Chap Chae Noodles

Chap Chae Noodles

Until just recently, I struggled big time with Chinese, Japanese, Korean and any other cuisine requiring stir frying of foods. I could whip up intricate French pastries and make a complicated Indian curry, but ask me to throw a few vegetables into a pan with some sauce without overcooking and over dousing, yeah, it was a Herculean task for me.

There was always something off; if the sauce was great then the vegetables were soggy, if the vegetables were great then the meat was colourless and rubbery. It was frustrating. For the longest time, I wanted to believe that it was the equipment I was working with and not me! It is a known fact that for a successful stir fry, one must have high heat to quickly sear meat and crisp cook the vegetables. It’s also known quite well, that domestic kitchen stoves do not have the power to attain the heat that is required. Also, if you use a wok, they cannot heat the wok evenly because of the dome bottom (you actually do learn somethingΒ from watching Cooks Illustrated)

Chap Chae Noodles

I bought carbon steel woks and lovingly, took hours seasoning them and then, I bought large expensive fry pans when I was told they would suit the kitchen stove better. The stir fries got better, but they were still pretty erratic. I didn’t give up though!Β 

Back in April or May of last year, I came across an electric wok made by Breville in one of Williams and Sonoma’s catalogues. I checked online for reviews and ratings and found that it got excellent reviews. The wok has heating elements that heat the entire surface of the wok and so, the wok heats quickly and stays hot throughout the cooking process.

Chap Chae Noodles

Well, of course, I had to have it! I have to say, it’s one of my most used appliances in the kitchen. It’s perfect for so many things. The first week I had it, I think I used it everyday and it definitely paid for itself in a couple of months.

So, the improvement in my stir frying ability was definitely thanks to the electric wok! The heat is great at searing the meats and cooking the vegetables crisp tender. It’s a nice and spacious wok so you can toss large amounts of noodles and not make a huge mess. I’m not selling anyone on the wok but if you’re having trouble like I had, this might help you. You can use it for more than stir frying; I make Thai curries, Indian curries, Indian stir fries, it acts like an Indian cooking wok called a kadhi.Β 

Chap Chae Noodles

Anyway, so all that has nothing really to do with todays post! Yes, it’s a Korean special occasion dish, but for me it was more about how I could eat gluten free noodles that weren’t rice ones. I happened upon this recipe in a Saveur email and I went out the next day to my neighbourhood Asian store and took an hour to walk the aisles and decipher packages with the stuff I needed πŸ™‚

The noodles used for this Chap Chae Noodles are made from sweet potatoes. They are delightfully chewy and retain their shape and don’t get gummy. I adapted the recipe to what I had at home but kept the seasoning the same. The Saveur recipe didn’t include any hot sauces or condiments and I think some additions would go perfectly with this. It’s a great noodle dish and I really love the noodles themselves. I love their texture and like most noodles, they themselves don’t have any flavour but absorb the flavours around them.

Chap Chae Noodles

Chap Chae

Serving size: 8

Calories: 358

Fat: 17g

Korean sweet potato noodles stir fried with sliced beef and vegetables.
Ingredients
  • 1 lb/455g beef sirloin or round, sliced
  • 1 lb/455g sweet potato noodles (called dangmyeon)
  • 8 oz shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 crowns broccoli, chopped in small florets
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced thinly
  • Β½ onion, sliced thinly
  • 4 green onions, chopped finely
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons gluten free soy sauce to marinate meat
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar to marinate meat
  • 4 tablespoons oil, neutral flavoured
Sauce
  • Β½ cup/118ml soy sauce
  • ½ cup/100g brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • Sriracha sauce
  • Korean hot sauce
Instructions
  1. Soak the noodles in boiling water until they are tender, drain and keep to the side.
  2. Add the sliced beef to the sugar and 2 tablespoons of soy sauce and allow to marinate.
  3. In a wok or a large skillet over medium high heat, add a tablespoon of oil and cook the onions, mushrooms and the peppers.
  4. Once they soften and are beginning to brown, add the broccoli and another tablespoon of oil.
  5. Cook the broccoli till crisp tender and then remove the vegetables to a bowl.
  6. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the pan.
  7. Drain the meat from the marinade and add to the pan with the garlic.
  8. Cook until browned about 4-5 minutes.
  9. Add the soy sauce and sugar and once the sugar is dissolved, add the vegetables back.
  10. If your pan is large enough, add the noodles to the pan and toss around.
  11. If not, then remove the meat and vegetables into the bowl with the noodles and toss through with your hands.
  12. Add the green onions, sesame oil and the sesame seeds before serving.
  13. Serve with lots of sriracha sauce or other hot sauce.

Chap Chae Noodles

I hope you try these noodles if you haven’t before. What are some things you guys struggle with? Have you succeeded in over coming the hurdles? I guess practice and perseverance (and good kitchen electrics) does make perfect!

Hope you’re all having an awesome week!

  1. Thanks for sharing the great info!!! I always had problems with Chinese food. It never comes out the way they have it in the restaurants. Now I know why πŸ™‚ I had no idea having a proper wok is so important πŸ™‚ New Asian store just opened up next to my house so I’m planning on making this recipe soon πŸ™‚

  2. I remember some years ago I could make a pretty decent stir-fry but then something happened… I’m not entirely sure what… and they pretty much always suck now πŸ™

    Your noodles look great Nazneen – asian cookery is an area I really need to work on. It can be so delicious and I hate being at the mercy of restaurants and takeaways, especially since good ones are pretty much non-existent here!
    Charles recently posted..Swedish Countryside – My neighbourhoodMy Profile

    • I’m with you Charles. Asian cookery is my weakest cuisine. I don’t know why it intimidates me, I have a great resource at walking distance and can get everything I need. It’s a matter of confidence. Maybe, 2014 will be our year πŸ™‚

    • Thanks Asha, hope you can find them. Should be quite easy in CA, any Asian store will have them.

  3. Nazneen, that photo of those noodles/beef on the chopsticks is absolutely gorgeous. That is front cover magazine quality! I bought sweet potato noodles at the Asian market a couple of years ago and had no idea what to do with them or how to cook them. I’m really looking forward to buying them again and trying this recipe. Thanks so much for sharing. I”m pinning this one. I bet it goes Pinterest viral.
    Lea Ann (Cooking on the Ranch) recently posted..La Sandia Restaurant Tamale FestivalMy Profile

  4. I own that same wok! It really works well, and has improved my making of stir-fry dishes immensely. I forget where I heard about it, but have had it for several years – it’s definitely a great appliance. Anyway, great dish. I’ve never cooked with sweet potato noodles, nor do I think I’ve ever tasted them before. They sound wonderful! In fact this entire recipe sounds terrific. Good stuff – thanks.
    John@Kitchen Riffs recently posted..Moroccan Kefta and Tomato TagineMy Profile

    • Hi John! I didn’t realise that they’ve been around for so long. I was surprised I hadn’t seen the Breville one sooner. It didn’t take me too long to get down there and get one! I love it. Try these noodles John, I think you’ll like them. Makes a change from the usual rice or wheat noodle.

    • Thanks Sarah! I hadn’t even noticed them at the store until I went looking specifically and then of course, I too found 20 different kinds!! Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Woow, this is sooo nice. I am not struggling at all in eating from the Asian cuisine :). I am struggling though with using the chopsticks. Gonna try your recipe for sure.

  6. I also have zero experience with this kind of food. Occassionaly I might make a stir fry with the sauce you can buy from a supermarket, that’s it LOL. You did a beautiful job here! I’d be happy to get this in a restaurant.
    *kisses* H

  7. Just about everyone has suffered sticky noodles, soggy pasta and vegetables at some point of their life and had learn from mistakes. I don’t have carbon steel or electric wok but I do have two indian style hindoleum skillet that works for my family. I struggle when I have to cook for more people and have to cook in batches and was always thinking to buy a good wok. Now after reading such a good review about breville electric wok I am considering to buy. Your chap chae noodles look delicious and I don’t think I ever tried this kind.
    Balvinder recently posted..Kale And Broccoli Stir FryMy Profile

    • Thank you Balvinder. This wok is a nice size so it would work for at least 8 servings. Like I mentioned, it works like an electric kadhai and I love it. These noodles are great and only have sweet potato starch and water. I think you’ll like them.

  8. Oh Nazneen…..what an AMAZING dish! I’ve not heard of sweet potato noodles before. Admittedly, I don’t do a lot of stir frying….for ALL of the reasons you’ve mentioned above. The way some people are nervous about working with yeast…..that’s how I feel about woks. Perhaps I should invest in the electric one you recommended. Because I would absolutely love to have this for my dinner one night!
    Anne@FromMySweetHeart recently posted..Cocoa Brownie CakeMy Profile

    • Thank you Anne! Oh you must get an electric wok, they are so versatile! You can use them for anything so it’ll be great investment. Then I’ll be seeing a bunch of perfectly stir fried dishes on your blog πŸ˜‰

  9. Those noodles in chap chae are made with sweet potatoes?! No wonder I love it so much! : ) This looks wonderful! I adore this dish and get it without a doubt when we have Korean food. And I also love Breville products…the electric wok sounds great. I’m a little embarrassed to say I must have much lower standards than you do when it comes to my stir-fry. I do it all the time and I admit I don’t get enough heat under there either!
    Monica recently posted..Baked egg-in-a-hole with homemade multigrainMy Profile

    • Monica, you always make me laugh with your comments! I’m sure your standards are very high πŸ˜‰

  10. I love the texture of this noddle and yours just look so good…and you know what? You just reminded me that I still have of this noodle in my cupboard.
    Have a great week Nazneen πŸ˜€

    • Thank you Juliana! I’m glad I reminded you! I want to see what tasty thing you make with them!

    • The Breville one is incredibly fantastic as are all Breville products. It heats up hot and stays hot, I love it! These noodles are really good, very good at picking up flavours and sturdy too.

  11. This sounds wonderful – and so does the wok! I am not sure I can bring another appliance into the house (meaning: I am not permitted to bring another… πŸ™‚ – but this would be useful, especially cooking outdoors. (We do all our stir frying outdoors to keep the house smelling good!) The sweet potato noodles are intriguing! Very excited to try this! xox
    David recently posted..A Wedding CakeMy Profile

  12. This looks delicious. Two new things for me to try, an electric wok and sweet potato noodles. And I thought I’d tried everything!

  13. Perhaps this is the solution. I rarely make stir fry because I just can’t get those wonderful crispy veg. The Glam Teens love Pad Thai but even that can come out soggy. I’m off to John Lewis to look at electric woks! GG xx
    glamorous glutton recently posted..How To Eat BougatsaMy Profile

    • Pad Thai is my absolute nightmare. The key to pad thai is to make 2 servings at a time, but who has that much time?? I always end up just making a big wokful and pray it doesn’t come out soggy!!

  14. My secret to stir frying with noodles (I think everyone has suffered the gluggy noodle scourge at some point!) is to stir fry all the elements separately (ginger/garli/chilli and meat, then hard veg with a little sauce, then soft veg) and then I throw everything back in at the end with the pre-soaked noodles and the rest of the sauce to heat and combine. That way, you don’t overload the wok, you never really ‘cook’ the noodles and you can adjust the cooking time for each element – works a treat! I swear by my heavy cast iron wok too, it retains the heat beautifully. Korean food is something I’m just starting to experiment with and I absolutely adore it (anything with Kim Chi has my name all over it!), but I haven’t tried sweet potato noodles. I’ll have to look out for them next time I’m at the Asian Grocer πŸ™‚
    Jas@AbsolutelyJas recently posted..Roadside FruitMy Profile

    • Yes, I am doing that now. I try and mix like ingredients together and if I’m feeling lazy, then dump most of them together, but you are right. Separately they do much better.

  15. I am serious…this looks better than the stuff we eat at our neighbourhood restaurants. And I am talking authentic Korean. I admire your spirit in not giving up despite failures. I am like that too and you know that I LOVE noodles. I enjoy a few challenges here and there and the kitchen has not been far behind. Love these pictures…gorgeous!
    Sugar et al recently posted..Date and Carrot CakeMy Profile

    • Thanks Sonali! Thats a wonderful compliment my friend! Oh, I never let a challenge keep me from being hungry πŸ˜‰