Watch chef Esther Choi make one of her favorite Korean dishes while stuck at home

Photos courtesy of Esther Choi

These days, we’re all either chefs, bakers, or mixologists. After stay-at-home orders were established in March, some of us fell into these roles naturally. These are the people who always had an appreciation for layering flavor profiles — who relish chopping, zesting, glazing, and sharing it all through colorful, non-filtered Instagram stories. Others resisted at first, but by the third week of quarantine, goddammit, they were sick of sandwiches and takeout. Either way, here we are, most of us slightly chubbier and constantly floundering around in our kitchens, hungry for more recipes. And that’s precisely how ‘Look What I Made,’ Mic’s brand new IG cooking show, came to fruition.

Every Wednesday afternoon, I’ll be hosting one of our favorite chefs — each one brilliant, innovative, and charismatic in their own way — as they walk us through an easy and delicious recipe. It’s comfort food (and cocktails) all the way, and each 30-minute episode is filled with professional techniques, insider tips, and pure culinary voyeurism: We’ll get to know each chef in their natural habitat, their kitchens.

Last Wednesday, for our inaugural episode, we prepared a quarantine version of Japchae — a traditional Korean noodle dish — with the illustrious Esther Choi, head chef and founder of two restaurants and a bar in New York City. We brought her on because she’s a skilled chef (the Tteokbokki at Mokbar is a spiritual experience), but the episode revealed Choi’s innate ability to make cooking fun. And to be frank, we needed that energy. Check out her recipe, highlights from our hang out, and join us next week for an equally revitalizing food journey.

Chef Esther’s Quarantine Japchae Pasta


1 lb. pasta, spaghetti or angel hair

8 oz. ribeye steak, cut into strips

½ large carrot, julienned

2 cups baby spinach

1 small onion, sliced

5 pieces dried shiitake mushrooms (or mushroom of choice), soaked and sliced thin

1 red pepper, thin sliced

2 scallions, cut into 2 inch pieces

2 eggs, whisked well


2T soy sauce

2T sugar

2t garlic

2T sesame oil

2T Mirin

1T Fish sauce

Black pepper

2T butter

  1. Mix all sauce and marinade ingredients together. Use half of it to marinade your steak and set aside.
  2. In a large pot, bring water up to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions. Al dente.
  3. In a nonstick skillet on low heat, add a thin layer of the eggs to create a very thin omelette. Repeat with the remaining mixture until all egg mixture is used. Slice very thin and set aside.
  4. Meanwhile in a large saute pan, add a tablespoon of oil and add onion and scallions with a pinch of salt and saute about 3-4 minutes. Place on a separate plate.
  5. Next, repeat with the carrot and pepper. Set aside next to the onions and scallions
  6. Repeat with shiitake mushrooms. Set aside on the same plate.
  7. Repeat with spinach.
  8. Lastly, add steak and saute until brown. Add the cooked pasta, the sautéed vegetables and the rest of the leftover marinade. Add some pasta water to bring everything together.
  9. Finish with butter and incorporate until melted.
  10. Garnish with sesame seeds & egg omelette