Korean Jap Chae Noodle(Sweet Potato Noodle) Stir-Fry... This has got to be one of my favorite noodle dishes. I love, love these noodles. While I can't find the sweet potato noodles here in Montana, I'll buy them whenever I have the chance...usually when we go down to visit our families or when family comes up our way. I have a sweet sister-in-law who knows I like these noodles and often asks me if I need them before she comes up for a visit. This past Spring, yet another sister-in-law came over for a visit with her family.... and surprised me with a whole new batch of the sweet potato noodles. And they were even the right kind of noodles...made simply with sweet potato starch...nothing else added. It's a blessing to have such a large family:)!
A few weeks ago, my husband and I took a road trip out of state...and headed down southwest. All along I had in mind to stop at a Korean supermarket if I could:). It so happened there was one... just a few miles away from the hotel we were staying at. Of course, I bought enough to carry me through the winter:). And I grabbed the chance to buy a few more pantry items I normally can't find here.
I was initially introduced to this dish when we first moved here in Montana. We were invited for dinner one day, and my friend from church(being Korean) cooked us a feast. I have to say the Japchae noodles were my absolute favorite. I'd never had them before... the flavors of the dish and the texture of the noodles were entirely new to me. That same day I made sure to find out the name of the dish... and the kind of noodles that were used.
It took me some time to finally make the Japchae noodles...just because I couldn't find the noodles here in town. But I couldn't get them out of my mind, so I had my sister-in-law look for them in the city she lived in. I knew she would probably find them as there were plenty of international stores around. Every so often she would bring me some... interestingly enough I was able to find woodear mushrooms here in town:). The sweet potato noodles have a chewy sort of texture with a see-through transparent look to them...that's why they are often called "glass noodles". But I love the springy-ness of the noodles and all the stir-fried vegetables that are mixed in... making a dish that can be entirely gluten-free( if gluten-free soy sauce is used).
The Japchae noodles are meant to be a part of a multi course meal...but we'll have it as a meal in itself. This dish can be varied with all sorts of vegetables and meats... you can even make a vegetarian version. I especially like making this dish when I have leftover grilled beef...even grilled chicken.
This is the sort of dish where the whole family can get involved...some can slice the meat, others can cut the vegetables, while still others can cook the eggs. The sauce can even be made while the vegetables are stir-fried... and then, in a matter of minutes, all the ingredients are combined ... ready to be served. A delicious meal that can be served warm... or even at room temperature.
While I listed a basic way of making this dish...you can be creative and adjust ingredients to taste...even the sauce can be adjusted. I'm not keen on using too much soy sauce... often I will decrease the amount of soy sauce and add a bit of salt instead. But I am posting this recipe for those of you who want to give this dish a try... and actually have access to the noodles. I wish the pictures would've done the noodles justice....it was the best I could do...at the moment. Hope you enjoy...
Note: While it looks like a complicated dish... with all the steps I posted. The dish isn't really that difficult to make. I probably over-explained the dish and repeated myself:)...it's just a matter of cooking the noodles, stir-frying some vegetables and combining everything together with a simple sauce.
Tip: I used a leftover piece of grilled flank steak for the meat...but you can use a fresh piece...just season it, cut in strips and cook before adding the vegetables
You will need:
Cook, Drain, Rinse and Cut:
200 grams dried sweet potato noodles(dangmyeon)
Soak and Cut:
20 grams dried woodear mushrooms, cut in julienne strips
5-6 dried shiitake*(only if not using fresh mushrooms below), cut in strips
Blanch and Season:
small bundle fresh spinach, blanched( or 1/2 cup frozen spinach)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 TBS sesame oil
Separate, Cook, and Cut Into Strips:
salt and pepper
drizzle of oil
5 TBS soy sauce( you could use low sodium), or to taste
2-3 TBS chopped green onion
1 TBS sugar
~~~~~~~~ Sauce (option 2):~~~~~~~~~~~~
only if not seasoning the spinach
5 TBS soy sauce, or to taste
1 TBS rice wine vinegar
1 TBS honey
1 TBS sesame oil
2 garlic cloves minced
2 tsps minced ginger
2-3 TBS chopped green onion
pepper to taste
Cut and Stir Fry:
1 onion, sliced thinly
1 large carrot, julienned matchsticks
1/2-1 red bell pepper, julienned
4 oz sliced mushrooms*(only if not using dried shiitake above)
re-hydrated woodear mushrooms, cut in strips
250 grams cooked beef, sliced thinly into strips
oil for stir frying
Combine and Quickly Cook:
1-2 TBS roasted sesame seeds(I used un-toasted)
strips of cooked egg
chopped green onion
1. Re-hydrate mushrooms: Boil some water and pour over woodear mushrooms...and shiitake , if using. Allow mushrooms to soften and re-hydrate.... about 20 minutes or so.
2. Cook noodles: Bring water to a boil in a large pot. Add noodles and cook for 4-6 minutes, or until noodles are tender. Drain and rinse in cold water. Using a scissor cut through the noodles a few times to make them a bit shorter and easier to handle. Set aside.
3. Blanch spinach: Place spinach in boiling water...cook until wilted, strain under cold water and then squeeze dry...or use frozen spinach, squeeze dry. Add minced garlic and sesame oil( you can always add less sesame oil, if you don't care for it too much...and if needed you can add more at the end). Set aside.
4. Make Sauce of choice... combine ingredients. Set aside. If you are concerned with the salt amount, opt to add less soy sauce in the beginning... as you can always add some more at the end.
5. Cook Eggs: Separate egg yolks from egg whites. Lightly beat egg yolk and season with a tiny bit of salt. Do the same with the egg whites. Heat a skillet on med heat, add a drizzle of oil and cook yolks like a pancake, remove and then cook whites the same. Allow to cool a bit, roll the yolks up, cut in two parts, and then into strips. Do the same with the whites. Set aside. Now if you want, you can just scramble the eggs without separating the eggs... you just won't have the yellow and white contrast.
6. Stir-fry Vegetables and Meat: Cut vegetables, meat, and re-hydrated mushrooms into strips. Heat skillet on med heat...add 1-2 TBS oil and then add onion, carrots, and mushrooms. Cook until softened...a few minutes. Add strips of bell pepper and strips of beef. Stir-fry another couple of minutes.
7. Combine All Ingredients: Lower heat and add noodles to the stir-fried mixture.( if they're stuck together, quickly rinse them under water and then drain completely). Add the sauce and combine as you cook it for an additional minute or so. Adjust seasoning.
8. Garnish With: Sesame seeds, cooked egg strips and chopped green onions.