I am a Korean adoptee and was raised in the American South and Midwest by white parents. Assimilation was thought to be better for adopted children at the time and grew up with a general ignorance about my Korean heritage and culture. It wasn’t until I got older that I became aware of all the delicious things that I missed out on growing up. This recipe for chapjae was the first one that I learned to make at home and is a regular staple of my cooking. Eating Korean food was my first step into the exploration of my identity as a Korean-American and served as the launching point for my future artistic and personal growth. Loving Korean food helped me love a part of myself that I didn’t want to always embrace growing up.
Ground Pork Chapjae
- 1/2 pound ground pork
- 1/4 ounce shiitake mushrooms
- 1/2 onion, finely diced
- 1 carrot, thinly sliced
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 bunch of spinach
- 2 tablespoons dry white wine, sake or chun-ha (Korean sake)
- sesame seeds
- 1 package Korean sweet potato glass noodles
1. Mix together soy sauce, sesame oil, and sugar to create a sauce.
2. Boil a large pot of water for noodles.
3. In a large skillet add canola oil and brown ground pork (add chun-ha to tenderize) over medium high heat until it starts to brown and add 1/3 of the prepared sauce. Remove ground pork when thoroughly cooked.
4. Add lightly beaten eggs, cook and dice and remove from skillet.
5. Add and cook onion, shiitake, and carrot until onions are translucent and add pork and eggs for 3 minutes and turn to low heat.
6. Cook noodles according to directions (DO NOT OVERCOOK).
7. Add cooked noodles and spinach and the remaining 2/3 of the sauce and mix thoroughly until spinach is wilted.
8. Serve and top with sesame seeds.
Jarrett Min Davis was born in Seoul, South Korea, and adopted by American parents at the age of two. He was raised in St. Louis and earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Dayton in Ohio. He then went on to earn a Masters of Fine Arts from the Maryland Institute College of Art and Design’s Hoffberger School of Painting in Baltimore. He currently resides in Amesbury, Massachusetts, and teaches in the Studio Foundation Program at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston. He has exhibited work nationally and internationally with recent exhibitions in Boston, Baltimore and Bangkok, Thailand. He was recently the Artist-in-Residence at SACI: Florence, Italy. Instagram @jmindavis