If you haven’t guessed yet, we are a fan of the TV show Top Chef on Bravo TV. We have been completely devoted to this season of All Star and have been cheering for Richard Blais. We admire his passion for food, seriousness, integrity, creativity and scientific approach, and we really hope that he’ll make it next week in the finale! With that said, we also make clear that Top Chef Korea has no affiliation with the TV show or Bravo TV or any related entities.
Jap Chae is one of the most basic, traditional Korean foods. I thought about how Richard Blais might spin this off to a modern dish, but would he be able to really use liquid nitrogen to freeze some of the ingredients? Perhaps he could use the raw sweet potato to make the starch noodle from scratch? Or somehow slice it to create the “al dente” pasta??
In fact, perfecting the noodle is the crucial mission for Jap Chae. You gotta make it al dente, glassy and tingly. My mother taught me the secret: 1) use 100% sweet potato starch noodle and 2) do not rinse the cooked noodle in cold water. Normally for other noodle dishes, you should cook noodles in the boiling water and then rinse it under icy cold water to stop them from becoming soggy. That way, the noodles will remain chewy in your hot broth. However, for Jap Chae, we will coat sesame oil to each strand of noodle as quickly as possible. Just like how you would do for spaghetti noodles. Easy, right?
Other tips are similar to the fried rice. Stir fry each ingredients separately to respect their own time for cooking. You can add or deduct vegetables as you wish.
…Go Richard! Fighting!
Serving Size: 2 people
Total Time: 20 minutes prep time + 30 minutes cooking time
200 gram sweet potato starch noodle (dang myeon 당면)
100 gram beef brisket
5 shitake mushrooms – dried or fresh
1/2 green bell pepper
1/2 red bell pepper
1 bunch of spinach
1 bunch of leek (boo-choo 부추)
salt, pepper, vegetable oil
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
1 teaspoon of soju or cooking wine
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 teaspoon of sesame oil
1 pinch salt
1 pinch pepper
3 tablespoon of soy sauce
1 tablespoon of sugar
2 tablespoon of sesame oil
Shitake mushrooms – If dried, soak under water for 10 minutes. When fully rehydrated, squeeze out water. Slice into thin pieces.
Brisket – Slice into thin, 2-inch pieces. Add marinade and sit for 10+ minutes.
Spinach – In boiling water, add some salt and blanch quickly (10 seconds). Rinse them with cold water and drain well. Cut into 2 inches.
Onion, Bell peppers, Carrots – Julienne and keep them separate because we’re going to cook them separately.
Leek – Cut them into 2 inches.
1.In a large pot, boil a generous amount of water. Cook noodles in the boiling water for 5 minutes and stir occasionally. When noodles are soft, drain hot water and transfer noodles into the frying pan. Add 1 tablespoon of sesame oil and stir. Heat up the pan and stir-fry for 1 minute. We are coating each strand of noodle to prevent further cooking and getting soggy/sad.
2. Transfer noodles into a large bowl. We’re going to add the finished ingredients into this bowl one by one.
3. For spinach, make sure water is drained well (or squeeze it out with hands) and add 1 teaspoon of soy sauce. Mix well and transfer to the large bowl with noodles.
4. Put high heat on the frying pan and add vegetable oil. Stir-fry the remaining vegetables (except spinach) and meat one by one, separately. Each ingredient requires different cooking time. Add salt and pepper to each of them as you stir-fry. Order is not important, but I did: onions > carrot > bell peppers > mushrooms > leek > brisket. Transfer the finished ingredients to the large bowl with noodles and allow them cool down a little.
5. After everything has been cooked and assembled in the large bowl, add seasoning (soy sauce, sugar and sesame oil) and mix them altogether. Your hands will be most effective – wear some gloves.
6. Serve with Kimchi and enjoy!