Japchae in a Jiffy!
If you’ve ever been to a Korean restaurant, I am sure you have seen this glorious dish. Traditionally served for special occasions or parties, it is a crowd favorite! There are no unfamiliar ingredients, but it is a taste so special, I’m sure you have never tasted anything like it. It isn’t spicy, but the flavor combination and textures of the different vegetables interspersed in the soft but perfectly chewy sweet potato starch noodles are like a celebration in your mouth.
Your mouth is watering now isn’t it? ?
My mom makes a kick-ass japchae and I have watched her make it for years. For a long time, I never even attempted it myself because the “authentic” way of preparing it is extremely time consuming and tedious! You are supposed to stir fry each vegetable separately and season each step – it takes hours! Not to mention my mom’s perfect knife skills that result in every piece of vegetable being the same size and shape.
Hey, for me, it’s all going in my belly, and I want it NOW! So I’ve made it MY way, and you know what? It tastes just as good!! I think I’ll whip up a batch for my mom!
Here’s the recipe. If you make it, please let me know how it turned out and send me pictures! I would love to see the spin that you put on it.
Sweet onion julienned
Spinach (go ahead and get the spinach in a bag to cut down the prep!)
Dried Shiitake mushrooms (I like the dried ones – you’ll see why, but you can also use fresh or any kind of mushrooms you like. Traditionally, wood ears are use, but doesn’t matter!)
Bell peppers julienned (I like using all three colors for the colors! Red, Yellow, Orange)
Scallions cut similar size to onions/peppers
Vegan Chicken (This is optional or you can use meat if you are a carnivore!)
Basically, you can use any vegetables you have on hand, but it’s great for presentation if you have a variety of colors. We eat with our eyes also! I’m not specifying the amount of each ingredient because it’s basically whatever ratio you want. Find what YOU like!
Ok, so here we go.
First, I like to boil the mushrooms so they have enough time to plump up, so bring some water to a boil and pop those babies in. You’ll see that after 15 or so minutes, the water becomes a rich broth! When the mushrooms are soft enough to eat, they are ready! Strain them and set aside, but SAVE THE BROTH! We are going to blanch the spinach in them. Go ahead and do that now. Don’t overcook the spinach, but just soften them. Strain well and set aside. You can save the broth for a soup later on! Or you can put some miso in it to taste and have a nice miso soup as a side. I digress.
Next, heat some olive oil in a big wok. You can use sesame oil to be more authentic but I find olive oil is lighter and tastes just as good. Add onions first, season with salt/pepper. Sweat them out and then add your “meat” if you are using meat. Let the meat brown, then add the peppers and scallions.
While these soften, bring a large pot of water to boil. When it boils, add the noodles and cook to the package directions, 8-10 minutes. Drain well.
When the peppers are softened, add the spinach and mushrooms. Wait, did I tell you to sliced the mushrooms? Slice the mushrooms. Add a tiny bit of soy sauce. This is to season but also for the color.
Add the noodles and sauté until everything is nicely combined. It should have a nice golden color and also be seasoned to your liking, so add more soy sauce and/or salt and pepper to taste.
You are DONE! I like using a plastic kitchen glove to mix well and plate, but if you have some tong skillzzzz, do your thang.
Sprinkle on some sesame seeds to garnish and VOILÀ! That should have taken you less than 30 minutes!
I like making a huge batch because the next day it tastes even better. Just reheat it on the stovetop and the noodles should have soaked up all the goodness! I have two containers of it in my fridge now. A great meal on it’s own, or it’s great on top of a sizzling bowl of rice too! Enjoy and send me pictures!!! I’m BYoonique on all social media handles.