Thursday, February 18, 2010
Korean Noodle Stir-Fry and Soy-Glazed Tofu
Anyone who knows me knows that Korean food is one of my favourite cuisines. Unfortunately, it's not a very vegan friendly cuisine so I end up making my own dishes including cabbage kimchi, chajang myun/jajang myun and jap chae/chap chae. So when I saw that Robin had a recipe for Korean Noodle Stir-Fry (page 242) a.k.a. jap chae, I had to put that on my list of recipes to make. Instead of the seitan called for in the recipe, I made Soy-Glazed Tofu (page 283).
For the tofu, I used firm tofu pressed overnight in a Tofu Xpress (I think it is totally worth the money) and then marinated and baked. The marinade ingredients were well balanced and tasty and the tofu baked up perfectly in the time alloted. It is great hot or cold and worked great with the noodles. This recipe is super easy so give it a shot and quit buying pre-marinated tofu!
Now on to the noodles. Since I make a lot of Korean food, I had the specific noodles (dang myun which are made from sweet potatoes) on hand. Unless you have a Korean grocer or an Asian grocer that stocks Korean food, chances are you won't be able to find it. I buy mine online from HMart. You could substitute mung bean noodles or rice vermicelli but it really won't be the same since dang myun is firmer and chewier. Also, mung bean or rice vermicelli are a lot more delicate and could easily turn to mush if you're not careful.
My package of noodles was 12oz so I adjusted the other ingredients accordingly. Also the recipe says to soak the noodles for 5 minutes. That may be fine with bean noodles or rice vermicelli, but dang myun need to be cooked for about 5 minutes, then drained and rinsed with cold water. Well, I rinse them at least. Also if you're using uncut dang myun, after it's cooked, cut it with kitchen shears to manageable lengths so it won't be unruly.
For the vegetables I used everything called for an also threw in some sliced cloud ear fungus which doesn't taste like much but adds texture. Since it's a stirfry, add anything you'd like. Sometimes I add red pepper and spinach.
The dish itself is pretty easy to throw together, but there is prep work involved with cooking the noodles and slicing the vegetables. You'll want to have everything prepped before you start. Taste-wise, everything was perfectly balanced for me, but you can adjust any of the seasonings to your liking. Some people like sweeter jap chae, so taste it as is and then add more sugar if you lean towards the sweet side. This recipe makes tons, especially if you use 12oz of noodles, but fear not, the leftovers hold up really well when using dang myun noodles and are also great in lettuce wraps too.
If you are new to Korean food, this is a great dish to make because it doesn't have any flavours that you would be unfamiliar with (like cabbage kimchi), isn't spicy, but still very flavourful.
— Ms. Veganorama