Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Paul's Birthday Noodles (serves 3-4)

Today is my husband's birthday and for lunch I decided to make a special noodle dish inspired by a Korean dish known as chapchae or japchae.  In my family we often make noodles dishes for special events.  The long strands of noodles is a sign of longevity.  Happy birthday and to a wonderful, happy, healthy, and long life, dear Paul!!  As my grandmother often tells us, may you get everything you ever wished for!

Paul's Birthday Noodles (serves 3-4) 


1/2 lb of starch noodles* (cooked for 10 minutes, drained)
10 oz scallop roe, washed well and drained
6 oz mantles*, washed well and drained, cut into 1/2 to 1 inch lengths
2 oz pancetta, diced (or any good bacon)
3 garlic cloves, chopped
3 oz sliced lengthwise onion (or 1/2 medium onion)
3 1/2 oz julienned carrots (or 1 medium size)
3 oz sliced red cabbage
6 dried shiitake mushrooms (hydrated, sliced and squeezed the water out yields 3 oz)
2 oz watercress, washed and drained well (may cut the cress in half or keep the long strands)
1/2 oz seaweed, hydrated in water for about 30 minutes, rinsed well, drained and squeezed all the water out
3 T olive oil
1 T oyster sauce
1 T fish sauce (= 3 t)
1 1/2  T sesame oil
1/4 t sugar
1/4 t white pepper
1 t toasted sesame seeds
Light soy sauce (optional)


1) Boil the noodles for about 10 minutes (or according to the package instructions), drain and reserve the noodles.
2) For the roe/mantles:  In a large non-stick sauce pan heat 1 T of olive oil over high heat.  Once the pan is hot add the pancetta, saute for 1 minute.
3) Add onion and garlic and saute for 1 minute.
4) Stir in roe and mantles and 1 t of fish sauce.  Saute for about 3 minutes.  Remove the contents and reserve in a plate or bowl.
5) For the vegetables:  Add 1 T of olive oil in the pan.  Once the pan is hot add carrots and cook for 1 minute.
6) Turn heat down to medium high if the pan is too hot.  Add cabbage and cook for 1 minute.
7) Add shiitake mushrooms, watercress and seaweed.  Cook for 1 minute.  Remove the contents and reserve in a plate or bowl.
8) Add 1 T of olive oil in the pan.  Add the noodles (if the noodles stick together then rinse the noodles in water and drain well before adding it to the pan).  Stir and add 1 T sesame oil.  Cook for 1 minute.
9) Add the vegetables back into the pan.  Mix the vegetables well into the noodles, about 1-2 minutes.
10) Add the roe/mantles back into the pan, 2 t fish sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, and white pepper, mix well and cook for 1-2 minutes.
11) Remove, sprinkle sesame seeds and drizzle 1/2 T sesame oil on top before serving.

gift and card from the parents
*Right before eating I drizzled a little light soy sauce into my plate.  This added a little more flavor and depth to the dish.
*Once you have removed the mantles (these are the scallop's sensory organs and they are found on the periphery of the scallop shell), massage these strands with regular table salt.  I sprinkled about 
1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons on the strands.  I massaged it for about 5 minutes, rinsed well in cold water and repeated the process another 2 more times.  This got rid of all the slime and impurities.  You may want to don some gloves for this process. 
*The starch noodles are called "vermicelli Asian style starch noodles".  These noodles are great for cooking such as stir frying since they don't break apart during the cooking process.  They also have a chewy texture.

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