Japchae 잡채 (Korean Stir Fried Noodles)

I had the pleasure of trying this authentic Korean dish over Thanksgiving, when a friend's Mother sent her to our gathering with this dish - Japchae. I immediately fell in love. This is my first Korean dish that I've attempted cooking, and it came out AMAZING. I will warn you - it is quite time consuming because you prep and cook each ingredient separately, but it was so worth the time and the mess! I think I used most of the bowls in my kitchen, but the nice thing is that you're cooking everything in the same pan. I was unable to find the authentic noodles for this, as this was a last minute decision to make, but the substitute wasn't too shabby. Now I know where to find authentic ones - next time! The recipe below is how I made it with a couple of modifications, but not many! I'll notate below what was different. If you're craving delicious noodles, this won't let you down! Enjoy!

NOTE: I highly encourage you to use the original blog post on Just One Cookbook if you try this; she has great step-by-step instructions and videos (https://www.justonecookbook.com/japchae).

Ingredients:

Prep Ingredients

1/2 - 3/4 pound beef (I used beef tenderloin tips; original uses ribeye)

1/2 onion, sliced thinly

5 shiitake mushrooms, washed, dried and sliced

1 carrot, cut into matchstick pieces

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

12 oz fresh spinach (I was a short on this amount; would definitely recommend using 12 oz)

14 oz noodles (I used Rice Vermicelli; original calls for dangmyeon noodles)

Sesame oil (as split up below)

Salt and pepper (as split up below)

Toasted sesame seeds (as split up below)

Garlic (as split up below)

Reduced-Sodium and/or Gluten-Free Soy Sauce or Tamari (as split up below)

Honey (as noted below)

Mirin (as noted below)

Sugar (as noted below)

Beef Marinade:

1 tb soy sauce

1 tb sugar

1/2 tb sesame oil

1/2 tb mirin (rice wine)

1 clove garlic, shopped

Spinach Seasoning:

1 clove garlic, chopped

1/4 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp sesame oil

1/2 tsp toasted sesame seeds

pepper, to taste

Sauce for Noodles:

1/3 cup soy sauce

1/3 cup honey

2 tb sesame oil

1 tb toasted sesame seeds

1 garlic clove, chopped

pepper, to taste

Directions:

Gather all of your ingredients. In a medium bowl, combine the seasonings for beef and whisk all together. Add the beef and toss to coat evenly. Set aside to marinade for 15-30 minutes. Thinly slice the onion and shiitake mushrooms. Cut the carrot into thin julienne strips/matchsticks. Heat 1 tsp. sesame oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add beaten eggs to the pan and swirl the pan to cover the surface of the pan in a thin layer. Cook until it’s just set, about 2 minute. Then flip over and cook for another 2 minute. Transfer the omelette to a plate to let cool. Once cool, slice the eggs into strips. Set aside.

At this point, if using dry rice noodles, follow the instructions on the back. This will have you empty the noodles into a pot on the counter at room temperature, and cover them with hot water, with a lid, for 30 minutes. Stir the when you initially get them in the water.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 1 tsp. salt. While that's coming to a boil, mix the Spinach Seasoning and set aside. When ready, add spinach, cook about 10-15 seconds (American spinach is more tender than Japanese spinach). Prepare iced water in a large bowl and move the spinach out of the pot to the iced water to stop cooking. Do not throw this boiling water. Squeeze out water from spinach as much as you can and set aside combined with the Spinach Seasoning.

In the same pan as the egg (without washing) heat 1 tsp. sesame oil over medium heat. Add onion and a pinch of salt and sauté till tender. Remove the onion from the pan to a large plate or bowl. In the same frying pan, repeat this process for shiitake mushrooms and carrot. Remove and set aside with the onions. In the same pan, add marinated beef and sauté until cooked through and all moisture has evaporated. Remove from pan to the same bowl or plate as the onion and carrots. When the omelette is cooled, roll up and cut into thin ribbons and set aside.

Since I used dry rice noodles, they are ready at this point in the pot they've been sitting in. Strain them, and cut them with kitchen shears so that they're easier to eat. In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients for sauce and whisk well. Place the noodles in the same saute pan you've been using and pour the sauce over the noodles. Let them mix well for about 2 minutes over medium heat. Add the vegetables, spinach, and beef. Combine everything together. When ready to serve, top with the egg and toasted sesame seeds if desired.

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