Japchae, literally meaning “mixture of vegetables” is another traditional Korean dish that everyone loves for its sweetness and unique texture coming from the glass noodles. On his particular day, I had some leftover sweet potato noodles (aka glass noodles or vermicelli noodles) from the other day, so I decided to make something light and healthy for lunch. Instead of including our normal dose of meats (bulgogi), I went straight vegetarian for my brother-in-law’s sake and included only carrots, onions, mushrooms, and green onions. After 25 minutes of slicing n dicing vegetables, boiling the noodles, and mixing them by hand (the Korean way), it was finally greeted with applause from my toughest food critics, which included the cooking matriarch of the house my mom, sister, and brother-in-law. And luckily for me, everyone enjoyed the dish, including my hard-to-please mom! I was flattered by one critic’s positive comment: “It tastes even better without kogi (meat) and definitely tastes lighter and healthier without sacrificing any flavors.” What else needs to be said. ^^
Any of the “hard” vegetables (i.e. carrots, onion, etc) will need to be sauteed for a few minutes to make sure that have the same consistency of the noodles.
Once you have everything cooked, bring them together and mix thoroughly by hand.
Make sure to add green onions for color and taste. Spinach is a good option as well.
When you’re done, it should look something like this (albeit in much bigger portions). ^^
Noodle soak time: 25 minutes
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
- 8~10 oz. dangmyeon, Korean glass noodles
- 1 onion, sliced into thin strips
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 2 carrots, julienned
- 3 scallions, chopped
- 5, 6 mushrooms (shiitake preferred)
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- sesame seeds (optional, garnish)
- eggs (optional; garnish)
- 2 tbsp vegetable or canola oil
- Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain well and add sesame oil to avoid sticking of the noodles. Cut a few times with scissors to shorten the noodles, set aside.
- In a non-stick frying pan over medium heat, add generous amount of vegetable or canola oil and saute julienned carrots, onion, and mushrooms with minced garlic for a few minutes. The vegetables should still retain crispness.
- Combine vegetables and noodles in a large mixing bowl. Then add sugar, sesame oil, and soy sauce tossing well until thoroughly mixed. Taste and adjust according to taste preference.
- Garnish with sesame seeds and egg strips.
*You can adjust the sweetness, saltiness, and nuttiness of this dish by adding or limiting brown sugar, soy sauce, and sesame oil, respectively.