Monday, March 25, 2013

Korean Japchae Noodles

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Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend with some delicious eats! For me, it was a food filled weekend where I enjoyed Chinese dim sum with folks at Chicago's Chinatown, spent time with friends over a Chicago inspired dinner at a going away party and yesterday, I hosted a pre-Easter dinner with family and friends. I'm still full after all the food I enjoyed. This week's recipe theme, I'm featuring some Asian eats. {I know - it's Easter season... where are the Easter eats?!} Well, I'll do an Easter round up later in the week and there's always my Easter Eats collection of recipes you can find here for inspiration! I'm focusing on Asian eats since I'm anticipating the arrival of my parents who moved overseas nearly 6 months ago. They moved to the Philippines and lately, I've been craving Asian cuisine - namely because I really miss my mom's cooking lol. So for our Asian recipe tour this week, I'm kicking it off with Korean Japchae Noodles. Glassy noodles made from sweet potato starch are tossed with sauteéd vegetables, thinly sliced beef and an umami sauce of tamari, sugar and sesame oil...

Asian cuisine is wonderful if you're living gluten free. Many recipes are gluten free adaptable and there are some great products made out of different flours and starches. Japchae is usually made with sweet potato starch noodles, known as 
dangmyun.

You can find them a Korean grocery stores or any Asian market. They have a greyish color and are really brittle but once soaked and cooked, they become translucent, glassy and soft, taking on the color of whatever sauce of the dish. Follow the directions on the package to prepare the noodles - which often means soaking the noodles for an hour and then cooking them in boiling water briefly.

After the noodles are cooked, they can be tossed with any combination of sautéed vegetables and protein. In this case, I used garlic, onion, carrots, and green onions. Some other vegetables I'd recommend is various types of mushrooms (white, shitake, oyster, etc), bok choy, etc.)

Korean Japchae Noodles
recipe adapted from Maangchi

8 oz Sweet potato vermicelli (Korean dangmyun)
2 tablespoons cooking oil (vegetable/canola/corn)
2 cloves of garlic, minced1 medium size onion, thinly sliced1 medium size carrot, cut in matchsticks1/4 cup green onions, thingly sliced
1 bunch of fresh spinach, roughly chopped
1.2 pound beef sirloin, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari, divided
2 tablespoons sesame oil, divided
1 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds


Soak the noodles in water for 1 hour. Boil the noodles in boiling water in a large pot for about 3-5 minutes. When the noodles are soft, drain them and transfer to a large bowl. Cut the noodles several times by using scissors and add 1 tablespoon of soy sauce/tamari and 1 tablespoon of sesame oil. Toss to coat and set aside.
In a large skillet add 1 tablespoon oil, onions, garlic, carrots, and green onions. Sauté until slightly cooked through, for 3-5 minutes. Add spinach and cook until wilted - a few seconds. Transfer vegetable mixture to the large bowl with the noodles.

In the same skillet add another 1 tablespoon of oil and sauté the beef strips until cooked through. Transfer to large bowl with sauteéd vegetables. 

Combine the soy sauce,. sugar, sesame oil, and pepper in a measuring cup, whisking to combine. Pour over noodles, vegetables and beef in the bowl and toss to fully incorporate and coat everything with the sauce.  Sprinkle the toasted sesame seeds on the top and serve.

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