Monday, October 10, 2016

Japchae (Vegan Korean Stir-Fry Noodles)

Japchae I

*Updated on 12th October 2016.

It's 8:00pm. I have slept most of the afternoon as per doctor's order. I have been suffering from terrible headache and the doctor wasn't sure what was the trigger. My x-ray shows my sinuses are clear so sinusitis was ruled out. He said it could be migraine and advised me to refrain from eating/drinking the usual suspects-- chocolates, coffee, tea, cheese and all of my favorite things. Sigh! He told me to get plenty of rest and refrain from using electronic gadgets and come see him again after a few days. I did as told...until now! LOL! I woke up, still a bit woozy and had nothing to do. I grabbed my Tadashi Ono cookbook, Japanese Soul Cooking which I have read from cover to cover, probably 3x. Yes, I read cookbooks like a novel, who doesn't?

Anyway, I promise myself I will only give 1 hour tops to blog. Probably one of the reason why I couldn't sleep at night is because there are too many ideas in my brain that it just wouldn't go to "sleep mode", literally. So I'm giving myself one hour to let this creative juice free flow. Promise, just one hour, or I'll get in trouble if my husband gets home and find me out of bed. Plus, I promised my sister-in-law/ BFF, Ethel that I will post this recipe and I don't want to keep her waiting. She loves this dish as much as I do.

So here's what I've been meaning to share, an easy recipe to one of my favorite Korean dishes, Japchae, a sweet potato noodle in sweet-savory sauce. I've adapted my japchae from these recipes from and I kept mine vegan because I want the shitaake mushroom to stand out.

Ok, now for the recipe, I've only got a few more minutes before the hubby comes home. I don't want him to see me in from of the iMac! :-P

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Idle Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 15-20 minutes

Serves: 6

500g Korean Vermicelli (sweet potato noodles)
enough water for boiling + 1tsp salt
2 tbsp sunflower oil or any neutral-flavor oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, thinly sliced
10 shitaake mushrooms, re-hydrated
1/4 cup loosely-packed wood ear mushrooms, re-hydrated
1/2 cup mushroom water*
2 small carrots, julienne
4 cups loosely packed spinach, blanched then drained and cut into 2 inch long
3 stalks of scallion, green part only, cut into 1 inch long + more for garnish
salt, (I use pink Himalayan) and black pepper
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil to taste
1/4 cup toasted sesame seed for garnish

For the Japchae Sauce Mix:
1 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil

1. For the japchae sauce, mix soy sauce, sugar and sesame oil. Set aside.

2. Rehydrate the shitaake mushroom in 2 cups of water and the wood ear mushrooms in 1 cup of water. Put some weight on top to keep the 'shrooms submerged. Leave for 30 minutes. Keep the mushroom water* then slice the mushrooms into thin strips.

3. While prepping the vegetables, boil a pot of water for the noodles. Once you get the water to a rolling boil, add the noodles and cook as directed at the back of the packaging, usually 5 minutes. Drain and wash the noodle in running water then transfer into iced water. Cut the noodles into approximately 10-inch long. Set aside.

4. In a wok or a big pan, heat the oil, then saute the onion in medium heat until translucent. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute. Then add the shitaake mushrooms and carrots and cook for another minute. Add the noodles and scallions. Pour half of the soy sauce mixture and 1/2 cup of the mushroom water, (reserve the leftover shitaake and wood ear mushroom water in the freezer for later use). Add the spinach. Season to taste by adding more japchae sauce and/or salt, and pepper. Drizzle 1 tbsp of toasted sesame oil.

5. To serve, top the noodles with sesame seed + fresh scallions.

This dish can easily be transformed by adding chicken, shrimp or egg omelet strips.

10 Oct 2016
Haidee's Kitchen

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Cottage Pie

Hi! Did y'all miss me? It's been a loooong time since my last blog. I have been pre-occupied with a lot of things and didn't have time to blog. But if you've been following me on instagram, you'll know that I have not given up on cooking, (and taking pictures!), I just haven't been able to post recipes. Sorry!

Anyway, I though I'd start off my comeback with this easy-peasy cottage pie that looks too pretty to eat. Of course, you can just dump the creamy mashed potato on top of the juicy meat and you're good to go. But why stop there? Me, I like playing with my food, so I pipe creamy mashed potato to top my cottage pie. I mean, who says piping is exclusive to buttercream, right?

Cottage Pie I

See, I told you I meant to blog. I took these photos last year. You know what they say, better late than never! ;-)

Cottage Pie I

This recipe can be easily doubled. Make this on your next potluck and your friends will think you slaved all day in the kitchen ;-)

Cottage Pie
Make: 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Baking Time: 5-8 minutes


For the Filling:
1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
500g minced beef
2 cups frozen mixed vegetables (diced carrots, peas, beans and corn)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp honey
1 tbsp flour or cornstarch
1/4 cup beef stock
pink Himalayan salt or sea salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste

For the Mashed Potato
1kg potato, peeled and roughly chopped
enough water for boiling the potatoes
1tsp salt
1/2 stick of butter, cubed
1/4 cup warm milk
salt and pepper to taste


1. Pre-heat oven at 200*C.

2. In a large cast-iron or non-stick pan, heat the oil then add the minced beef. season with freshly ground Himalayan salt and black pepper. Cook until brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.

3. In the same pan, saute  onion until transluscent. Add garlic. Then add mixed veggies and cook for 1 more minute. Add the minced beef and the flour and cook for 1 minute. Then add the stock, soy sauce and tomato puree. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste for seasoning then add honey, salt and pepper to taste. Set aside in the cast iron pan.

4. Meanwhile, cook the potatoes in a large pot. Cover the potatoes with enough water and add 1 tsp salt. Cook until fork-tender. Drain.

5. In a bowl, mash the potato with butter and add milk as needed. Mash until smooth and creamy. Transfer into a piping bag with star tip.

6. Pipe rosette swirls of mashed potato on top of the beef mixture; cover completely. Broil/bake for 5 minutes or until the mashed potato forms a light golden brown crust.

Cottage Pie I