Vegetable Jap Chae

Whoever doesn't know about this dish is a poor fellow indeed. Jap Chae is what you order at a Korean place if you can't stand chili oil or don't eat meat. It full of veggies, its slithery and crunchy and multiflavored.

 In my house, we eat a whole lot of pasta. Sometimes its nice to switch things up. And you know what's fun? Glass noodles. They're most often made from sweet potato starch, and can be purchased at any asian market. When you cook them, they turn translucent and slippery. Perfect for chasing after with your chopsticks.

Vegetable Jap Chae
adapted from nytimes-The Temporary Vegetarian
serves 4-6. time about 1 hour

note: this can easily be increased or reduced. Just follow a rough proportionality of ingredients. Similarly, you can add or substitute whatever vegetables you like. Wanna add those odd baby corn things? Go ahead. Onions? Sure. Snow peas? Yum.

8 oz Korean dried sweet potato noodles
2 tbps sesame oil
4 tbsps soy sauce
1 tbsp sugar
4 tbsps peanut oil
4 Napa or other cabbage leaves, thinly sliced
1 large carrot, julienned
1 clove garlic, minced
6 scallions, white and light green parts only, trimmed and cut into 2-inch coins
8 fresh shiitake (or dried shiitake mushrooms that have been soaked 1-2 hours), stemmed and thinly sliced
1/2 cup spinach leaves and stems, washed well, drained, and squeezed dry
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Break noodles in half if you can, add, and cook until chewy, about 5 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Transfer to a bowl, add 1 tablespoon sesame oil, mix well, and set aside.
In a small bowl, combine soy sauce and sugar. Mix well, and set aside.
Place a wok or large sauté pan over high heat, add peanut oil, and swirl to coat the entire wok or pan. When the oil is shimmering, add the cabbage and carrot and cook until tender, stirring occasionally, 1 to 3 minutes. Add garlic, scallions, and mushrooms. Fry until scallions begin to soften, about 1 minute. Add spinach, soy sauce-sugar mixture, noodles, and black pepper.
Cook until noodles are heated through, stirring vigorously, about 3 minutes. Turn off heat, and add sesame seeds and remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons of sesame oil. Mix well.

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