Korean-style Sweet Potato Noodle Stir-fry

My mom, not a serious foodie like me but a foodie nonetheless, brought me these Korean sweet potato starch noodles on one of her visits here, having tasted it when a Chinese friend brought some to their workplace. We might be traveling in less than a month, so we’re trying to use up everything in the house (I haven’t been to the grocery store in a week! Hooray!), and this just called out to me today. It may not be strictly Korean, but a mixture of my own experience, preferences and whatever’s in the pantry/fridge — 3 of my 4 kids liked it, which is quite an accomplishment in this household!

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1 1/2 cups shredded beef (I used sirloin, trimmed of fat and cut across the grain)
1 tablespoon shaohxing
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 cup chopped scallions
2 medium-sized caps dried shiitake mushrooms
1 cup hot water
1 tablespoon salt
1 12-oz package sweet potato starch noodles
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons minced garlic

1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
3/4 cup julienned carrots
1 cup mung bean sprouts
1 cup spinach (trimmed, washed and spun dry)
2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce, or to taste (optional)

In a bowl, marinate beef shreds in the shaohxing, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, oyster sauce and cornstarch, mixing well. Let stand in the refrigerator, covered, for 30 minutes or overnight.

Rinse the dried shiitake mushrooms to get rid of surface dust. Soak them in a bowl in the hot water, about 20 minutes. When softened, squeeze out the water from the mushrooms, discard the mushroom stems and slice mushroom caps into 1/3-inch shreds. Reserve 1/2 cup of the mushroom soaking liquid, passed through a fine sieve to remove impurities.

Bring a large pot of water to the boil over high heat. When boiling, add 1 tablespoon salt and the noodles. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, and drain immediately in a colander. Rinse with cold water and set aside until needed. (Noodles may not be fully cooked at this point; that’s okay because it will cook some more when you stir it into the dish.)

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet or wok over high heat. When hot but not smoking, add beef shreds (leave marinade) and stir-fry until half-cooked, about 4 minutes. Return to bowl. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of the oil to the skillet. Add garlic and red onion slices and stir-fry, about 3 minutes, until onion is limp and garlic is beginning to turn golden (adjust heat if garlic is browning too fast). Lower heat to medium, add carrots and stir fry until half-cooked, about 5 minutes. Return beef to skillet along with its marinade. Increase heat to high, and add the 1/2 cup of mushroom soaking water and the optional chili sauce, stirring. Add noodles, bean sprouts and spinach. Stir-fry and fold until mixed well and spinach leaves are wilted. Serve hot.

reposting from my old blog at aboutweblogs.com/asianfood now aka noodlesandrice.com

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