The best part of gardening is that sometimes it’s the gift that keeps on giving. I had planted green onions in my garden last year, and had a couple pop up, but nothing else after. I just figured that they had failed to germinate (or that I hadn’t refreshed the soil enough), and chalked it up to a packet of wasted seeds. Imagine my surprise when they started coming up like gangbusters when it first started getting warm. I let them keep going, and by this past week, I had what came out to be three full bunches of green onions to use. I decided to use them in an Asian-themed meal where each dish had green onions as a distinct component.
We had picked up some really great looking beef and pork for stir-fry at Hills the day before, and decided to modify an existing recipe to use both rather than just the beef it originally called for. And we allowed it to marinate overnight, which I think helped concentrate the flavor a bit more. Since you’re not cooking the meat to death, it stays tender. This was just all around nice, with very good flavor. We’d make this one again.
Beef, Pork and Scallion Stir-Fry
adapted from recipe by Jody Prival
1/2 lb. beef sliced and cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 lb. pork sliced and cut into bite sized pieces
1 bunch scallions cut into 1″ lengths
3-4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 1/2 oz. tamari
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. cornstarch
2 tsp. oil
1 tsp. slivered fresh ginger
2 tbsp. tamari
2 tbsp. sake
1 tsp. sugar
1 tbsp. cornstarch dissolved in 1/3 c. cold water
2 tsp. oil
2 tsp. Hoisin sauce (optional)
Mix marinade with meat. Stir well and set aside for at least 30 minutes (we let ours marinate overnight). Put some oil in a wok and heat until very hot, then add the garlic. As soon as it starts to brown, add the meat and stir rapidly until the red color disappears. Add the scallions, then the sauce. If it gets too thick, add a little water. Heat ~1 minute, then serve.
The second dish, the Jap Chae, is one I’ve been wanting to try for a while. I cut down the amount of sesame oil in the recipe a touch (because at least to me, the flavor of it can overwhelm everything else in excess), but found it a bit bland, because cutting out some of the sesame oil knocked the flavor profile off a bit. I’ll have to try a different recipe next time. I was still able to use it by eating it mixed together with the stir-fry – combined they are quite nice. I did like the veggies a lot in this, though, so I’d keep that aspect. I’ll post the recipe from Jaden’s blog intact, though – because you may have better results without altering it.
Jap Chae (Korean Glass Noodles)
recipe from Steamy Kitchen
Serves 4-6 as part of multicourse meal
1/2 pound dried Korean sweet potato noodles
2 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil, divided
1 tablespoon cooking oil
3/4 cup thinly sliced onions
2 carrots, cut into matchsticks
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 stalks green onions, cut into 1″ lengths
1/2 cup mushrooms, thinly sliced (shitake, wood ear)
1/2 lb spinach, washed well and drained
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
Fill a large pot with water and boil. When water is boiling, add the noodles and cook for 5 minutes. Immediately drain and rinse with cold water. Drain again and toss with only 1 tsp of the sesame oil. Use kitchen shears to cut noodles into shorter pieces, about 8 inches in length. Set aside.
In bowl, mix soy sauce & sugar together. Add the cooking oil in a wok or large saute pan on high heat and swirl to coat. When the cooking oil is hot but not smoking, fry onions and carrots, until just softened, about 1 minute. Add the garlic, green onions and mushrooms, fry 30 seconds. Then add the spinach, soy sauce, sugar and the noodles. Fry 2-3 minutes until the noodles are cooked through. Turn off heat, toss with sesame seeds and the remaining 1 1/2 tsp of sesame oil.
*rehydrate your mushrooms if you are using dried
After finding out truly easy Pa Jun is to make, I’m really questioning the logic of one local Korean restaurant who tries to justify charging $9.95 for a single vegetarian pancake (same price they charge for seafood) because “the amount of work needed to make it is the same”. What a crock! This recipe, in fact, is so simple, that I can see making it whenever I have 30 minutes to spare and a hankering for it. Even though this variation of it just uses scallion, I’ve seen it made with zucchini, kimchee, and other veggies you have laying around and need to use. Next time around, I may put a little soy sauce in the batter proper to make it a touch more savory.
Korean Scallion Pancake (Pa Jun)
recipe courtesy About.com
2 c. flour
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 c. water
1 bunch of scallions, halved and cut into 2-3 inch lengths
1 tsp. salt
Oil for cooking
Mix all ingredients together and let sit for about 10 minutes. Check consistency before cooking – batter should be a little bit runnier than American pancake batter, so that the Pa Jun cooks quickly and evenly. (Add more water if necessary to achieve this consistency).
Heat a saute pan over medium heat and coat with a thin layer of oil. Pour batter to fill pan in a thin layer. Cook for 3-4 minutes until set and golden brown on bottom. Turn over with help of a spatula or plate (or flip it in the air if you are good at that) and finish by cooking 1-2 more minutes, adding more oil if necessary. Serve with soy sauce.
So, if you had an abundance of scallions, how would you use them?