Thursday, November 25, 2010

Donabe Chapchae (Korean-style vermicelli with vegetables)

I returned to LA after 2+ weeks back in Japan (and Taiwan). That means I'm ready for my regular home donabe cooking.

With a few simple ingredients, I made vegetarian chapchae (Korean-style thread noodles with vegetables) with my tagine-style donabe, "Fukkura-san". Thanks to this wonderful donabe, instead of just stir-frying the ingredients, I could steam-fry them and the result was fantastic! It tasted like a upgraded version of chapchae, thanks to Fukkura-san. Also, it was an easy one-pot cooking.

For this dish, I used some dry trumpet mushrooms (they were a gift - harvested by my friend, Jeffery), which gave wonderful big flavors to the dish. They looked like beef! You could substitute them with fresh mushrooms of you choice.

Steam-fry Chapchae

4 oz Korean vermicelli noodles (bean threads), cooked slightly firm, rinsed, and cut shorter by scissors
1 tablespoon
a good handful of dried trumpet mushrooms, rehydrated with hot water
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
1 knob ginger, sliced into thin threads
1/2 medium-size carrot, julienned
some colorful bell peppers, julienned
4-5 medium-thick asparagus, thinly sliced diagonally
2 tablespoons sake
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons mirin
1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
1-2 teaspoons Korean red chili flakes
1 tablespoon roasted white sesame seeds
1-2 teaspoons black vinegar ("kurozu")
Some thinly sliced scallion

1. Heat the sesame oil in the skillet of Fukkura-san over medium-high heat.
2. Turn the heat to medium. Saute the mushrooms for a minute.
3. Add the sake to deglaze.
4. Add the garlic, ginger, carrot, bell pepper, and asparagus, and stir.
5. Combine the soy sauce, mirin, and brown sugar. Top the vegetables with the noodles, and pour the mixed sauce.
6. Cover with the lid, and steam-fry for 3 minutes.
7. Uncover, and add the chili flakes, sesame seeds, and black vinegar. Stir well.
8. Cover again and turn off the heat. Let it rest for 3-5 minutes.
9. Garnish with the scallions and serve.

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Happy donabe life.