Thursday, February 9, 2012

Korean Stir Fry

My friend Michelle always has such tantalizing menu plans each week on her blog I'm Living the Good Life.  She also has been known to post some delicious recipes of her own to share with her readers.  I was very excited when she agreed to do a guest post for my readers!  She is sharing a family recipe that I cannot wait to try!  Thank you Michelle!
Korean Stir Fry from Michelle (I'm Living the Good Life)
I am so excited to guest post here at The Little Things Journal!  I love reading Katie’s recipes, tips and the adventures of her family.  They are always doing something creative and fun.  I try to be as creative and fun with my kids, but as I write this, my middle child has been playing the Wii for way too long and I just discovered that my two year old dumped shredded cheese in her play kitchen.  If that sounds like your life, maybe you want to read more about mine at I’m Living the Good Life.
When I’m not corralling kids, I do love to cook.  I especially like to try new recipes and I have a great one to share today.
Korean Stir Fry (Japchae)

One year at Christmas my cousin’s wife, who is Korean, explained to us the custom of spending a whole day together as a family making food for the holiday dinner.  She and her sisters would sit around a table preparing dishes, chopping vegetables, talking and laughing.  This sounded like such a great tradition.  It is a time for family to laugh and cry about the year.  It is a time to remember relatives who have gone before us.  It is a time to celebrate the future!
Of course, this was the year my Aunt decided to use Market Day and ordered everything but the turkey on line.  We looked like a real tight family unit.  This year for Christmas, Suchin made a traditional Korean stir fry dish.  It was delicious, and unlike any stir fry I’ve attempted to make.  This is probably because she used ingredients from the Asian grocery store, rather than the special aisle at Kroger.  She gave me her recipe and I added my own touches.

not all pictured
Sweet Potato noodles
1 Onion
Garlic (at least 2 cloves, but as much as you like)
1 package fresh mushrooms
1-2 carrots shredded or chopped
1 bunch of spinach or broccoli chopped (pick your own green here)
1 piece of stir fry steak (any thin steak good for stir fry)
1 Asian pear shredded
1 kiwi shredded
Soy Sauce
Sesame Oil
Crushed Cashews or Peanuts for topping (optional)
The trickiest part about this recipe is to get the right noodles.  There are so many different types of noodles in the noodle aisle……rice noodles, udon noodles, ramen noodles, pad thai noodles….so confusing!  Here is the package of noodles you need.  Just remember one thing:  sweet potato starch.  That is the only ingredient.  So, check the ingredients on the package and that is all that is listed.  You can find these at an Asian grocery store.

Let’s get started!

Marinate the meat in a mixture of shredded Asian pear (they are the round golden ones that look like apples.  You can find them at Kroger in the produce aisle) and shredded kiwi.  Marinate this for at least an hour, but more if you want.  I cut up the meat and throw it in a baggie with the fruit.  When it’s done marinating, you can cook the whole mixture on the stove top. 
While your meat is marinating, you can start chopping vegetables.  I have a couple of cute helpers that I employ.
Peel and mince your garlic.  I like to use the food processor to make it extra fine.  And, we use a lot of garlic!

Peel and chop your onion. 
In case you are wondering, his name is not Gloria D!

Shred or chop the carrot(s).  Slice the mushrooms.  Prepare the other green vegetable for cooking (broccoli or spinach, your choice). 
After all of that peeling and chopping, and maybe some union negotiations from your workers, take a break for happy hour!  After a two-year old and 4-year old “helped” me, I needed a time out.

When your meat is done marinating, put it in a skillet (or wok if you have one) with the fruit mixture and a little oil and cook the meat. 
While the meat is cooking, bring a large pot of water to boil.  Add one bunch of the noodles (the bag may be divided into three bunches). 

Boil noodles until soft and drain.

Yes, they look kind of gross at this point, but trust me, they will be fantastic!

Back to the meat!  In the pan with the meat, add the garlic and onions and cook until tender.  Be careful not to burn the garlic, as it will cook fast.  Toss in the carrot, mushrooms and green vegetable and cook a few more minutes.  You still want some crunch to the broccoli if you are using that.  Add the noodles and mix well. 

Now for the dressing….  Some of us are measurers, some of us are not.  I hate to tell you at this point that I am not a measurer.  However, I will give you a guideline!  I add a mixture of soy sauce and sesame seed oil to taste.  I add enough to turn the noodles brown, and enough to taste a hint of sesame.  You may start with 3 tablespoons of soy sauce and 2 tablespoons of sesame seed oil.  You will probably need to add a little more.  Keep tasting it until you are satisfied.  I add crushed peanuts or cashews to each individual serving, if desired. 


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