Chapchae 

(Korean Stir Fry Noodles)

October 6: National Noodle Day

Islander’s most memorable summer school class in Hawaii years ago was very culturally di-verse from Asia and the Pacific. Her students were from Micronesia (specifically Pohnpei and Chuuk), Samoa (including a village high chief’s daughter and another future chief) and Asia (Chinese, Japanese and Koreans). At the end of the summer session, one of the Koreans (a fu-ture Catholic priest) suggested holding the class aloha (farewell) party at the Brothers’ Hall, a larger gathering space across from our classroom building. The students got excited and were very generous in sharing their dances, music and food. Some dressed up in their colorful cultur-al clothing. The Koreans got together and made a huge container of chapchae (stir fry noodles) to feed the entire class—plus the host brothers. It was such a joyous day celebrating the stu-dents’ accomplishments and talents.

Islander thinks of that class whenever she makes chapchae at home. No wonder her students got together to make it—many hands make lighter work. Preparation of this recipe takes a lot of chop chop chapchae-ing, slicing and sautéing. But it is worth the effort because this noodle dish is delicious!

On National Noodle Day, make chapchae! Masissge deuseyo!

Recipe
(Adapted from Korean Kitchen by Soyearn Yoo and Junghwa Yoo)

For the noodle sauce

• ¼ cup soy sauce
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 stalk green onion, chopped (green parts only)
• 2 tablespoons sugar
• 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
• 1 tablespoon sesame oil

Directions
In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, garlic and green onions .

Stir in the sugar and sesame seeds and oil. Set aside.

For the noodle mix

• 2 eggs, beaten, fried into an omelet and sliced thinly
• ¼ cup carrots, sliced into “match sticks”
• ½ cup onions, cut into slivers
• 8 shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated and sliced thinly
• 3 ounces beef sirloin, sliced thinly
• 6 ounces sweet potato starch noodles
• 2 cups spinach
• 1 teaspoon sesame
• 1 teaspoon olive oil
• Sesame seeds

Directions
Beat the eggs and fry into an omelet in a lightly greased skillet. Cool, cut in half and slice thinly into slivers. Set aside.

Cut the carrots into “match sticks”. Slice the onions thinly. Rehydrate the dried shiitake mush-rooms in hot water for 10 minutes or until softened. Squeeze out excess water from the mush-rooms and slice thinly.

In a lightly greased skillet, over medium high heat, fry the beef pieces with the noodle sauce for about 2-3 minutes. Add the carrots and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Stir in the mush-rooms. Let the noodle sauce evaporate. Remove from the stovetop.

In a large pot, boil enough water to cover the noodles. Cook the spinach for a minute and re-move immediately. Drain the spinach. To the same pot, add the noodles in the spinach water. Boil for about 10 minutes or until the noodles are cooked through. Rinse and drain. Place the noodles in a large bowl and add the sesame and olive oil. Mix well so the noodles do not stick to each other.

Add the spinach and beef mixture. Top with fried eggs slivers. Mix well. Serve on a plate and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Notes

• Thanks to another Korean student who went on to get her Ph.D. in multicultural education for giving Islander the cookbook as a gift after tutoring her in ESL.
• Whether Filipino pancit, Japanese somen or ramen, Hawaiian chicken long rice or even Italian pasta, eat oodles of noodles on National Noodle Day!

Brac de Gitano

(Andorra Cake Cream Roll)

October: National Dessert Month

Islander’s Mommy and Auntie Maria B. would make Filipino pianono (cake rolls with filling) for the family on special occasions, like birthdays and the holidays. The dessert seemed so fancy to make that Islander never created a cake roll until now—and discovered that it was not that difficult to do! She already had all the ingredients in the pantry and decided to try a cake roll recipe from Andorra called brac de gitano (gypsy’s arm). Since the Philippines and Andorra have Spain as a common country in their histories, the cultural cuisine and cake roll recipe and technique are similar. This Andorra version has an apricot jam and cream filling. Feel free to experiment with other fillings.

Home chefs can challenge themselves and make a surprisingly simple cake roll like brac de gitano. Impress family and friends on special occasions and try this recipe during National Dessert Month.

Recipe

(Adapted from Coil.com)

For the cake

  • 4 eggs, separated
  • ½ cup sugar, granulated white
  • ½ cup flour, all purpose
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract

Directions

In a mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks with sugar until pale. Add the flour, butter and salt.

Add the almond extract. Continue to mix well. Meanwhile, in another mixing bowl, whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold into the flour mixture.

Line a 9×13-inch lipped pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on the edges to use as “handles”. Lightly grease the paper. Pour the batter in the pan, smoothing the top with a spatula. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven.

Pick up the cake by the “handles” and place in a cotton towel. Roll from the short end. Leave in the towel to cool. Meanwhile, make the cream filling.

For the cream filling

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 5 tablespoons plus ½ cup apricot jam (room temperature)
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds

Directions

In a mixing bowl, whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold 5 tablespoons of apricot jam into the cream and mix well. Unroll the cake and spread the remaining ½ cup apricot jam on the cake, leaving ½ inch edges. Then carefully spread the cream mixture on top of the jam.

Roll the cake back into shape, using the towel as a guide. Refrigerate for 1-4 hours. When ready to serve, dust powdered sugar then cocoa powder on top and sprinkle with almonds. Slice and serve cold.

Notes

  • Search our blog for more dessert recipes.

 

Inihaw Na Liempo

(Filipino Grilled Pork Belly)

October: National Pork Month

A Filipino fiesta is incomplete without pork: lechon, pata, adobo, sinigang and inihaw! So October is an even more popular month for Filipinos as it is National Pork Month. Whenever we go over to Islander’s relatives’ homes, there is always a Pinoy pork dish of some sort. If there is a family gathering outdoors, and there is grilling going on, then everyone gets to feast on meat sticks and pork belly (this makes sense as both recipes use similar ingredients of mafran/banana sauce and calamansi juice for the marinade). One of Islander’s favorites is inihaw na liempo. The marbled meat looks charred but is still moist and tasty. Grilled pork belly is simply served with hot steamed rice and a vinegary dipping sauce to sop up the flavorful fat. Because it is so rich, inihaw is a rare indulgence now for us. But when we eat it, it is a special treat at those family gatherings and during National Pork Month.

Recipe

(Adapted from Ang Sarap!)

Ingredients

  • 2-2 ½ pounds pork belly
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup calamansi juice (or lemon juice)
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ cup banana sauce/ketchup (or tomato ketchup)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil

Directions

In a medium bowl, make the marinade by combining the soy sauce, calamansi or lemon juice, garlic and brown sugar.

Season with black pepper. Place pork belly in a zipper top plastic bag and pour the marinade in the bag. Seal well and refrigerate overnight.

Remove the pork belly to a plate and pour the marinade in a saucepan. Bring to a boil for a minute to kill off any pork bacteria. Let cool in another bowl and mix in banana sauce and oil.

Preheat the outdoor grill. Cook the pork belly for about 10 minutes on one side, basting with marinade frequently. Turn over on the other side and continue to baste until cooked through (do not overcook or the pork will be tough). Put pork belly on a plate or pan and let rest for about five minutes. Slice into bite-sized pieces. Serve with vinegar dipping sauce.

Bonus Recipe:

Sawsawan (Vinegar Dipping Sauce)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup vinegar (we use a combination of ¾ cup cane sugar vinegar and ¼ cup mirin/sweet rice vinegar)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (may omit if using sweet rice vinegar)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup red onion, diced
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 dried chili peppers or ¼ teaspoon red chili flakes

Directions

In a mixing bowl, stir together the vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, garlic, onions and peppers. Store remaining sauce in a jar, refilling with a little vinegar if needed. Refrigerate for up to two weeks.

Notes

  • If mafran/banana sauce/banana ketchup is unavailable, substitute with tomato ketchup. If calamansi juice is unavailable, substitute with lemon juice.
  • Search our blog for more Filipino and pork recipes.