Today is kind of a big deal for our family. After nearly two years of work, The Ancestral Table is finally in stores today! To celebrate, I thought it would be fitting to post my cookbook recipe for Japchae, which is a common party dish in Korea today.
Japchae has its origins in the 17th century; fittingly, it was first served at a party for the reigning king. Originally made with just vegetables and mushrooms, sweet potato noodles (dangmyeon, also called glass noodles) were introduced in the 20th century and are now an integral part of the dish.
Mohinga is a Burmese rice noodle soup not unlike many other rice noodles soups found in Southeast Asia, like Pho and Laksa. Mohinga is unique in that it uses a catfish soup stock and it’s typically served for breakfast.
There are many variations of this dish out there, but the most common versions usually include chickpea flour (which I omitted since it’s legume-based) and banana tree stem (which I wasn’t able to find in my area). The fish used to make the stock is often pan fried and added to the soup upon serving. To replace the chickpea flour and pan-fried fish, I used crushed up fish and rice fritters, which was my recipe from last week. It ended up being a very good decision.
It’s somewhat surprising, but Pad Thai, despite being one of Thailand’s national dishes, is from Vietnam. Originally influenced by Chinese cuisine, the dish was relatively unknown in Thailand until the 20th century. It actually was part of a Thai government campaign in the 1940s to create a national dish that both reflected the Thai spirit and also increased rice noodle production to help propel their economy. There’s a really interesting history of the dish to be read here.
This recipe is a long time coming, and something we’ve been cooking for years. For a while I was content with pre-made sauces like Mae Ploy’s, but I was never happy with its high sugar content and the fact that it has MSG in it. So I decided to work out how to make it from scratch, and I couldn’t be happier with the resulting product. This is the real deal.
And to make things even more interesting, for this particular photo session I thought it would be neat to try out Cappello’s gluten-free, grain-free fettuccine noodles instead of our usual rice noodles, and I was surprised by how well they worked! Instructions on how to make them with traditional rice noodles and zucchini noodles are included as well.
Saimin is a dish unique to Hawaii, and a marriage of the many cultures found on the islands. Chinese egg noodles are served in a Japanese broth with garnishes taken from Chinese (char siu), Japanese (fish cake), Filipino (adobo), Korean (won bok cabbage), and Portuguese (sausage) cuisine. My favorite saimin in Hawaii is found at Shiro’s Saimin Haven, which features 70+ variations of the dish (my favorite is “dodonpa” – 10 garnishes!). Likewise, fried saimin is a stir-fried version of the soup, and is also popular in many saimin shops. It’s a refreshing break from noodle soups and your everyday lo mein-style dishes. Unfortunately, saimin noodles are made with wheat.
To remedy this, I settled on sweet potato-based noodles, which as far as I know are a Korean invention. They are made with just sweet potato starch and water, and are similar to glass/bean noodles used in dishes like chicken long rice.
This is an update to a recipe I posted earlier, but with dashi (broth) made from scratch in order to reduce our MSG intake.
This dish has become our go-to easy lunch on the weekends, when we’re running around the house doing chores. Most of the “cooking” involves letting things soak or simmer, so with some agile timer-setting you can make this dish with minimal effort.