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. You’ll often see this dish served on special occasions like birthdays, anniversaries, and sometimes church pot lucks on special Sundays. There was no celebration on his particular day, but I did some leftover sweet potato starch noodles (aka glass noodles or Korean vermicelli noodles) that I needed to use up, so I decided to make something light and healthy for lunch. Instead of including our normal dose of meat (bulgogi), I went straight vegetarian for my brother-in-law and included only carrots, onions, mushrooms, and green onions. There are different variations, but the traditional method usually calls for spinach, bulgogi or thin strips of beef, and jidan (egg strips). After 25 minutes of slicing n dicing vegetables, soaking and boiling the noodles, then mixing them by hand (the Korean way), it was finally greeted with applause from my toughest food critics: my mom and sister (brother-in-law liked it, but he likes everything I cook). Although it personally had the right flavors and textures, the only thing missing was some meat! Oh well, there’s always next time…. 🙂
Servings: 4 people
Noodle soak time: 25 minutes
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
- 8 oz. dangmyeon, potato starch or glass noodles
- 1/2 onion, sliced into thin strips
- 3 cloves finely minced garlic
- 1/2 carrot, julienned
- 3 scallions, chopped (or spinach if available)
- 6 shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 3 tbsp sesame oil
- 3, 4 tbsp soy sauce
- 3, 4 tbsp brown sugar
- sesame seeds (garnish)
- eggs (optional; garnish)
- 2 tbsp olive or canola oil
- Cook noodles according to package directions. Soak at least 20 minutes in water, cook in boiling water for approx. 8 minutes or until soft. After rinsing and draining under water, add sesame oil to prevent noodles from sticking. Cut a few times with scissors to shorten the noodles, set aside.
- In a non-stick frying pan over medium heat, add a generous amount of olive canola oil and saute julienned carrots, onion, and mushrooms with minced garlic for a few minutes. The vegetables should still retain crispness when finished, set aside.
- 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 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.