Lori Lynn – Please bring a COLD PASTA SALAD for the party on Thursday.
At our school, we have a festive monthly themed luncheon for the faculty and staff who are celebrating birthdays. This past month’s theme was football. With hot dogs and chili. And I was (happily) one of a handful of people asked to bring a dish. But I couldn’t bring myself to make the “cold pasta salad.” No farfalle. No rotini. No mayo.
I had a hankering to make japchae, Korean glass noodles with beef, vegetables, and a sweet garlicky sesame soy sauce – a perfect dish to feed a crowd. It’s transportable, economical, and one large bag of dangmyeon (glass noodles made from sweet potato starch) makes over 20 side-sized servings. And since it is often served at Korean celebrations, I thought it would make a great dish for our birthday party. It takes a little while to prepare because all the ingredients are cooked separately, but it is awfully easy.
On that Thursday morning I stir-fried veggies and beef, cooked the noodles, whisked together the sauces and had my dish in the teachers’ lounge by 11:15 AM, in time for the first lunch period.
Stir-fry all the components (except spinach) separately in a small amount of sesame oil. Season with a small amount of salt and pepper.
- Beef, ground
- Shiitake, sliced
- Carrots, shredded
- Cabbage, shredded
- Onion, sliced
- Spinach (not baby)
Blanch spinach in salted water for one minute. Rinse to cool. Squeeze out excess moisture. Season with a small amount of sesame oil, salt and pepper. Set aside.
After cooking the meat, drain off any fat. Combine beef with the cooked shiitake. Whisk the following ingredients together to make a seasoning sauce.
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 T. sesame oil
- 2 T. low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 t. sugar
- 2 t. mirin
Toss the beef & shiitake with the sauce then re-heat.
Set the stir-fried vegetables aside and prepare the noodles. Cook noodles in a large pot of boiling water for 7 -8 minutes until tender or according to the package instructions. Drain and rinse briefly with cool water, drain well.
Whisk the following ingredients together until the sugar is dissolved:
- 1/2 c. low-sodium soy sauce
- 3 T. sugar
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 T. sesame oil
Coat noodles with this sauce then toss in the warm meat and vegetables. Finish with a sprinkling sesame seeds. It’s best served warm, however japchae is also very good at room temperature which is the way it was served at our football luncheon. I find that it is not as good when refrigerated or served cold.
Try japchae, when you’re cooking for a crowd…