(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!

(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

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

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.


• 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!