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Japchae - Korean sweet potato noodles with stir fried vegetables & beef..


If anyone ever asked you what noodles are made of, you'd probably say, "wheat flour", right? But noodles don't have to be made of wheat flour. They can be made from rice flour along with mung bean starch and, in the case of this very popular Korean dish, sweet potato flour. As well as being called "sweet potato noodles", you'll also find these sold as "glass noodles" because when they are cooked, the noodles become translucent.


Although the sweet potato noodles are the main constituent of Japchar, the name itself - Japchae - actually translates as "mixed vegetables" - the "Jap" meaning "mixed" and the "chae" meaning "vegetables." because the original dish didn't contain noodles although today, Japchae without the noodles just isn't considered to be Japchae at all.


Japchae has along history in Korea, going back, it is said, 400 years to the 17th century when it was decreed to be a "royal dish" by the Emperor as he liked it so much. Apparently the cook who invented it was promoted to head of the Royal Treasury, so I hope he was as good managing money as he was with his cooking!


In Korean, Japchae is a very flexible food which can he served hot in winter and cold in summer. It can be served as a main dish or as a side dish. The vegetables in a pukka Japchae can be quite varied but the main principle is to include 5 colours being red, green and yellow, black and white. In my version, that means red bell pepper, baby spinach, spring onion, carrot, shiitake mushrooms, beef and onion. As we are talking "stir fry" all the ingredients (apart from the sweet potato noodles) are cut small to ensure that they cook through quickly.


The flavours for the dish are principally soy sauce, sesame oil and a little garlic which give the noodles and veg a rich, nutty and slightly sweet flavour - I think this is one of the nicest ways to eat noodles that you'll find. What's more, it only takes about 30 minutes to prepare, so what's not to like!


If you would like to give this recipe a try, you can find the Youtube tutorial by clicking Japchae Korean sweet potato noodles with stir fried vegetables and beef or by scrolling to the bottom of the page. The written recipe is just below.


Happy cooking! Kurumi XXXX.


 

ingredients:


(makes 2 servings)


120g /4 oz rump steak

1 tsp garlic puree or 1 crushed clove of garlic

2 tsp soy sauce

some black pepper


1 medium onion

50g / 2 oz carrot, peeled

1/2 bell pepper

2 fresh shiitake mushrooms, rinsed*

2 stalks of spring onion,

50g/ 2 oz baby spinach,

180g / 6 oz Korean sweet potato noodles


for the sauce:


2 tbsp sugar

3 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp sesame oil

1 tsp garlic pure or 1 minced clove of garlic


1 - 1.5 tbsp vegetable oil for stir frying


salt and pepper


toasted sesame seeds for a topping (optional)


* if you don't have any shiitake, you can use other mushroom variants


 

how to:


slice the rump steak into thin strips place them into a bowl and season with black pepper, garlic puree and soy sauce. stir well and marinate for about 15 minutes


meanwhile, top and tail of onion, then slice


stand the carrot up straight and thinly slice and then julienne the slices into matchsticks


remove the top of the bell pepper, the seeds and the core and any white flesh. cut into matchsticks


remove the stalks of from the shiitake mushrooms, then thinly slice


remove the ends from the spring onions, then slice diagonally


next, bring a large saucepan of water to the boil, put the Korean sweetpotato noodles into the water. cook according to the instruction on the packet. (if the instructions are only in Korean and you can't read it, then about 10 minutes cooking time should be fine.)


meanwhile, to make the sauce, put 2 tbsp of sugar, 3 tbsp of soy sauce, 2 tbsp of sesame oil and 1 tsp of garlic puree in a small bowl and mix together well


when the noodles are cooked, drain through a culander. using scissors, cut the pile of noodles a couple times to shorten their length. place the drained noodles in a large bowl, add half of the sauce and mix together well


put 1/2 tbsp of vegetable oil into a large frying pan and heat until hot. add the bell pepper, onion, carrot, season with some salt and pepper and stir fry for 2 minutes


when the vegetables are done, add them to the noodles in the bowl


next, add another 1 tsp of vegetable oil to the frying pan. add & stir fry the spinach for 1 minute, then add & stir fry the chopped spring onions for 30 seconds


when finshed, add the spinach and spring onions to the noodles in the bowl


next, add the strips of rump steaks to the frying pan. fry until lightly browned then add to the noodles in the bowl


pour over the rest of sauce and mix everything together well


last, sprinkle some white sesame over your Japchae and serve


 



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