructions above and multi-task (e.g. boil two pots of water for spinach and glass noodles at the same time).
  • Japchae can be served hot or cold. You can also microwave it to reheat when necessary.
  • Japchae can be stored in the fridge for 1-2 days in an air tight container. It can be stored for a bit longer but the noodles don’t look as good by then.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Spicy Stir-Fried Pork With Korean Crispy Seaweed

With some leftovers of pork neck cuttings, I decided to make this korean stir fried pork for dinner.  It is so easy to prepare and yet it tastes so good especially sprinkles with lots of crispy seaweed over the spicy meat. The cooked meat doesn't look red as I reduce the gochujang paste but added more of the korean hot pepper flakes. The pork neck cut is tender and juicy.  I always ask for this part of the piggy cut when I visit my regular butcher :) She always recommends me the best part of the piggy :p 

This dish is simple to prepare , all I need to do is to marinate the meat with some korean paste and hot pepper flakes, chopped garlic, sesame oil and soy sauce for an hour or at least 30 mins. Stir fry in hot oil till cooked , before dishing up ,sprinkle toasted sesame seeds and korean  crispy seaweed as garnishings.  I prefer the meat to be drier as I wanted to eat the meat wrapped in roasted seaweed squares. If the the meat is coated with gravy, it will soften the seaweed before it can go into the mouth. 

the longer you marinate the meat, the better the taste

Spicy Stir-Fried Pork With Korean Crispy Seaweed


300 g pork neck or tender loin - cut into bite size pieces

Marinade A
1 to 2 tbsp of gochujang paste - I used only 1.5 tbsp
2 tsp of sugar
1 tbsp of soy sauce
1 tbsp of hot pepper flakes (gochu-garu) - if you like it more spicy you can add more
a dash of ground black pepper
2 tsp of sesame oil
5 garlic cloves - minced
1 tsp ginger, minced

1.5 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp of chopped spring onions
* a few tbsp of water if you want the dish to have a bit of gravy

korean crispy seaweed
toasted sesame seeds

Korean roasted seaweed sheets (Kimnori -Original Flavor) as wraps


1.Marinate the meat pieces with Marinade A for an hour or at least 30 mins.

2. Heat up oil in wok, once oil is hot, add in the marinated meat pieces and stir fried till the meat is cooked.  You can add a few tbsp of water if you want the dish to have a bit of gravy.  Once the dish is ready to dish up, add in chopped spring onion and toasted sesame seeds . Give it a quick stir and dish up.

3. You can serve as a side dish or as a main dish.

Note:  I  wrap the meat pieces with the kimnori seaweed squares.   Crispy and delicious !

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Claypot Chicken Rice With Mushroom

It has been quite a while since I last cook claypot chicken rice with mushroom . I remembered the last time I cooked this one dish meal, I used the rice cooker .  Claypot chicken rice is a popular one dish meal among the locals here and are traditionally cooked in a claypot over charcoal stove but many use the rice cooker these days for convenience sake.  I had a sudden itch to cook this one dish meal using my favourite claypot and hence this is what I am sharing today with you my simplified version of claypot chicken rice.  I am not a fan of the chinese sausage /' lap cheong ' so I omitted it and add more chinese black mushrooms instead.

Cooking rice in a claypot over the gas stove can be quite challenging as I am not sure whether the rice will be perfectly cooked through or it can turn out to be too soggy.  Too much water or too little water can be a disaster.  To make claypot chicken rice , the rice has to be well cooked and dry . A soggy texture will not do.  I am glad that I managed to get it right.  I used deboned chicken breast and wings , seasoned with sesame oil, oyster sauce, chinese cooking wine and ginger juice.  I prefer to cook the chicken meat and chinese mushroom first before adding to the rice, as I am afraid that my rice will be burnt by the time the chicken meat is cooked through.  I fried some chopped garlic to make crispy fried garlic and also chopped some spring onions . They are perfect garnishes for this one dish meal.  This claypot rice will taste even better if cooked under charcoal fire but for home cooking , gas stove would be fine for me :)

season the deboned chicken breast meat with
oyster sauce, thick soy sauce, sesame oil, pepper, 
chinese cooking wine and ginger juice

leave to rest for 30 minutes before

stir fry till the sesoned chicken meat and 
chinese mushroom are cooked

cook the rice with chicken stock under medium low heat,
and once the rice is almost cooked, put in the
cooked chicken meat and mushroom onto
the surface , spread out and sprinkle the remaining ginger juice
 over the chicken meat. Cover with lid
and continue to cook over low heat 
for a further 15 minutes

once the rice is done, give it a quick stir mix before serving

garnish with crispy fried garlic and chopped spring onion

Claypot Chicken Rice With Mushroom
( for 3 persons)


2 cups of long grain rice - rinsed and drained
2 1/2 cups / 600 ml chicken stock 
2 chicken breast  - deboned and cut into small pieces
2 chicken wings - each wing cut into 3 pieces 
 ( season the deboned chicken breast pieces and wings pieces with the seasoning for 30 mins)
8 pieces of chinese black mushrooms - soaked and trim off stem, rinsed and drained

1 tbsp of vegetable oil

Seasoning (A)
2 tbsp of oyster sauce 
2 tsp thick soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp freshly ground white pepper
2 tbsp chinese cooking wine
2 tbsp ginger juice - keep 1 tbsp for use later when rice is cooked

some chopped spring onions
crispy fried garlic


1. Season the chicken pieces with  seasoning (A) for 30 mins.
2, Heat up wok, add in a tbsp of vegetable oil and stir fry the seasoned chicken pieces and chinese mushrooms till cooked. Dish up and leave aside.
3. Add 600 ml chicken stock and rice into claypot, boil  rice under medium low heat with lid on until rice is almost cook. Add in the cooked chicken meat and mushrooms , spread them out evenly over the surface of the rice, pour in the remnant ginger juice over the meat and cover lid again.  Cook for another 10 mins. Off heat and rest the rice for 5 mins.  Give it a quick stir mix before serving.  Garnish with crispy fried garlic and spring onions.

Monday, January 1, 2018

My First Post For 2018 - Ramen From Home

Happy New Year to all my readers , friends, and loved ones who have been so supportive of my food blog since the day I started blogging in 2008.  Today, I have turned a packet of instant Ramen for two person into delicious Ramen like those served in Ramen Restaurants by adding pork butt slices , lava egg and roasted seaweed.  Hubby was happy with his first meal of 2018.  Wow, who say packet Ramen cannot beat those from restaurant ! The broth is thick and so delicious, you won't even think it is out of a packet.

To make the pork slices, I used pork butt cut.  Boiled in chinese wine broth with ginger till tender. Chill in fridge and slice them while still cold, reason it gives a clean smooth cut. Then the next thing to do is to make the lava egg , the steps to make a perfect lava egg is taken from here

The rest of the garnishing is some chopped spring onions ( homegrown) and roasted seaweed.  Let me tell you this...this is so delicious that hubby and I can't stop talking about this Ramen that is cooked from home and out of a packet :)  The best breakfast to start the new year.  Hope you guys had a great breakfast too !

my kids from Singapore gifted us a bag full of instant Ramen (Japan)
love them all
 so happy with the pork butt slices and Ramen lava egg
 the thick and aromatic broth is so yummy good
that hubby and I are still craving for second helpings

added the roasted seaweed
and spring onions last
to complete this bowl of deliciousness


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