Japchae is one of my favourite classic Korean dishes. It is made up of sweet potato glass noodles (dangmyeon) mixed with various vegetables and with beef or pork. However, you can just take out the meat if you’re a vegetarian and add more vegetables or even if you’re not, it still tastes amazing without meat in my opinion. It’s very flavourful and delicious!
All the ingredients are separately cooked and thrown into a big bowl and tossed together. Through this method, this ensures that each ingredient keeps its unique texture, colour and flavour preventing it also from overcooking if cooked all together.
I cooked up japchae over the weekend, apologies the final pictures are a bit blurry on some, everyone couldn’t wait to eat so i quickly snapped the pictures. Did i ever mention how difficult it is to prepare, cook and snap pictures with a phone at the same time?? Anyway, this dish sure did disappear quick!
Makes 4-5 servings
200g of Korean sweet potato glass noodles (dangmyeon)
5 shitake mushrooms, soaked until soft and sliced thinly or you can use other mushrooms
Meat (beef /pork /chicken), couple of thin strips is enough
Fresh spinach, roughly chop 3” in length
1 carrot, cut into matchsticks
½ of a red bell pepper, sliced into strips
1 medium onion, sliced thinly
2 spring onions, cut into 2” in length
Salt and pepper
Sauce (combine below altogether):
2.5 teaspoons of garlic, minced
3 tablespoons of soy sauce
2.5 tablespoons of sugar
2 tablespoons of sesame oil
1 teaspoon of sesame seeds
Prepare and cut all vegetables and set aside
In a small bowl, mix all the sauce ingredients together
If using meat, marinate it in one bowl with 1 tablespoon of sauce cover and put in fridge. Place shitake mushrooms in a separate bowl, and again add 1 tablespoon of sauce, mix and set aside.
Separate egg yolk and egg white. Beat the egg yolk, and add a pinch of salt in each the yolk and white. You can just use the yolk if you wish, but i didn’t want to waste the white and thought it looks good to have a mix.
Heat a non-stick pan, and lightly grease. Once pan is very hot, turn off the heat and place the egg yolk inside, swirl and spread until thin, cook around 1 minute each side and set aside. Reheat the pan, and do the same for the egg white.
Let it cool then roll and slice thinly.
Boil some water in a pot, and cook the noodles for about 7-8 minutes, at the same time you can start cooking the vegetables. Double check at the back of the noodles pack how long you should cook, as different brands may vary. The noodles will become translucent and soft but still be chewy.
Once noodles are done, rinse in cold water and drain. Roughly cut the noodles with scissors as they are really long and it will be difficult to separate and share unless you plan on having the whole bowl to yourself!
Add 1 tablespoon of water in a hot non-stick pan, and cook the spinach for about 30 seconds or until leaves wilt, squeeze out excess water and place in a big bowl.
Time to cook the remaining vegetables, all should be cooked one by one and separately. Add a dash of oil in a pan each time and cook the carrots, pepper, onions, shitake mushrooms all separately, cook roughly around 2-3 minutes each, and season with a tiny bit of salt and pepper – do not overcook and keep them bit crunchy.
Once each one has cooked, add all one by one in a big bowl along with the spinach from earlier.
Lightly add some oil in a pan, and cook the meat until done, add to the big bowl.
In a large non stick pan over medium heat, stir fry the noodles for about 3 minutes, add 2 tablespoons of sauce and combine then add to the large bowl with the vegetables.
In the bowl, throw in the remaining sauce, add some black pepper, and combine all of the ingredients together until well incorporated. Add more seasoning if needed.
Mix in the egg and sesame seeds.
Now it’s time to eat!! For serving, I found it easier to keep in the big bowl and serve using big tongs.
The japchae can be stored in the fridge for the next day and heated up and still will taste good, that’s if you’re afraid the portion is too big. Certainly wasn’t too much here.