Photo of Korean Glass Noodles – Jap Chae/Chap Chae
These past few days, I needed to cook healthy. Not for me, but for the sake of my children. You see, last week, I had Lasik eye surgery. As any reasonable mother would do, I milked it as far as I could go in terms of slacking on my housewifery duties. Laundry? bah..eyes too dry. Ironing? doc said no heavy lifting. Dishes? need to lay down to put in drops every 2 hours. Vacuuming? nope…can’t see squat after squirting in drops. Best to just sleep in every morning and let Scott handle the kids. It took 3 days before the kids confessed me what they’ve been eating for breakfast….
Now. Let’s review, shall we? No. let’s not. You already know where I’m going with this. But then again, what was I thinking? I love my dear husband so very very much, but I certainly didn’t choose him for his eating habits. I mean, this the guy that tops his Fritos with canned chili, spray-on cheese and calls it dinner, considers microwave butter popcorn a vegetable and hides a stash of chocolate breakfast bars at office and another in the front seat of his car so that he doesn’t have to share with the kids. Naturally, I took over the role as Frau Nutrition in our household and nudged my kids to embrace all sorts of vegetables – even brussels sprouts and salad. Now, don’t get me wrong, we eat our share of junk as evidenced by: Negative Calorie Chocolate Cake Chocolate & Dark Rum Tiramisu but I always make sure that we balance it out with healthy stuff too. All became undone those fateful mornings that I relinquished my morning duties. Despite the kitchen being stocked with soy milk, milk, juice, oatmeal, yogurt, whole-wheat bagels, eggs and fruit, those items were left untouched. Do you even know how many bushels of vegetables my kids have to eat to make up for 3 mornings of Pop Tarts, white bread and water?!? Where did those Pop Tarts come from in the first place?!? Does my husband have a contraband stash? (sigh) Just dig me a grave, boys.
😉 We took a little vacation this weekend to Marco Island – thanks to my sister-in-law who works for Marriott (now, that’s what I call RWB – relative with benefits) who got us a room overlooking the beach. It was a perfect mini-getaway. Thank you, R&M!
On to the recipe for healthy Korean noodles with tons of vegetables, Jap Chae (or Chap Chae). The noodles are made from sweet potato starch, but taste NOTHING like sweet potatoes. They are light in texture and color, making it a great flavor carrier for any type of vegetables and seasonings.
This dish can also be spelled: Jab Chae, Chap Chae. The type of noodles used in this dish is made from sweet potato starch and translucent when cooked, which is how they got their English name, “glass noodles.” They are also gluten free and are wonderfully springy and light. I love making this dish in the summertime, because you can serve these noodles at room temperature or even slightly chilled.
You can find them at Asian markets or online at Komart. Just boil the dried noodles for 5 minutes, drain and toss with sesame oil so that they don’t stick together:
You can use any type of fresh mushrooms, like shitake or even the standard button mushroom, but traditionally, dried wood ear mushrooms, found in most Asian markets, are used. Just rehydrate the dried wood ear mushrooms in warm water for 15 minutes, drain and they’ll be ready for your stir-fry. The spinach was shy – didn’t want to jump in the group shot.
Stir fry the carrots and onions until softened, oh…about 1 minute…but it really depends on how thin you slice your onions and carrots:
Add garlic, scallions and mushrooms. Fry 30 seconds:
Then add spinach, noodles, soy sauce, sugar, fry 2-3 minutes until noodles are heated through. Turn off heat, toss with sesame seeds and remaining 1 1/2 tsp of sesame oil:
Servings: 4-6 as part of multicourse meal
Fill a large pot with water and boil. When water is boiling, add the noodles and cook for 5 minutes. Immediately drain and rinse with cold water. Drain again and toss with only 1 tsp of the sesame oil. Use kitchen shears to cut noodles into shorter pieces, about 8 inches in length. Set aside.
In bowl, mix soy sauce & sugar together. Add the cooking oil in a wok or large saute pan on high heat and swirl to coat. When the cooking oil is hot but not smoking, fry onions and carrots, until just softened, about 1 minute. Add the garlic, green onions and mushrooms, fry 30 seconds. Then add the spinach, soy sauce, sugar and the noodles. Fry 2-3 minutes until the noodles are cooked through. Turn off heat, toss with sesame seeds and the remaining 1 1/2 tsp of sesame oil.
*rehydrate your mushrooms if you are using dried
If you’re not into the whole healthy vegetable thing, then you’ll love: