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Chop Chae

(by Frances Park)

For the sauce:

3 1/2 T. soy sauce

1 T. packed brown sugar

2 T. sesame oil

2 t. minced garlic

1 T. roasted sesame seeds

black pepper to taste

1 large carrot

1 medium zucchini

1 red bell pepper

1 medium onion, preferably sweet variety

3 scallion stalks

12 oz. firm tofu

5 fresh shiitake mushrooms (or 4 - 5 dried shiitake, soaked until plump)

7 oz. Korean cellophane noodles

6 oz. fresh spinach (4 - 5 c.)

vegetable oil for stir-frying

salt, to taste

optional: 2 eggs

Combine all ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl, and mix well until sugar is dissolved. Set aside.

Cut carrot, zucchini, red bell pepper, and onion into julienne strips.

Split scallions by running a knife through the root ends lengthwise, and cut into 2-in. pieces.

Remove stems from mushrooms, and slice into 1/4-in. strips.

Cut tofu into cubes.

Bring a large pot half-filled with water to a boil, and cook the noodles until translucent and soft (approximately 6 - 8 minutes).

Drain in a colander, and rinse under cold water. Drain well.

Cut noodles with food shears into 8-in. lengths.

Transfer to a large bowl, and mix with 3 T. of the prepared sauce.

Add 1 T. oil to a large pan, and stir-fry the carrot and zucchini over medium high heat for 2 minutes, or until vegetables are half cooked.

Add tofu, onion, scallions, and mushrooms. Vegetables should remain crisp.

Add noodles, spinach, and remaining sauce, stirring to combine.

Optional egg garnish:

Heat a lightly oiled nonstick skillet over medium-low heat.

Beat 2 eggs, and pour into hot pan.

Cook on both sides, and fold over into an omelet.

Cool slightly, then thinly slice.

Sprinkle sliced egg over chop chae.

(Read Between Us, the story that accompanies this recipe.)

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